Does Depression Have a Face & The ESA?
Posted on September 9, 2017
In the current climate of ESA the ‘work capability assessment’ which determines a persons capacity to work or claim benefits here in the UK, this maybe a question I and many others have asked ourselves. Those of us who currently forgo this rigmarole, this frankly painfully unfair process of assessment. Does depression have a face? and is it a justifiable one given the current state of affairs and the inherent need of our current incumbents to have us assessed and reassessed for benefits. Unlike a physical disability there is no real hard evidence to suggest we have depression a visual indicator to determine a persons state of mind. Whether a person really has depression or does not is open to much conjecture, certainly in the short time it takes for an assessor to determine your suitability for work. They surely cannot hope to be anywhere near conducting a thorough and proper evaluation? especially if discounting your own GP’s records or family history. I cannot help feel the mandate is to automatically turn down allowance claims in order to force people into appealing. A process they hope will either weed out false claimants or stop those who aren’t in their tracks due to stress. Sounds a cruel and unjust system you may say but then it is a cruel and unjust system. Therefore is it damning that figures show over half the claimants who are disabled are passed fit to work, then later overturned on appeal. This has become a common theme, the appeal process is nine times out of ten a necessity for those with a mental illness and for many a more stressful an experience than the actual assessment itself. This puts yet more pressure and undue stress on some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
The Face of Depression
I’ve often wondered if I look or somehow embody someone who has long term depression having endured it most my adult life. On the surface I may seem a person who goes about their daily routine without much of a care, I’m always smiling and laughing despite my depression. But like many with this sad affliction, what lies beneath tells a different story, as I’m sure many of you could testify to. In a recent news article from the BBC a young mother from Hull England has told of her miss diagnoses by medical practitioners, first at the tender age of 14. And all because of her outward appearance. As she rightly points out there is a danger of thinking depression has a face, a certain look. I’d possibly go a stage further and say there’s a level of attractiveness a person has to be in peoples eyes too. How could a person as attractive as her possibly have depression a mental illness?. We cannot put a price on social media to help raise awareness to these misconceptions that can and will befall us all. As Mrs Amelia Smith has done so herself. No matter our circumstances, the level of attractiveness how much we laugh and smile, this outward appearance will never truly reflect how we feel on the inside.
So in conclusion I’d say, no of course depression does not have a face and it’s something that deeply troubles me as someone who currently has no need to claim benefits. I feel deeply sorry for those who have been burdened with this responsibility, one I’ll likely undertake myself at some point.