direct link https://youtu.be/YtAmZ7sk23A
“Rights not charity” has been a central demand of the Mad Pride and Mad Survivors movement, and as we have watched the ‘leading Mental Health Charity Mind’ become increasingly embroiled in the Tory drive to destroy services, remove benefits and push the ‘work cure’ it has become obvious to us that we have to resist national Mind’s role as a government contractor and enabler of privatisation of services.
Earlier this year, an email was leaked from Duncan Marshall, whose twitter bio reads: “Striving for a better mentally healthy world… Work on #peersupport #partnerships across England and Wales for @MindCharity… usually on a train!”
The email read:
“Do you want to help shape a new national strategy for mental health research? We’re looking for researchers with lived experience to take part in a workshop on Wednesday 1st March in Cambridge.
Mind is working with the Department of Health to help develop a national strategy for mental health research. This strategy will ensure that research asks the most important questions and has the biggest impact. We need your help to design it.”
One of the psychologists in our network commented:
“So basically Mind is bribing people with lived experience to back up their position so they can represent it to the Department of Health as representative and scoop up all the money for research/innovation in the coming ten years…. This email was only sent to people in ultra mainstream orgs (but then fortunately got forwarded to a friend). Very bad news about this joint ‘national strategy’ – it will cement the dominant ideology around things like the importance of work. This needs to be disrupted imo….”
On 21sy February, the MHRN wrote to Cambridge and requested details of the meeting. Having received no reply by the 28th we wrote again asking them to respond. Having heard nothinbg, some of us travelled to Mind on the day of the Cambridge workshop and went top the Mind offices there.
You can watch our excellent video to see what (didn’t) happen.
We were contacted by the interim CEO of Mind in Cambridgeshire soon afterwards. Using some of the worse tropes about Mental health she claimed that Mind had had to cancel services on the afternoon because of our demo and concerns about the safety of users.
We responded that it would have been fairer on the service users and us if staff in the building had come out and engaged with us, rather than taking photos of us out of the windows and depriving their clients of a service.
We are pleased to say that Mind in Cambridgeshire have agreed to get their trustees to look into our concerns and to look at training of their staff to ensure that they are willing to engage with service users and survivors expressing concerns.
To date we still do not know who was at the workshop, how they were ‘selected’ (we suspect cherry picked is a more apt term) and whether we can trust them to represent us.
All local Mind’s should note that refusing to engage with service users and survivor groups is likely to end with similar direct actions being taken against them………….
And finally, on the very day that the draconian and discriminatory PIp cuts came into force, National Mind chose to tweet proudly of its partnership with a wellbeing festival in Croatia, asking who wants to go? A single night there, in a shared tent costs 236 Euros, putting it well outside of the means of benefits claimants …………..
That same day Victoria Derbyshire challeneged Mind about their collobaoration with the DWP
The MHRN remains determined to challenge Mind’s continued collaboration with the state whilst these murderous welfare reforms are still being rolled out – and until they are reversed.