Category Archives: Depression

As sickness benefit cuts take effect, thousands face hard times

Fears those too ill to work will be unable to meet basic living costs as government limits contributory allowance to 365 days


Jenny Wheatley who was made redundant due to her anxiety and depression will lose her ESA as her husband earns £18,000.
Photograph: David Sillitoe for the Guardian

It all began with a telephone call. Earlier this month, Malcolm Parker, who has not worked since his spine collapsed three years ago, was rung out of the blue by an official from the Department of Work and Pensions. There was only one question: did his wife work more than 24 hours a week? Yes, said Parker, reasoning honesty was the best policy.

A fortnight later a letter dropped on the Parkers’ doormat. The department wrote bluntly to say his contributory employment and support allowance (ESA) would disappear on Monday.

Parker was taken aback. Having worked for 44 years in the construction trade and diligently paid his national insurance, he had expected to be protected should the worst happen. His wife Ruth was at first perplexed and then increasingly angry. Although her husband can visit the toilet by himself, with some difficulty, she comes home every lunchtime to feed and check on him.

In the shoes of Karen… supporting both of my parents with dementia…

Coping with Dementia — not once but twice
Posted on April 25, 2012
Last week there was a wonderful live discussion on the topic of dementia, hosted by Jessica Fuhl, on the Guardian Social Care network.  It is a subject very close to my heart, particularly having experienced both  of  my parents-in-law dying as a result of dementia. The discussion had a very rich mix of “perspectives” but for me the most powerful and illuminating comments came from family members sharing how it feels to “walk in their shoes”.

In this series of occasional “guest blogs” I am therefore very honoured to introduce you to ‘Karen’ (not her real name). Some of you will know Karen as ‘DazeinourLives’ on Twitter, posting regularly “nuggets” of information, moving insights into family life supporting both of her parents with dementia. This post was written shortly before Karen’s father’s recent death.

Karen expected to return to her palliative care nursing career once both children were at school, but her parents’ Alzheimer’s escalated. For the next three years she was their sole carer. As her Dad’s symptoms advanced, her Mum was unable to cope, even with Karen’s help. Karen  comments:
“The impact on my own complicated family became intolerable, not least for my long-suffering husband. Last Spring, Dad was hospitalised; it became heartbreakingly clear that it would no longer be safe for him to return home. Dad went into a nursing home, and we found Mum part time help at home. Mum’s mental deterioration, which she does not accept graciously, combined with her need to see Dad every day without fail keeps the pressure on…

New membership strategy and resources to help schools manage student stress

Anxiety disorders in children

Edited by Andy Porter
Anxiety UK, a leading national charity, has launched a school membership subscription to help teaching staff address the difficulties and stigmas that surround mental health in schools.
It is estimated that one–in–ten children and young people, aged five to 16 experience a mental health difficulty.
The school membership subscription gives schools access to the Anxiety UK helpline and price discounts on a range of measures, products and evidence–based training courses which will help teachers and students with the recognition and management of anxiety.