Mental health and benefits devolution

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A column by Mid Argyll Health and Care Forum
An independent voice linking health and social care users and providers

The August meeting of Mid Argyll Health and Care Forum welcomed Tina Jordan from Acumen, the network for mental health users and their carers.

She found us deep in discussion about the variety of funeral options available today. Woodland burials, regulations and restrictions, individually decorated cardboard coffins, how to choose? We were left wondering whether funerals were for the living or the dead.

As one aim of the forum is to maximise health in the years of life we have, we were glad to hear from Tina that additional government money had been made available for mental health in our area. She outlined the care pathways for the many conditions under this umbrella and explained the GP is the gatekeeper for these services and the choices that might be made.

She emphasised the importance of listening and taking seriously concerns family and friends might express about their thoughts and feelings.

Next came Colette Bryson, local delivery relationship lead for Social Security Scotland. The responsibility for some benefits has now been devolved to the Scottish Government where these benefits are regarded, where relevant, as a right.

Consequently the methods of claiming, said Colette, will be more user-friendly with shorter and clearer forms and asking for only essential face-to-face interviews. Implementation will be a staged process and will take time to complete. Colette was honest enough to admit to initial scepticism on her part, but said she has been convinced having seen the reality for herself.

Seize any opportunity you have to hear these excellent speakers.
In September you have the opportunity to hear the fascinating story of a husband’s experience in the fight to keep his wife alive.

To contact Mid Argyll Health and Care Forum, email forum chairperson Barabel McKay at