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Assessment Made Me Suicidal

February 8, 2017

Former science teacher Emma Round, 33, who lives with her husband, in Ladywood, Birmingham, tells Claire Donnelly how constant assessment made her suicidal. As part our Wigan Pier 2017 project, she explains why the future seems bleak for anyone living with disability.

The assessment process is completely inhumane, it’s causing so much pain and trauma for people who are already struggling to cope.

You live in absolute fear of the next change, the next assessment.

I’ve got Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and I spent every day in the run up to my last assessment thinking about killing myself to make the stress stop.

You are made to feel you are to blame for needing support. The next step will be assisted suicide – if a right to die is ever made legal here we will see disabled people using it as they have been made to feel they are such a burden.

My next assessment is coming up and I am dreading it. You live with the thought you could lose everything.

The assessors have my whole life, all of my support, in their hands and the thought of that going is terrifying.

I’ve had assessments that have said clearly that I can’t move without crying but when it goes to the DWP decision makers they’ve still awarded me zero points for mobility problems.

I was turned down for ESA and found fit to work then my DLA was turned down too – the decision maker preferred the government’s evidence over the evidence from my doctor’s.

I got a letter from my GP saying I could hardy walk but apparently that wasn’t strong enough – they said it could mean I could hardly walk four miles.

They’ll ask things like, ‘can you walk ten yards into your garden?’

Well, yes, sometimes, but so what? Once you’ve done that what are you meant to do? What can anybody do within that distance?

If this was really about getting people back to work than the government would give the Equality Act some teeth and sanction employers who aren’t complying with the law – not us.

Yes, I can get in to the front of a shop but I can’t get behind the counter or in to their toilets or upstairs to the stockroom.

When my claim was turned down I was left with nothing and had to go to appeal. Your money goes but your needs don’t.

I had to wait 18 months. For that whole time I literally lived in my room. I was on the second floor of a private rented house, with no ramps, so I was pretty much housebound.

I was extremely suicidal at the time. I thought about killing myself every day.

I’d lost my career in teaching, was ill but was made to feel I was a malingerer. Most people don’t open up about it but we all know people who have been through it. I’m certainly not unique. It doesn’t matter who you are, the assessments seemed designed to cause the maximum stress and distress.

To add to that, the assessment offices aren’t even wheelchair accessible.

There is a lift – you have to go pass the security guards to use it and even though I’m in a wheelchair they asked me if I could walk up the stairs.

They wouldn’t let me use it because they’re not insured.

One friend of mine was so traumatised she started self-harming, cutting herself to re-open old wounds on her arms, during her actual assessment.

What kind of a system enables that?

I used to be angry with the people doing the assessments, with ATOS, now I’m angry with the people who are engineering and enforcing the system, the government.

This is about their choices, their ideology, their ideas about who does and doesn’t deserve help and it’s immoral.

If we don’t keep telling people what’s happening, shouting about how we are being treated, and challenging the system, things will only get worse.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. jeffrey davies permalink
    February 8, 2017 6:02 pm

    there are far to mmany like emma who are abused by their very own government its getting to much like that other party in history who took down their disabled mentaly ill and those who couldnt work is history repeating itself you bet it is

  2. February 8, 2017 9:44 pm

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  3. February 11, 2017 4:27 am

    Reblogged this on The Night Owl and commented:
    As I’m going through the processes of this government changing over my Indefinite award of DLA, to the new PIP, I can totally feel what you are feeling at this moment.
    Apart from knowing, even before I sent the PIP2 ‘How Your Disability Affects You’ form, I had to face, all over again just how much I have become reliant on my hubby’s help to do even the normal things in life, and that alone makes my heart ache for the woman I used to be, but will never see again 😦
    I’m now waiting to hear whether Capita will accept my Doctor’s letter, telling them that I’m too ill to go for a face-to-face assessment, and asking them to come to my home to do this – and I really don’t know what the answer will be – but I dread having to go through the humiliating, and so very personal, details that I’ve already had to write down, so that complete strangers can probably have a good laugh at what I go through just to live as normal a life as I’m able to.
    If I knew that going through this ritual humiliation was truly necessary, and that the DWP would actually listen to my many Consultants, and judge me on their medical words, too, I could cope with it – but I’ve read too many times of people being awarded no points at all, and losing their disability benefits, because some ‘health assessor’, who hasn’t trained for 7-10 years to get a medical degree as my Doctor and Consultants have, decides that I can be one of the many they turn down, to get the government’s figures looking better 😦

  4. February 15, 2017 6:05 am

    No wonder claimants are committing Suicide after been assessed I myself have no Support and everyday dread getting called for transfer to P.I.P I have things prepared for my demiise hopefully it won’t be to painful . I have had Depression for 30 years and will be Sixty this year . I worked from 14 until December 2007 when I had a Stroke and became Epileptic which meant I had to leave my long time Employment of a Street cleaner as due to Epilepsy was not allowed to work by myself any more so due to my circumstances will be glad when I get the Strength to join the Thousands of others who’ve managed to leave this life

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