Thursday, 25 May 2017

PIP CHALLENGE Support needed

Billie Legal Challenge (see below)

The DWP have as good as admitted that mandatory reconsiderations are a sham.

In response to a recent Freedom of Information query, the DWP revealed that they have a target of upholding the original decision in 80% of all mandatory reconsideration requests.
Worse still, they managed to exceed that target in the year to March 2017 by turning down 87.5% of all applications.

The DWP have since claimed that PIP is not included in the 80% target.
However, it remains the case that over 80% of PIP mandatory reconsideration requests also fail to get the decision Changed – however coincidental the DWP might claim that figure is.
Having a target for the percentage of requests that should fail almost certainly renders the mandatory reconsideration process unlawful.

In legal terms, the DWP is fettering the discretion of decision makers, who should be free to decide every case on its merits, rather than worrying about being disciplined if they fail to hit their targets.
Just how rigged mandatory reconsideration decisions are is made absolutely clear by one other statistic.
63% of claimants who have their mandatory reconsideration request turned down and who then go on to appeal to an independent tribunal, win their case.
So, no matter what the decision is on your initial claim, and no matter how utterly you are turned down at the reconsideration stage, don’t lose heart. 
You have a very good chance indeed of winning your appeal.

Billie, a claimant with severe mental health issues, has launched a legal challenge against the recent changes to PIP. The new regulations have made it much harder for people with mental health conditions to get an award of the mobility component.
In January of this year the DWP lost a case before a panel of upper tribunal judges.

Rather than accept defeat, the government rushed through new regulations which came into force in March.
The effect is to make it much harder for claimants with a mental health condition to get an award of the mobility component of PIP.
Billie (not her real name) has severe mental health problems which mean that she is extremely vulnerable when travelling. She needs a lot of support to do this reliably and safely.
Billie was refused an award of the mobility component of PIP under the new regulations.

She has launched her High Court challenge on the basis that the change in the law discriminates against claimants with mental health conditions and also on the grounds that the DWP should have carried out a proper consultation before deciding whether to bring in the changes.
Billie and the Public Law Project are collaborating with human rights barrister Aileen McColgan of Matrix Chambers, who is working on a no-win no-fee basis.

However, £3,000 is still needed to cover court fees and other expenses.
We know the government is desperate to slash the benefits bill.
This time it was claimants with​mental health conditions who were targeted. Next it could be an claimants with an entirely different condition.
Whatever your health condition, everyone has an interest in ensuring that the DWP learns that it can’t just change the PIP regulations whenever it chooses.
At least, not without facing a serious legal backlash.
If you can afford a small donation, Billie’s Crowdjustice page is here

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

May Newsletter

Dear Friends,

May has been an intense month and it is not over yet. It was sad to wake up to the news of yet another 'terror attack' today, whatever the reason behind it, with the loss of more innocent lives. 

We were very pleased with the turn out and participation to the recent events at Kingsley Hall and wish to thank all involved. Thanking warmly Dr Moncrieff, Dr Ruth Cooper and Marion O'Brien for their time and contributions at the RADAR + PIP event on 12th May, we'd like to share some footage kindly collected by ‎Sian Whitehead‎ Also find some stills from the event

The community screening of The Divide also brought together a varied audience and interesting discussions.
Thanks again to everyone that has somehow contribuited in these.

Recently Myra told us about a woman (Service User) which considered our name to be offensive (we are calling OURSELVES Loonies, not certainly offending anyone, are we?).  

Now, in plan for sometimes, yet still in sketch, I would like to announce a special date: Saturday 9th of September we'll be hosting the Loonies Fest, which will take place at Kingsley Hall. More updates will circulate soon.
Among many things we'll remember the 10th anniversary since the total shutting of St Clements Hospital, which coincides with the origin of FEEL us Loonies joining our dissenting forces in a not-hierarchical (someone calls it disorganised, sic!) way and we are still here! Isn't it amazing?  

Hopefully that 'offended' woman will get the chance to change her mind, perhaps get some education in regards of mad culture and embrace her lunacy in the process.
We probably have done already our part in these ten years and deserve a bit of respite for the short lives we are meant to live.

For those riding the wave please do check the events listed below.

NSUN annual survey closes 24th May 2017 
Last chance to have your say. Participate in shaping NSUN.
Take the members' survey for the leading independent national mental health organisation.
Comments will remain anonymous. Data will be stored until completion of the annual evaluation work. 
It will take approximately 10 minutes


Horizon: Why Did I Go Mad? 
This past 2nd May, BBC 2 showed Horizon: Why Did I Go Mad? at prime time. The recently released documentary is still available for viewing on i-player for a few days and is also BSL (British Sign Language) accessible. We hope that it will be released on general, unrestricted viewing soon and more examples of madness, successful and/or not to be displayed in the future. Huge congratulations to all involved in the execution of this work, and kudos for the mentioning of a possible drug-free existence


Introduction to User/Survivor Research in Mental Health Mind in Camden 
Trainer: Jayasree Kalathil is a researcher, writer and activist in mental health with over 15 years of experience. 
She runs the virtual collective, Survivor Research
Thursday 1 June 10-4.30 pm @ Conway Hall, 25 red Lion Square, Holborn, London WC1R 4RL 
More information and booking (various prices)


Making Sense of Madness: An emancipatory approach
A one day training led by Jacqui Dillon and Rai Waddingham 
Theme of the training will be voices, visions, paranoia, unusual beliefs and altered states
Fri 7 July 09:45 – 16:30 @ Hackney House, 27 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3LT
More information and booking (various prices)


DSM69 by Dolly Sen’s Manual of Psychiatric Disorder
Dolly Sen is a well known artist and activist working and exploring what it means to experience mental distress and the effects of being labelled with a psychiatric diagnosis. DSM69 is a small booklet, a notice of intent, containing a selection of Dolly’s art and several manifestos. Pre-orders of DSM69 can be purchased from this website:
and from Amazon here:

Also by Dolly Sen 
Please sign and share her petition addressed to the HCPC & Nursing Council 
The Nursing & Midwifery council hold accountability and fairness as their values. They are both regulatory bodies, set up to protect the public. Please withdraw support for Work Capability Assessments


Breaking Convention 2017 The 4th International Conference on Psychedelic Consciousness 
Breaking Convention is a biennial multidisciplinary conference on psychedelic consciousness, featuring more than 150 presenters from around the world, happening between June 30 - July 2, 2017
University of Greenwich, Old Royal Naval College, London   
For more information, visit


Antiuniversity Now is a collaborative experiment to challenge institutionalised education, access to learning and the mechanism of knowledge creation and distribution. 
Initiated in 2015, Antiuniversity Now was set up to reignite the 1968 Antiuniversity of London with the intention to challenge academic and class hierarchy and the exclusivity. A rich and varied programme can be found on

Some recommendations among a long list of interesting events on various themes:

-Politicising Anxiety: From Precarity to Care

Anxiety is everywhere at the moment, but too often it is seen strictly as a condition of the individual. This event will be a talk and workshop on politicising anxiety; on framing it as a social phenomenon. Anxiety takes different forms and we see these multiple anxieties as weapons of the ruling class, as the result of a crisis of reproduction and a condition of capitalism itself. One response to this, we suggest, is collectivised care.
Sat 10 June 1-4 pm @ 7 The White Building, Queen's Yard, White Post Ln, London E9 5EN

-Speak Out Against Psychiatry 6th birthday Speak Out & picnic
Six years ago SOAP (Speak Out Against Psychiatry) held their first Speak Out in front of the Royal College of Psychiatry (then based in Belgrave Square) followed by a picnic in Hyde Park. The event will be repeated to celebrate the 6 years of fighting an inhumane psychiatric system. There will be plenty of posters to read and people to have a one-to-one with and the chance to try the 'diagnostic wheel' which is just as reliable as the DSM 5! 
Sunday 11 June. Meet 2-5 pm for Speak Out @ Speakers Corner (nearest tube Marble Arch) then move to park for picnic after (weather permitting)

-Psycho-coercion & Psycho-resistance
An event to explore and build resistance to the increasing use of psychology to coerce and compel us through moral mantras like the 'work cure' and the use of psychometric tests, mood monitoring and mindfulness. Featuring talk and discussion from academics and activists working to question psycho-coercion. As well as a screening of Harry Giles' Everything I bought and how it made me feel. 
Mon 12 June 6-8 pm @ Red Gallery, 1-3 Rivington Street, London EC2A 3DT

-Using Art in Mental Health Activism
If you are brutalised or abused by the mental health system and want to challenge and resist that, what can you do without it being pathologised as part of your condition? Join Dolly Sen for two hours of reflection on the relationship between art and mental health activism.
Monday 12 June, 7-9 pm @ Dragon Cafe, The Crypt at St George The Martyr Church, Borough High St, London SE1 1JA