Day 909

Most life assurance providers exclude suicide within first year of the policy.

A benefit scheme run by Utility Warehouse is called Bill Protector. It’s for Utility Warehouse customers, and basically between £2-9 per month added onto your premium. This gives cover for your bills should you lose your income due to illness, injury or redundancy. There is also an accidental death cover.

The illness cover excludes mental health. The basis of this is because it’s ‘hard to prove’. The attitude of the underwriters seems to be that people could go to their GP and simply say ‘I’m depressed’ when they’re not and be signed off work. This is in part due to an industry-wide attempt to combat insurance ‘fraud’.

It is interesting that mental health was covered until July 2016 and then they decided to write it out.

What annoys me most is that this is sold to customers as cover for bills in the event of illness, and then when they call to make a claim, they’re essentially told that their mental health difficulties don’t qualify as an illness – it’s the same old issue of perceptions and attitudes towards mental health. I think if there are going to be any restrictions like this, it should be made abundantly clear.

We as a society treat mental and physical health just the same. Don’t we?

Ref:

Utility Warehouse: www.utilitywarehouse.co.uk
Bill Protector:  https://www.utilitywarehouse.co.uk/services/billprotector
Key Facts: https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/pdf.utilitywarehouse.co.uk/Bill%20Protector_KeyFacts_1July2016.pdf

 

Day 907

IMG_0618

The national conversation on mental health and wellbeing is growing. Tackling stigma, raising awareness and providing help for people with mental health challenges sit on top of the agenda. Big names take the lead. Royals of state and sport speak up. Banners shine and flags fly high.  The CEO of Virgin Money, the main sponsor of the London Marathon speaks on national radio about her perinatal depression.

Heads Together Charity has been set up by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge along with Prince Harry to ensure that people feel comfortable with their everyday mental wellbeing, feel able to support their friends and families through difficult times, and that stigma no longer prevents people getting help they need.

Rio Ferdinand, Katherine Welby Roberts and many others come forward to make short films about their experiences of bereavement and depression. Jonny Benjamin gets awarded an MBE for his work. Newspapers and TV are more open to discussing these issues.

It’s happening. The seeds have been sown. There is hope.

Ref:

Calmzine. Marathon Special : https://www.thecalmzone.net/get-involved/calmzine/

Heads Together: https://www.headstogether.org.uk/

Jonny Benjamin: http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/38477747/jonny-benjamin-how-i-went-from-suicide-attempt-to-mbe

Day 723

“Random thoughts”, he said, looking perplexed. “I keep getting these random thoughts.”
“Thoughts of what exactly?” I would ask.
“Just random….”
I didn’t know how to explore any further.

He confided in at least 3 men he trusted about his suicidal thoughts and none of them knew what to do.
Not surprising.
He specifically told them not to tell me about it. He even shared his plan with one of them. But he did not know what to do.
Not his fault.
No one is taught what to do in a situation like that.

How would you feel if some one came up to you and said they were seriously considering ending it all?
Overwhelmed? Panicked?
Calm and confident knowing exactly what to do as if you were being asked to do CPR?
What would you do?
Break into a sweat?
Think they are kidding?
‘Fix it’ for them?
Call 999?
Take them to A&E?
Ask them to see their GP?
Connect them to the Samaritans?
Tell them to get over it because life is beautiful?

Yesterday I watched a video of a skilful conversation between a suicidal person and a person in a position to help. It was a caring and respectful exchange designed to model an evidence based framework which has been developed over 30 years by LivingWorks whose mission is to create a life-affirming suicide-safer world (https://www.livingworks.net/programs/asist/). It made me cry floods of tears as I was reminded why the poor bugger didn’t have a hope in hell. Even his doctor didn’t know CPR or what would be CPR for him. The video was a part of the ASIST Course (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training). Regardless of prior experience LivingWorks enable ordinary people to provide suicide first aid. They have training programmes lasting from 90 minutes to 2 days. Shown by major studies to significantly reduce suicidality, LivingWorks courses teach effective intervention skills while helping to reduce stigma and raise awareness.

While speaking with the trainers of ASIST it emerged that the most difficult group to train is GPs as they can never make time. The last General Practice who contacted them wanted them to come at lunch time for half an hour and provide training and lunch for all staff members in that time.

Top priority. Eh?