Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Time to Change: It's the silence that gets you

A Time to Change social media slate
One of the curious elements to this story is the institutional inertia of organisations who are choosing to keep quiet, when they could do something which might make a difference (hello, NFSP).

The springboard for this blog's investigation into the effects of being suspended/sacked/prosecuted by the Post Office was a couple of tweets during mental health awareness week noting the Post Office had proudly signed up to the Time to Change campaign, a group aiming to "change the way we all think and act about mental health problems."
Mark Davies is the Post Office's Communications Director and Sue Baker is the "Global" Director of Time to Change. You can see from her tweet she is pleased the Post Office has joined her campaign.

But the Post Office's virtue-signalling stuck in the craw of a number of people who hold it responsible for destroying their sanity. Here are a couple of examples:
Ignorance can be an excuse, at first. The Post Office and the NFSP have done an effective job of keeping the Horizon scandal away from the front pages for as long as it has been happening.

You can't expect organisations like Time to Change, when they initially come into contact with the Post Office, to be asking its executives questions about its corporate behaviour (though it would probably serve them to do a tiny bit of due diligence, or a Google search).

But if they find out that not everything in the Post Office's garden is rosy, after entering into a corporate relationship with them, what then? What is the right thing to do?

On 14 May I emailed Time to Change, pointing them in the direction of the outraged responses to the Post Office's tweets, asking for a comment. I even suggested we could perhaps have an off-the-record conversation about the Post Office's history in this regard. You know, just to give them some context. My email was ignored.

Yesterday I gave Time to Change a call. I explained I was publishing several pieces from people who claim the Post Office has or had ruined their mental health and that I wanted a comment from them about their support for the Post Office's recent commitment. I sent them links to Wendy and Tracy and Bal's stories. These are all real people with well-documented mental health problems directly attributed to the way they were treated by the Post Office.

Time to Change replied to say they would not comment.

I gave them another bite of the cherry, suggesting that if one were to contrast Time to Change's congratulations for the Post Office with their failure to even acknowledge the complaints against the Post Office it could seem to some people that Time to Change would rather side with a corporate bully accused of appalling behaviour than actual victims of actual mental trauma.

Silence.

And it's the silence that gets you.

If Time to Change cared, really cared about peoples' mental health, surely they would have a read of the some of the personal stories posted on this blog, and have a think, and wonder about the company they keep. Maybe they did. But if they did, why would they ignore them? Why would they refuse to comment? Why wouldn't they release a short statement saying they would be asking questions of the Post Office and its record on mental health? Is it because they just can't be arsed?

Because by doing nothing Time to Change are legitimising the Post Office's stance, and that's what so infuriated the twitter respondents during mental health awareness week.

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