I try not to read the Daily Mail. But sometimes, someone will link to it and my curiosity gets the better of me. Normally, the article is tolerable and it’s only the comments that really get to me. This time, however, the article alone was enough to make me stop what I was doing and seethe. (I didn’t read the comments. Well, I read the first 3 and became so enraged I had to stop.)
Yet again, the Mail (this time Daniel Martin) takes a cheap shot at disabled people. The article effectively implied that there are hundreds of thousands of people on disability benefits that shouldn’t be. Because, of course, Daniel Martin is qualified to make that comment.
The whole article annoyed me, but the first statement that really got to me was this: “Officials admitted 135,000 people have been off work for a decade with depression”. How is that an ‘admission’? Have you ever been depressed? Ever met anyone with long-term depression? Do you actually know what ‘depression’ even means? The ignorance in this statement astounds me. Depression can be as debilitating as any other illness. The implication that depression is a ‘minor ailment’ is, quite frankly, insulting. Hooray for contributing to the stigma surrounding psychiatric illness! – nice work, DM!
Next on the take-down list is people with diarrhoea (I don’t profess to know much about this, but it only takes a hint of common sense to realise that this could severely affect occupational functioning) and those with severe stress, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders (see my comments about depression – yay, stigma!).
Oh, and this statement – “More than 20,000 alcoholics and drug addicts have been drawing on the system for more than a decade” – is made seemingly without any regard for the issues of comorbidity between drug and alcohol problems and other mental illness including depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and personality disorders.
I now revert to bullet point form:
- “20 have been off work with a cough for ten years” – Cystic fibrosis? Chronic bronchitis? Emphysema? Lung cancer?
- “53,450 are on sickness benefit because they have problems with ‘scholastic skills’ – meaning they cannot read, write or add up” – Yup? As @bendygirl pointed out this morning, that’s people with severe learning disabilities.
- “Dizziness and Giddiness” – Yeah, that’d be vertigo. Nausea, vomiting, difficulty standing or walking. Oh and you can get blurred vision, hearing loss, have difficulty speaking, and reduced consciousness.
- “Amazingly, there are … ten with blisters.” - Ever heard of epidermolysis bullosa?
Oh, hang on, sorry, how awful of me, I do apologise – I forgot everyone who is disabled is a filthy scrounger, aren’t they? Apologies for that. My mistake. How could I possibly believe any different?