Tuesday, 19 February 2013

sanity reigned at the mental health tribunal yesterday

Some good news for a change.  Yesterday I attended a Mental Health Tribunal as a Named Person and the decision was the right one.  The patient became voluntary, undetained, and sanity reigned.  It made sense for the person had been compliant, was swallowing all the psych drugs and doing what they were told.

I couldn't have done it, that's for sure, putting up with having my freedom curtailed for so long and being given cocktails of psych drugs.  The person did well and the tribunal panel asked pertinent questions of the agency locum consultant who was asking for a CTO.  The evidence didn't warrant a detention and we were glad of the positive outcome. 

This was the third tribunal in four weeks and I'd attended the first one which seemed to be like going through the motions.  From which I'd raised a number of complaints with various agency heads, in an attempt to express my dissatisfaction with the psychiatric treatment and the information available to carers and patient.  These are still ongoing.

I want to see the mental health act safeguards working and yesterday's tribunal was a better demonstration of a working safeguard.  However it required family members to be vigilant and for other safeguards to also be in place.  The solicitor did a good job of advocating and the Mental Health Officer showed more support for the patient.  

The advance statement is a useful safeguard and can help a person have some control in psychiatric circumstances, backed up by the named person and carers.  Also having a WRAP, wellness recovery action plan, is a another way of controlling present and future mental health care treatment.  Tools that help a person have a voice when they are unwell or mentally distressed.

I'd like to see a move away from talking about 'non-compliance' as if this demonstrated a lack of insight.  I think that to completely recover from mental illness and the psychiatric system then a person has to be non-compliant or non-conformist.  It's how I recovered, by not listening to psychiatry and taking charge of my own mental health. 

I am going to remain hopeful about safeguards and improvements to psychiatric treatment while keeping a critical eye on practice and developments.  For one swallow doesn't make a summer.  And it's going to take a paradigm shift so that forced treatment isn't an option in psychiatry. 

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