Thursday, 19 July 2018

#ActiveMinds Glasgow: Safe Houses for Psychosis presentation 18July2018

Yesterday I did a 5min presentation at the Active Minds workshop in the Queen Elizabeth Teaching & Learning Centre, Glasgow, as part of the Panel talks.  

Here are the slides on my website with hyperlinks:

and slide images:


Website hyperlinks

Slide 1:

my main blog Chrys Muirhead Writes

my twitter account @ChrysMuirhead

my son Daniel Muirhead's Flickr account 

Slide 2:

'HOSPITAL HORRORS: Patient locked in cell with no toilet, food or water' front page piece in Scottish Sunday Express, 5 October 201, about my son's sub-human treatment in the locked seclusion room of Stratheden Hospital, Fife

Jeff Hawke: Overlord; 2008 republication by Titan Books of my Dad Willie Patterson's scripted sci-fi comic strip stories originally written for the Daily Express, Fleet St, London 1956-69

Slide 3:

my knitting page on blog 

my cycling page on blog

Slide 5:

my Safe Houses for Psychosis blog

a selection of my son Ed (Edwin) Muirhead's websites:

Face the Music therapy
Dundee Piano teaching, learning
Ed Muirhead songwriter, piano player, drummer, singer

my SoundCloud recordings singing with guitar eg


Tuesday, 17 July 2018

the biggest ARSE (at risk state experience)

I've just noticed a tweet about setting up an ARMS (at risk mental states) service and felt compelled to respond:

And it's got worse over the years, not better, I think because of the emphasis on biological psychiatry, big pharma profiteering, mental health law justifying coercive treatment and the safeguards not being safe, to name but a few.  It was easier to recover in 1978.

Monday, 16 July 2018

knitting Betsy Bunny; a travel companion 😊

Facebook album of knitting Betsy Bunny

Some photos:


first outing in Stagecoach 16Jul18 🐰
then to Cupar Tearoom:

Friday, 13 July 2018

remember to be grateful #EmpowerProject Schizophrenia volunteers [guinea pigs]

This is an exhortation to the people with lived experience of Schizophrenia taking part voluntarily in the Empower Project led by Chief Investigator Professor Gumley (on a salary scale at University of Glasgow of up to £110K/annum), to show their appreciation for being involved, for receiving remuneration and/or expenses.  

In my experience it doesn't pay to voice discontent or to challenge poor quality sandwiches or tea in coffee flasks, to gripe about travel expenses which are incorrect or given in small change.  The expectation is that mental health service users/survivors and carers will put up with marginalisation just for the privilege of being invited.  And don't dare criticise the academic writings of the Professor or you may be in deep water.

[Staying Well After Psychosis which in my opinion is cobbled together with very little original thought, I really should consider writing a book in response but there are so many other more interesting activities in life which are grabbing my attention these days]

leaving DClinPsy Gartnavel 4Jul17
I dared to be myself at DClinPsy Glasgow meetings, eventually, after years of trying to fit in, putting up with constraints and marginalisation, although in my defence I was fighting complaints against NHS Fife for abusing my son February 2012 in a locked seclusion room with no toilet, water or light.  I did hope that my qualifications and experience of being a community educator and facilitator of learning would eventually result in paid teaching/lecturing opportunities.  But there were no level playing fields and I wasn't really welcome.  It had to be faced, I didn't meet the criteria, wasn't grateful enough.

I'm still very annoyed at the manipulation and undermining by the senior male DClinPsy academics I've engaged with in Scotland, at Glasgow, Edinburgh and Napier Universities.   I took a bit of a bruising and battering, and bear the scars of the battle, in my quest to be respected as a survivor Mother and campaigning whistleblower.  It wasn't to be.  They seem to prefer victims.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

FOI request: Empower Project funding; updated with response received from University 11Jul18

Email sent just now, 14 June 2018, to Empower Project Chief Investigator Professor Andy Gumley:

"Dear Professor Gumley

I am writing to you as Chief Investigator on the Empower Project with an FOI request about the funding.  I think this was £1.5million in total?  Please correct me if I'm wrong.

I cannot see any details on the website about the funding application, breakdown of costs, salaries, expenses, monies paid to mental health service user groups, carers, family members, others linked to Empower project.

I would like a copy of the funding application, a budget, income and expenditure, timescales, any other financial information which would help me understand where the money has gone, is going.  I am interested in knowing if the academics involved in Empower project received monies in addition to their university salaries.  If so, how much?

I am particularly interested in the remuneration awarded to mental health service users, carers, family members who were recruited for the research.  How are/were they reimbursed for the time they spent doing tasks for the Empower project? 

Can you please confirm receipt of this FOI request?  Thank you.

Regards, Chrys"

cc Prof Pell; Simon Bradstreet

Chrys Muirhead
Safe Houses for Psychosis
writer, researcher, activist; cyclist, photographer, gardener, swimmer

BA Admin Management (best student); Postgrad Dip Community Education; Postgrad Cert TQFE (care subjects, 2008 Stirling University)​


Link to FOI response received 11 July 2018 from University of Glasgow 

I am writing to you as Chief Investigator on the Empower Project with an FOI request about the funding. I think this was £1.5million in total? Please correct me if I'm wrong.
No, the project has received a total of £838,170 from NIHR (National Institute for Health Research). Please see the following link:

I did not receive a copy of the funding application, as requested, this was withheld, an "absolute exemption".

I did not receive information about the budget, income and expenditure, that was also withheld.

"However, you can find details of the project and protocol at the following link:

3. Timescales: Currently, the study is funded until February 2019.

4. Any other financial information which would help me understand where the money has gone, is going.
There are a range of partner organisations in the UK and Australia. Only UK organisations are supported by the NIHR funding. These partners are listed on the web-pages at:

I am interested in knowing if the academics involved in Empower project received monies in addition to their university salaries. If so, how much?
No payments in addition to salaries are being made. 

I am particularly interested in the remuneration awarded to mental health service users, carers, family members who were recruited for the research. How are/were they reimbursed for the time they spent doing tasks for the Empower project?
Participants are reimbursed for completion of each assessment in line with ethics approval.
Details are within the Participant Information Sheet at:

Saturday, 7 July 2018

closing ranks

Paul Hutton (now Associate Professor at Napier University) in his series of Emails to me in May 2017, regarding the bullying culture in Edinburgh University Clinical Psychology (CP) department and the behaviour of Matthias Schwannauer mentioned the phrase "closing ranks" after he raised a complaint.  This rung a bell, thinking of what I'd been through with both psychiatry and DClinPsy programmes at Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities, after raising complaints.

At the end of December 2014 I'd been bullied off the Glasgow user/carer CUSP group facilitated by Andrew Gumley when he wasn't there.  Other members took the opportunity to gang up on me, the topic of ECT, I'd recently written a blog post for Mad in America [Spearheading Doctors and the Re-introduction of Electroconvulsive Therapy for Children] on the resurgence of children getting shock treatment.  I had made an FOI request to Scottish ECT Accreditation Network to find out if any children in Scotland were receiving ECT.  The CUSP members said it would be only one or two which angered me, their attitude.  We were not on the same page regarding the treatment of children and so I left, complaining to DClinPsy programme director Hamish McLeod, now a Professor.

Around the same time I also left the Edinburgh DClinPsy programme as my voice was being marginalised and others with lived experience were seen as research fodder.  This came out at an event in the Playfair Library Hall, Edinburgh, when a CP academic from Edinburgh gave that reason for MH Service Users being invited.  I think she forgot that I used to be a service user!  Which is one of the reasons they won't want survivor voices in DClinPsy programmes.  We are independently minded and don't appreciate being research guinea pigs.

handknitted Donegal Aran Tweed socks for Andrew & wife
From around September 2015 when coming through another psychosis I engaged virtually with Andrew Gumley, befriended him, sent him and his wife craftwork gifts, sharing family photos and stories, he reciprocated, to some extent, and it was after this that I considered returning to DClinPsy programmes, giving it another go, also embarking on a PhD with Matthias Schwannauer as supervisor which he agreed to, Andrew Gumley offering to be an academic mentor.  It was attending the "Innovation" event hosted by Hamish McLeod that spurred me on to do the PhD.  

The PhD supervision soon broke down, mainly because of Schwannauer's behaviour and attitude.  I felt that he raised expectations then dashed them, was arrogant at a joint meeting in Feb17 with Gumley (said Life isn't fair and questioned my ability to write a 10K word essay), and then manipulated my other supervisor at what was to be our final meeting. My complaint was not upheld.  I want to be fair about what transpired and believe that it was Schwannauer who scuppered my PhD into safe haven crisis houses, and then McLeod who banished me from Glasgow DClinPsy programme, for no good reason, it could have been a peace process.  However Gumley could have improved the situation and didn't, on 4 July 2017 in his office, making out that I was "less than" then raising a complaint which he said was about his own facilitation but it resulted in my exclusion.  All of them closed ranks.  I raised complaints about Gumley and McLeod which came to nothing, unaccountable for their actions towards an unwaged Carer activist, whistleblowing campaigner.

A misuse and abuse of power, similar to what goes on in psychiatric settings.  They can do what they like because of their unassailable position.  The irony of Clinical Psychologist Lucy Johnstone and cohort pushing out their Power Threat Meaning Framework when her own profession is up to its neck in coercive treatment.  What difference formulation to diagnosis when those in power are not accountable, unanswerable to criticism?  And Johnstone with Watson is giving a platform to Schwannauer in Edinburgh on my 66th birthday, another slap on the face to a survivor Mother.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

blinkered; eyes wide open

In my experience of over 50yrs (from after the birth of my wee sister in 1966, our Mother experiencing a psychosis and resisting going into hospital) the main issue has been the treatment (coercive drugging, shocking) not the diagnosis.  Therefore I think that the work of Clinical Psychologist Dr Lucy Johnstone is blinkered, encouraging division. Although I like Lucy as a person I find her teaching (preaching) difficult to thole, have to take my knitting out or leave the room.

I've engaged with Clinical Psychologists in Fife since 2004 and DClinPsy academics since 2009, it hasn't been positive.  In my experience they are in the business of keeping people in the system (with Mindfulness, CBT, IPT) rather than helping them/us take charge of our own mental health, speak out about system issues, and to taper the neurotoxins.  In my family the abuse and neglect happened in psychiatric wards, perpetrated by Nurses, under the authority of Doctors, more recently justified under Mental Health Law and in Notes.

I had a good upbringing, wasn't neglected or abused, an independently-minded child, free to roam about the streets of Perth with friends and return to the safety and security of my home.  My Mother was a homemaker, loving and caring, and her spells in Murray Royal psychiatric hospital did not disrupt my childhood, that I can remember, as my grandparents and other family were supportive.  

Mum, Dad, me & sister Frances c1963
[Photo taken with instamatic camera, my Dad Willie Patterson's new "toy", on an automatic timer, he ran around the back of us to get in the picture, hence my middle sister in highchair looking round at him.]

1986 Titan Books republication
My sisters who are much younger, 9 and 14yrs junior, may have a different opinion of their childhoods.  When I was 17 in 1970 our family was fractured by the death of my Granny, my Father sequestered since 1969 in London, his contract with the Daily Express, writing Jeff Hawke, was terminated, my Mother again in a locked psychiatric ward.

My family don't hear voices when experiencing psychosis, as far as I'm aware, although we are extra-sensitive to the environment, acutely aware of nature, sounds, smells, spiritual realms, with heightened imagination and increased insight.  I experienced another psychosis in 2015, after a complete breakdown, avoiding psychiatry and coercive drug treatment this time around, so can remember the altered mind states and heightened awareness of others, of insects, birds, sky, earth and possible secret agents going about their business! 😊  It wasn't scary, I reasoned it out that they were on my side, protectors.

It was far safer, I found, out in the real world coming through a psychosis than voluntarily going into a risky, mixed gender psychiatric ward with careless Nurses and exploitative patients, and vice versa.  I'd been through that already, 3 times, in the earlier episodes having my space invaded by forced injections, breasts bound to stop baby milk, avoiding ECT by escaping Hartwoodhill with my husband, resisting chatup lines by male patients when wearing 3 layers of pyjamas in dining room.   2002 voluntary inpatient stay Lomond Ward, taking the pills under duress, less risky than resistance and being injected, wearing clothes in female dormitory beds overlooked by male patients in single rooms, chatted up again at dining tables, this time fully dressed.

Express front page 5Oct14
I was given a Schizoaffective Disorder diagnosis in 2002 but wasn't aware of it until later, I might even have ignored it if psychiatrist Dr Carey had tried to discuss it.  I do remember him mentioning Bipolar but I resisted it so he probably pinned the other one on, in my Notes, without saying, to cover the Venlafaxine overdose and bone density loss, 6in metal plate right fibula.  In my experience the Notes only had any relevance when a mental patient (or if a family member was, as in 2012 when my Dx was used to justify Nurse abuse perpetrated on my youngest son; they got away with it).  In the real world outside psychiatric institutions when recovered and having left "services" behind they are irrelevant and not worth mentioning unless useful for getting a job.

The real crux of the matter is to do with psychiatry having too much power to abuse patients without being held to account for their actions.  Systematic abuse at will, using neurotoxin drug cocktails without any justification or evidence of efficacy.  Failing to keep patients safe and even trying to lay the blame for causing psychological harm on unwaged Carer Mothers who are then left to pick up the pieces singlehandedly, having been abandoned by local MH services for daring to raise complaints and to expose psychiatric abuse.  

Whistleblowing mental patients and their carers are the least protected and most at risk when speaking out the truth of what they've witnessed and been through at the hands of paid healthcare workers.  Not for the faint-hearted.

photo on Granddaughter's birthday gift card today! (me & number 3 son 😍)