Written by Clare Melvin
Yesterday was Mental Health Awareness Day. Twitter #MentalHealthAwarenessDay was full of stories, accounts, information and calls for action for our Government to be doing more and society to be paying more attention. The news that a minister for suicide prevention has been appointed in England was announced at the first ever global mental health summit hosted by our Government in London.
The government has also promised more support in schools, bringing in new mental health support teams and offering help in measuring students’ health, including their mental wellbeing.
Alongside the announcement, the prime minister pledged £1.8m to the Samaritans so the charity can continue providing its free helpline for the next four years.
The Foundation for Mental Health , although not specific to people with learning disabilities or autism, are campaigning for Mental Health care in schools to be a priority and not extracurricular. The Make it Count campaign argues that good mental health is fundamental to be able to thrive in life and by not tackling mental health problems early, we risk failing the next generation right at the start of their lives. The Make It Count campaign has a petition for ensuring mental health and wellbeing is at the heart of children’s school experience.
The campaign also has guides for parents and carers, teachers and students about their mental health and looking after mental health in schools. There are pupils’ stories, podcasts and interviews from those involved explaining why the campaign is important.
Read all the stories and find out more here.
Progress on disability rights in the United Kingdom.
This week a report was published giving an update on the steps taken by the UK governments to act on recommendations from the Committee for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to improve the lives of disabled people in the UK.
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is an international agreement which tells countries what they have to do to make sure that disabled people have the same rights as everybody else. This includes things like access to healthcare, education and the right to employment but also being safe, being respected and safe from abuse, and the right to independent living and being part of the community.
The Committee for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities are a special group of people elected by all the countries in the United Nations to make sure this agreement (the ‘Convention’) is being followed properly (an easy read guide to the UN Convention of Rights of Persons with Disabilities and what the Committee do can be found here).
In August 2017, the Committee for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities examined the how well the UK and devolved governments (Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales) are following the rules set out in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Committee requested information from the UK about the steps they have taken to implement its recommendations on: independent living; work and employment; and an adequate standard of living and social protection; as well as other areas.
This report is the requested update, one year after the examination and recommendations. An easy read version is available here, as is the full version. The report highlights that whilst some progress has been made, including an independent review of the Mental Health Act 1983 (see GLLDCOP blog 2/5/18), an increase in the number of disabled people in employment and a slight decrease of the disability employment gap; however, it also shows that the UK has taken only limited steps to address the concerns and recommendations of the Committee for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
LD in the News.
- A teen with autism is locked in solitary confinement. Have we really moved on from Bedlam? Beth has autism, suffers extreme anxiety and cannot cope with stress – yet instead of being helped to enjoy life she is shut away. Read here or listen to her story on File on 4.
- Disabled Children’s Partnership survey shows a picture of declining quality of services and more cuts to come. Read the findings from their latest survey here.
- “Transforming Care isn’t just about reducing beds, it’s about changing a whole person’s life”. A booklet has been produced to help health and social care providers ensure that Care (Education) and Treatment Reviews improve the lives of people they support.
- Still time to sign up to the GLLDCOP free launch event! 7th November 2018 at the Holiday Inn London Bloomsbury. Come along and join the new community providing opportunities for people with learning disabilities, families, carers and professionals. Find out more and Book your place here.
- The second Tizard Forensic Conference is being held 19th December 2018 at Friends House, London. The conference focuses on People with intellectual disabilities and/or autism as suspects and offenders in the Criminal Justice System and includes speakers from The Tizard Centre, the Challenging Behaviour Foundation, NHS England, HMPPS and the Probation Service. To see the full itinerary and find out more about booking a place please visit here.
Don’t forget to join our GLLDCOP facebook group and follow us on Twitter @glldcop