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Thursday, 23 May 2013

Cuts kill, con-dems must be stopped in their tracks

Steven Bottrill, whose disabled mum Stephanie killed herself because of the bedroom tax, said: "Hopefully now someone will listen. Someone will realise what has gone on and change things." Studies by charities, as well as the NHS and the DWP, have shown that suicides and suicidal thoughts have increased among disabled people due to benefit cuts With the governments so called work programme it is failing people badly especially the disabled. According to charities for the blind, not a single blind or visually-impaired person has found sustained employment through the Work Programme. Capitalism always blames its victims. Now, more than ever, claiming benefits is portrayed as scrounging rather than being a right. This adds psychological despair to the harsh reality of scraping by on a pittance. Threatened and attempted suicides, as well as actual deaths, have doubled among 24-35 year old men in the UK since 2008. Last year there were deaths among sick and disabled people who had been subjected to the profit-driven bullying of Atos. Figures published in the Lancet showed UK suicides jumping 8% in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis. Suicide rates have risen nearly everywhere except Sweden and Finland. In Algeria, Portugal, Greece, Tunisia and Italy suicide is a growing problem, with deaths three times higher among men than women. Few of these deaths make headline news but the government has the evidence. Richard Colwill, from mental health charity Sane, said: "No one should be surprised that factors such as unemployment and job insecurity can push people who may be already vulnerable to take their own lives. Life events like redundancy, bankruptcy and the relationship breakdowns that often follow can cause bouts of mental illness." Claimants slashing their wrists in jobcentres or setting themselves on fire is not deemed as newsworthy by the right-wing media as sensational headlines about benefits fraud. But government figures state only 0.5% of Disability Living Allowance claims are fraudulent. Before the crisis, Greece had the lowest suicide rate in Europe: 2.8 per 100,000 inhabitants. Suicides have since doubled and attempted suicides have also increased. Debts, joblessness, job insecurity are the key reasons given, but it is also the sense that the future holds nothing better. In the US, suicide rates rose dramatically in high unemployment areas. Macomb County, Michigan, with 13.7% unemployment, reported almost 40% more suicides compared to before the recession. Researchers at University of Chicago found that mass layoffs in America caused an immediate rise in suicides, followed by a bigger spike six months later when unemployment insurance ran out. In Ireland, suicide rates increased by 25%, while in Japan, a 2008 study found one in five members of the population admitted contemplating suicide as the recession began to bite. Many people are finding themselves in a place where nothing seems certain anymore, as if the world around them has gone mad. Economic crisis is turning into a mental health crisis. The absence of a generalised struggle is a contributing factor that reinforces the idea that 'there is no alternative'. This despair is a product of capitalism - a system that is sick and rotten to the core. It must be replaced, by socialism, through mass struggle, to give people a purpose and sense of worth that this society cannot. The number of US deaths from suicide surpassed the number of deaths from car crashes in 2009 Over five million Americans lost access to health care due to losing their jobs in the recession. 750,000 have turned to binge drinking, while the number of anti-depressant prescriptions have soared Suicides and bad health have increased far more in countries that have slashed health and welfare budgets A University of Cambridge study found that for every 1% increase in unemployment, there is a 0.8% increase in suicides by under-65s With extracts from http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/766/16715/22-05-2013/cuts-kill-con-dem-benefit-reforms-mental-health-and-suicide

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