Discrimination is everywhere - sexism, homophobia, racism. I tweet a lot about the discrimination faced by #LivedExperiencePractitioners #LXPs who openly use their lived experience of mental health in their work. Do we need new legislation to protect us all from #discrimination?>
> Ppl who follow me/know me in real life know my health has been decimated over my experience of trying to address mental health discrimination. Did you know there is no legislation against systemic discrimination? Well, that’s what my union told me. It’s also almost impossible >
> to win a personal discrimination case, so they don’t give you access to a lawyer. Even stress claims are hard to win, so you rarely get union help either, including legal representation. I’ve lost my driving license, had seizures, take medicine that has left me with blurred >
> vision, my teeth have crumbled as stress means I’m grinding them away, at the worst point I was in A&E several times then ended up in a psychiatric ward... you end in these places when you are on your knees. I lost income from work, when my brain was recovering from the >
> seizure I lost ability to write decent PhD applications because my head was well and truly f*. After one seizure I needed stitches to my face. I may need surgery to correct damage cause to the nerves in my arm, during the period where I ended up spending a month in hospital. >
> Despite all of this, I’m unlikely to be able to find legal representation or be compensated for the damage to my health and income. I can’t afford £250 an hour for a complex case - legal aid is impossible to get & law firms don’t really do charity cases. Legislation at the >
> moment allows this discrimination to happen because it makes it near impossible to fight fairly. Did you know that you have a time limit of 3 months to register discrimination, otherwise you can’t take it to tribunal? With most discrimination, you don’t realise it’s happening >
> at the time. It takes a while to understand what is hidden and can’t be seen. By the time you realise, and recover from the trauma that causes, it is generally too late. The problem is usually systemic but it needs to be personal to take further. It forces you to centre the >
> issue in one person. The one person may have hurt you, but the system fosters that behaviour. You can punish and eject an individual, but that discrimination will carry on. We need legislation that really tackles discrimination. It needs to recognise and actively prevent this >
> from happening. The three month rule is absolute bollocks and almost guaranteed that the vast majority of discrimination can never be taken to tribunal. Three months? Why is that, except to protect the sources if discrimination. The recovery time alone, the shame, the grief, >
> the processing and understanding of the issue, even the evidence - us often only uncovered years later, by then, it is too late. The process you go through - complaining to a manager, escalating it, informally trying to resolve it - all of that eats into your 3 months, so by >
> the time you realise you need to formalise it, and potentially take it to a tribunal, your time is up and you are well & truly f****d. We need legislation that gets rid of the whole timescale thing. Either the person who had that idea knew nothing of the mechanics of >
> discrimination or knew damn well what they were doing & implemented it as a great way of ensuring discrimination was never addressed an organisations were saved from being accountable for this. It’s very well advocating for equality, but we need legislation to support this or >
> it will never be implemented, because organisations can get away with it. So they do. It’s bad enough for racism, sexism, homophobia & ableism. But spare a thought for discrimination based on adverse mental health. We don’t even have a damn name for it. Because of that, ppl >
> don’t believe it and they don’t even know it’s a thing. Ableism doesn’t cover it. What is our word? Mentalism?Madism? It’s very different discrimination than physical disability. Much of that can be seen, it’s very obvious if buildings are inaccessible, the reasonable >
> accommodations are often physical interventions. Occupational Health often struggles with mental health. What do you do with your gifted but schizophrenic employee? What do you do with people whose mental energy flows from highly productive to barely productive? Do we even >
> ‘deserve’ to be treated equally? Nope, because we don’t have a name for the type of discrimination we face, it’s invisible, not believed - and not measured. Not all discrimination on disability grounds is equal. It’s like rape - it happens, but over 90% of what is reported >
> does not result in conviction. Many people who experience chronic mental health conditions have endured severe trauma that often hasn’t been acknowledged or believed. This process of trying to get it believed is excruciating, it batters us and reinforces that trauma. We need >
> legislation that supports us. We need to make decisions about the research that is supposed to help us - such as what adjustments we need at work, and building an evidence base for the work we do and the benefits of it. Only legislation that ensures the public funding is >
> spent in ways that we know and decide will help our own communities will ensure that this is what happens. Fighting a system that is fixed is crazy, not us. The only way is to replace the legislation so the system is fair enough to fight. Start with the most discriminated >
> against and equality will happen throughout for everyone. Mental health issues affect ppl in all walks of society, usually ppl who have suffered trauma - particularly impacting on ppl who are already discriminated against. Yet - we don’t have language for that, or legislation >
> I don’t know who can make a change in this, a change in the legislation around discrimination and actively supporting equality are what’s needed. The current ones just aren’t enough. Btw if there are any law firms out there who would give a Mad, mixed race, pan disabled woman >
> who is just one voice trying to make a difference, let me know. 🙏🏽✊🏽
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More from @tamar_whyte

31 Dec 20
Yikes. I’ve had a bit of a shitty night. Woke up from a dream where I was sobbing - proper distressed, inconsolable body sobs - about work. I was living in a tiny cramped flat with my deceased family members, with no room. People from work were coming in and out & I felt >
> ashamed and I was trying to say that I used to live on my own in a bigger flat and not share a bedroom with my siblings & live with my Mum but I couldn’t. There was a new manager who came to see me and somehow bizarrely ended up in my bedroom waiting for me and it felt >
> intrusive & shaming because she saw my poor living conditions and I knew she would have been told by management that I was unstable/troublemaker/no good/rubbish. So then I cried and cried and cried and cried (to show how stable I was 🤣) and then I woke up 😳😳😳 >
Read 35 tweets
19 Dec 20
Is it bad that I feel my blood boil when I see equality drives that completely ignore the inequality that people in the #LivedExperienceProfessions face in the mental health organisations they work in. Imagine being in the intersection of being a Black, non-binary LXP? Your >
> experience of discrimination won’t even be registered. It won’t make the equality drive photos. Mad people, esp those who deign to be open about ourselves & champion Mad knowledge in Mental Health settings are actively held back, treated differently. Even LXPs with White Male >
> privilege are treated worse than their colleagues, paid less, exploited with no career opportunities. So heaven help our openly #Mad #LXP colleagues of colour, who are LGBTQ, with coexisting health conditions. Is it any coincidence that myself and my colleague - both with >
Read 8 tweets
16 Dec 20
COVID is frightening. The deaths, the restrictions, the lack of knowledge and consistency of how to deal with it. Conspiracy theories are a response to fear, I suppose. Thinking about it that way may help to mitigate clashes with ppl who believe them. There is generally a grain >
> of truth in everything. During periods of crisis & uncertainty, there are always people who use this for profit, like the disgusting assigning of contracts to companies who have never produced the PPE they were paid for. They also happen to have links with govt ministers >
> so yes, it makes sense that ppl mistrust the govt and the freedoms being taken away, because the ppl doing it aren’t trustworthy. But that doesn’t automatically mean that the precautions & restrictions to control the virus are wrong or the virus doesn’t exist. >
Read 4 tweets
30 Nov 20
#LXP explanation thread: There is no standardised language in the Survivor movement. When I use the term #LXP it is an acronym for #LivedExperiencePractitioners or #LivedExperienceProfessions. It refers to ALL people who work in posts that require use of insight from >
> lived experience of adverse mental health. So that includes LE Consultants, Survivor Researchers, Peer Support Workers etc, It’s not a universally accepted term, but when I tweet I need to use *something* to refer to us all, so that’s the term I use, because it’s quicker than >
> writing an explanation each time that Twitter doesn’t allow enough characters for, unless it’s a thread which people are less likely to read (ha, that’s a hilarious thing to say in a thread 😂). We all do very different roles but the one thing that binds us is the unique way >
Read 20 tweets
20 Oct 20
I have just finished reading @BPDFFS chapter in the ‘Working effectively with Personality Disorder’ book. It’s a beautifully written first chapter to the book. A complex subject introduced in simple terms, without dumbing it down. /1 > amazon.co.uk/Working-Effect…
> I love that even though @BPDFFS describes the chapter as ‘personal thoughts about personality disorder’ - she provides an example of experiential working at its best - she uses insight from her own lived experience, but positions it within the wider range of views that exist /2
> within the survivor movement, from the anger of people harmed by poor services, activists using satire as a tool for protest, critical views (both negative and positive), people satisfied with the service they receive and those who feel that the label has helped them. What /3 >
Read 8 tweets
10 Oct 20
It’s #WorldMentalHealthDay - a day that #MentalHealth activists love to hate, because hey, it’s not all light at the end of the tunnel (yay Recovery 🙄) & it’s not just one day of the year. But sod it, here’s a pictorial compilation for you. Bonus points if u get to the end 1/25
2/25 Meds. Love them or loathe them, they are a daily reality for many of us. Big Pharma makes a lot off us Mentals. Did you know that my most debilitating diagnosis can’t be medicated? But all the others equate to 13 tablets a day, plus any extras on PRN #WorldMentalHealthDay
3/25 I’ve never, ever, ever been able to maintain taking meds regularly. But I do now. The Hubster wakes me up with a coffee, toast and meds. But having a caring, loving person in my helps me more than any meds. Sadly not available on prescription for us all #WorldMentalHealthDay
Read 26 tweets

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