In the last couple of weeks my son has received a number of letters from the Department of Work and Pensions demanding that he complete ESA (Employment Support Allowance) and PIP (Personal Independence Payment replacing Disabled Living Allowance) forms by 29 December and 2 January respectively. This has caused him to experience a high level of stress, exacerbated by their forms arriving late and phone calls to DWP numbers, as instructed, which were incorrect. Added stress and panic attacks. At an already stressful time of the year for people who have mental illness. It is very unfair.
I don't get any Carers Allowance now, since receiving my basic State Pension in March 2015 at the age of 62, although my son receives medium rate of Care within DLA, which should have lasted until 2018. Therefore this PIP letter and claim form was unexpected. For it to arrive at the same time as the ESA demand, was doubly damaging. Having to face a possible reduction in monies which we both need to pay the bills. For my son has lived with me since first accessing psychiatric inpatient care in 2005 at Stratheden Hospital, Cupar, Fife.
On my son's 4th psychiatric inpatient stay in February 2012, he suffered various injuries and bad treatment, detailed in blog posts and complaints to NHS Fife, Fife Council, Scottish Government, MSPs, Mental Welfare Commission, Scottish Human Rights Commission, other mental health organisations and individuals, and finally to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman. At the end of September 2014 I heard from SPSO that my complaint against NHS Fife had been upheld and they were told to apologise which they did, in a brief letter later in the year. Not before the interim Chief Executive of Fife Health Board Dr Brian Montgomery denied any responsibility for the abuse of my son in a Fife Herald piece, in response to my article:
Therefore we are experiencing a very stressful time leading up to Christmas, having to justify mental illness and disability. My son will have to recount his mental health struggles, the panic attacks, anxiety, negative thoughts, lack of confidence, suicidal thoughts, all of which can happen on the worst day, when things are not going well, memories of what happened in February 2012 in the locked seclusion room, through the night. Locked in for hours and left, broken hand untreated, needing the toilet, no nurses appeared in response to his shouting so he had to defecate on the floor of the cell, in the dark, light switch outside in the corridor. Shameful treatment.
His dirty protest at being left to defecate on the cell floor like an animal caused the 3 nurses, when they eventually appeared, to hold him face down in his own excrement, rubbing his face in it (resulted in glandular infection requiring antibiotics). They fondled his genitals and penetrated his anus. We don't know with what, it wasn't written in the notes. Which means it didn't happen, according to NHS Fife and SPSO.
But we know it did. And I had to live with the flashbacks for years after and still today my son speaks of it. It has to be spoken about. For the sake of justice. Although up to this day we got no justice. Which nearly broke my spirit last year. Fortunately I recovered.