In times of economic trouble, governments can choose to cut public services to save money. But at what cost? Mary O’Hara meets those on the sharp end of austerity in the UK to find out what it means for mental health.
When Mark Wood was found dead in his home in August 2013 it could have been just another tragic, but private, event for one family. But it wasn’t. His death came a few months after his disability benefits had been cut because he had been declared “fit for work” by the assessors appointed by the government to implement its “back-to-work” strategy. When his body was discovered he weighed just 5 st 8 lbs.
His sister Cathie said that 44-year-old Mark had struggled to live on just £40 a week after his disability and housing benefits were cut. She says that his ongoing mental health problems, including anxiety, obsessive traits and an eating disorder, were seriously aggravated by the extra stress.… Read the rest