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It’s good to speak out by Dorothy Jarvis-Lee

‘Enable’ is a key word for us at ubu. Through the work that we do with vulnerable people with mental health problems and complex behaviours, we aim to enable people not only to face up to their difficulties, but to fulfil their potential as individuals. This is why all our work with individuals is person-led – just as all people with physical health problems are different, so it is with mental health and well-being – and our positive assessment plans are carefully tailored to enable the people we serve to achieve citizenship by transforming and improving the quality of people’s lives with minimal support.

And it is not just individuals we work with, but families and carers too. It’s why having meaningful conversations is so important because it makes sure that an individual who is struggling with their mental health can turn to and trust the people around them for support. Talking – and importantly, listening – is therefore at the heart of ubu’s approach to improving individuals’ quality of life. We value openness and honesty and we believe that when we treat people as individuals and not just another person in the crowd they can achieve a real sense of self-worth.

Our experience is that the majority of people who experience mental health problems can overcome them when they are treated with positivity, respect and dignity. It’s my vision to ensure that anyone with a mental health problem recognises the benefits of talking so they can seek the help they need and start their journey to recovery.

This week saw the beginning of campaigning by politicians for the forthcoming General Election in June. While Theresa May, our prime minister was on a campaigning walkabout, Kathy Mohan, a lady with a learning disability spoke up about how hard it is to live on a very limited income and how she feels she is being denied the help she needs with the extra costs of coping with a learning disability.

Kathy said to the prime minister, “I’m talking about everybody, not just me. I’m talking about everybody who’s got mental health and learning disabilities... I [don’t] want them to have their money taken away…being crippled.”

Disability benefit reforms have resulted in cuts to funding for mental health support and care for people with learning disabilities and have reduced access to help for those who are perhaps most vulnerable in our communities.

So, let’s all take courage to speak up and be clear and transparent about what we believe in and value, speaking out when things seem wrong, and encourage others to do the same.

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