1 July 2021
What: The mother of Ker Featherstone describes how he took his own life, just weeks after DWP cut his personal independence payment, despite being warned he was severely depressed, malnourished, could not face leaving his flat, and had made several suicide attempts. DWP had been told by his parents in January 2019 that Ker had barely left his flat in two years, that he would often pass out when he stood up because of malnutrition, and even that his teeth had started to crumble. It was also told that his anxiety and depression were so severe that he could not cope with visits from his own brothers and sisters, and that he had not washed in nearly 18 months. His disabled mother Helen believes her son’s suicide, like that of Jodey Whiting, showed there were serious and “systemic” problems in DWP’s assessment system.
Why significant: Another death linked to the PIP assessment system. Helen Featherstone says she has spoken out publicly about her son’s death partly because of the campaigning efforts of Joy Dove.