I’ve got a pretty good idea of the reason Mr Appleby hasn’t bothered mentioning the suicide risk to ESA claimants.

It’s got something to do with the UK having a Conservative government that really doesn’t mind how many sick and disabled people die. The more, the merrier, as far as the Tories are concerned.

That’s the reason. If it wasn’t, he’d have kicked up a fuss. He didn’t.

The head of the government’s national suicide prevention strategy has refused to call on the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to highlight the high risk of suicide faced by people who receive out-of-work disability benefits.

Louis Appleby, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Manchester and chair of the National Suicide Prevention Strategy advisory group, has declined to act, even though he admits that employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants “are a high risk group”.

Figures published in September 2016 by NHS Digital – from a report written by NatCen and the University of Leicester – showed that 43 per cent of ESA claimants had said they had attempted suicide at some point in their lives.

This compared with 27 per cent of those on out-of-work benefits, including ESA, and 20 per cent of those receiving housing benefit.

But DHSC has refused to explain why it fails to mention these figures or to highlight ESA claimants as a high-risk group in the latest version of its suicide prevention strategy for England, published in January 2017, for which Appleby wrote a foreword.

Appleby (pictured) has now [said] that although suicide “is rarely caused by one thing”, he did accept that a “protracted stressful benefit claim, feelings of being treated unfairly and of course financial problems themselves can all contribute”.

Source: Government’s suicide prevention boss refuses to call for action on ESA risk stats


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