Yesterday by chance I came upon an article about an event, on a university website It was like the final piece of a jigsaw falling into place and made sense of the meeting I had last November with this university's head of nursing programme. A difficult meeting for me as many things were unexplained and a few days later I received in the post notice that I was no longer on their supply lecturing list.
This meeting had a domino effect on other meetings and work I was doing, from the survivor perspective, in mental health nursing matters. Mostly negative in impact although one positive came out of it as I got involved in another university's mental health nursing training programme. But that doesn't excuse the way that I was treated by the university who had approached me a year before, after a lecturer (now also working with NES) had attended 'At the Sharp Edge' event, 20 September and before the Robert Whitaker Lecture I'd organised in Cupar, 19 November 2011.
I met with the lecturer in the university on 1 November 2011, to discuss how I might be meaningfully involved in their mental health nursing programme. I took with me various pieces of information, including the WRAP plan booklet from Kansas University, which they'd sent me a copy of in 2008 when I did the facilitator week's training, and their Pathways to Recovery strengths workbook. (I was mentored by KU from afar in my delivering of WRAP workshops to over 200 people, in response to demand)
At the first university meeting I also discussed my hope of delivering the new HN units in Peer Support which I'd been involved in at the very early stages when I'd designed a draft HN descriptor and given a copy to Simon Bradstreet, SRN, in late 2007. In early 2008 I also tried to take it forward myself with SQA. The head of care lecturing at Elmwood College, Cupar, had worked with me on the draft descriptor, and at the time I was studying a PG Teaching Qualification in Further Education at Stirling University, graduating in June 2008. I'd also organised a Celebrating Recovery event in Cupar in the April that year, sponsored by SRN and attended by over 120 people.
[However my attempts at being included in the HN PS units development through SQA, Penumbra and SRN, came to nothing and I could only sit on the sidelines and watch. Something I've got used to in Scotland's mental health world exclusivity and croneyism]
In May 2012 I delivered a 2 day WRAP course to 3rd year mental health nursing students in the university and then in the July an afternoon session on strengths to 2nd years, using materials from the Pathways workbook. I did lesson plans for these sessions and was paid lecturing rates. Which made sense as I'd completed a lecturing application form and had the necessary qualifications, as well as the 'lived experience', or as I call it, the survivor perspective. I gave feedback on the training to my lecturing colleague.
Then in November 2012 the goalposts changed and my lived experience was no longer required with no reason given. Ironically that same day I was attending a Sociology class, scribing for my son, and was informed by the lecturer of a recent announcement on their website that the university was developing a "mental health nursing centre of excellence". He showed me the bulletin. News to me as I hadn't been told of this by the head of programmes or anyone else.
The article I read yesterday was of an event with a recovery focus, involving the university, their mental health nurses, NHS, SRN and Penumbra. Many of the topics that I originally spoke of in November 2011 in the university with a lecturer and later with the head of programmes before being recruited. Yesterday I sent an Email to the head asking "I am wondering if you dispensed with my engagement so as to further your engagement with others?". Still waiting for a reply.
Here are some questions: how can they justify their treatment of me, a survivor and carer, with their claims of excellence? Where is the congruence and fairness, honesty and transparency, in their dealings with people like me? Do we not deserve the respect of being treated equally and given the full picture? It speaks to me of psychiatric system behaviour, patriarchal decision making and a withholding of information by those in power.
[see pages 12/13 of The National Framework for Pre-registration Mental Health Nursing Field Programmes in Scotland 2012, on Approaches to programme design and delivery: Involvement and participation]