Worrying figures expose variety of suicides at Jobcentres and profit places of work

More than 100 suicide and self-harm incidents have been recorded at Jobcentres and different advantages suppliers since 2014, it may be revealed.

The worrying figures, uncovered by means of Freedom of Information requests, will reinforce fears over the impact of the federal government’s punitive welfare insurance policies, similar to incapacity checks and sanctions.

The knowledge, masking England, Scotland and Wales, was offered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the federal government division liable for working the advantages system. It exhibits the variety of so-called “fast track” incidents that have to be reported to the DWP, which then carries out an investigation.

One of the classes of quick observe incident is “Suicide/Self harm incident”. Since 2014 there have been no less than 104 suicide or self-harm incidents reported by jobcentres and different DWP suppliers – with 94 occurring between 2014 and 2020, between one and 4 in 2020/21, and no less than one other ten since then. The figures since 2021 don’t cowl the entire interval, and consequently will likely be an undercount.

The highest variety of suicide and self-harm incidents was in 2019/20, when 21 have been recorded. The following 12 months noticed the peak of the Covid pandemic, with jobcentre conferences and incapacity profit checks suspended and sanctions – the place individuals’s advantages are docked for occasionally minor infringements of the principles or being late for jobcentre conferences – briefly fell to virtually zero.

The figures will add to issues over the psychological well being impression of how the Tories are working the profit system, with sanctions now having shot again up and a scarcity of provision for individuals with psychological well being points.

Welfare rights campaigner Andy Mitchell mentioned: “For people in a conditionality group it is the constant threat of losing your benefits that creates the anxiety. Iain Duncan Smith said he wanted Universal Credit to operate in the same way as a job, but for claimants the pressure you feel never stops. Work coaches [at job centres] expect you to look for work every day, and the longer it takes the bigger toll it has on your health. At least, it did for me. Anxiety and stress builds up and that impacts physical health.

“In one of the meetings I had with the work coach I made the mistake of saying I try to set aside weekends for family and friends and to switch off. She told me that I was a claimant, that we did not have holidays and that I should be looking for work for five hours a day, seven days a week.”

He mentioned that ladies who’ve suffered home abuse repeatedly report that going to fulfill their work coach could make them relive these experiences due to the perspective and management they’ve over their lives. Work coaches repeatedly warn them that they will cease their profit funds in the event that they don’t do what they’re advised.

If you’re affected by this story

If you’re affected by this story there are a lot of individuals who can be joyful to speak to you:


If you’ll want to speak and do not know the place to show to, the Samaritans function a free helpline open 24/7 on 116 123. Alternatively you possibly can e-mail [email protected] or go to the web site to search out your native department.


If you or any person is experiencing a psychological well being downside, SANEline’s helpline is open between 4.30pm and 10.30pm daily on 0300 304 7000.


The psychological well being charity Mind has sources aimed toward serving to you address and plan for a disaster. Visit their web site for particulars on helplines, learn how to entry disaster companies and what to do for those who’re unable to get assist your self.

*In an emergency, dial 999 for pressing assist

“It is a constant grind which quickly has an impact on mental health,” mentioned Mr Mitchell, who’d labored for 20 years earlier than claiming advantages. “When I was sanctioned over Christmas [in 2013] I had a breakdown as I had no money, no electricity and no one to speak to. I had no phone credit to call my family and I felt totally isolated. I’ve gone through years of counselling as a result and my physical health plummeted.”

In one tragic case lately reported by Disability News Service, an “overwhelmed” disabled profit claimant tried to take his personal life by poisoning himself at a jobcentre, solely to then be charged with possessing a chemical weapon in relation to the try.

Ayla Ozmen, Director of Policy and Campaigns at anti-poverty charity Z2K, mentioned: “These figures are extremely worrying and should lead to a review of the threadbare and punitive benefit system. Unfortunately, however, our fear is that these figures will escalate as a result of upcoming reforms to the system. Government plans from next year will mean over one hundred thousand people with mental health conditions that put them or those around them at substantial risk of harm will miss out on support and will be at risk of being sanctioned if they don’t engage with the jobcentre.

“At the moment we can’t see how it will be possible to go ahead with these plans without significantly increasing risk.”

A DWP spokesman mentioned: “We will all the time prioritise defending and safeguarding probably the most weak, together with those that are at severe danger of suicide or self-harm. We are dedicated to making sure our welfare system encourages and helps individuals into work, whereas offering a significant security web for many who want it most.”

If you are struggling and wish to speak, the Samaritans function a free helpline open 24/7 on 116 123. Alternatively, you possibly can e-mail [email protected] or go to their website to search out your native department.