25_august_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 1,189

Tuesday 25 August 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

It seems that the DWP has issued Jobcentre staff with pink suicide cards to be waved above their heads when anyone threatens suicide. I have to commend Iain Duncan Smith on this initiative, it is an excellent idea whose time has come under his brutal benefits denial and sanctions regime.

I have taken the trouble of producing a pink notice that all people on benefits, for whatever reason, can print out and laminate, if they so wish, and carry with them at all times, but especially when they visit a Jobcentre where the very real risk of losing their only means of survival is a constant threat.

However, not content with finally acknowledging that the DWP represents a real threat to well being and life, Smith has decided that mental illness will no longer be considered a barrier to work, touchingly declaring, ‘Work is actually a health treatment in a sense. Those who are in work tend to be better and those who are out of work, on sickness benefit, tend to get their conditions worse’. If that is the case, how, then, do we explain Iain Duncan Smith, who is clearly someone who is chronically and pathologically mentally ill?

If work cured mental illness then perhaps Smith can explain why Winston Churchill said, ‘I don’t like standing near the edge of a platform when an express train is passing through. I like to stand right back and if possible get a pillar between me and the train. I don’t like to stand by the side of a ship and look down into the water. A second’s action would end everything. A few drops of desperation is all that it takes’.

Perhaps Smith can explain why I had three nervous breakdowns whilst at work, even doing a job I cared passionately about and why I ended up in a Mental Health Hospital for three months. Everyone who knows me personally also knows that I have to constantly monitor my condition and take appropriate and assertive action to protect myself, because, of course, it’s a hidden condition, one that is not apparent just by looking at me. I will not be dictated to by a man whose ignorance is only matched by his arrogance and nor will I sit back and passively accept, in whatever time is left to me, that Iain Duncan Smith is intent on putting me and others like me in harms way.