Tuesday, 15 March 2016

the need for psychiatric survivor research in Scotland

This is a wee post about the lack of psychiatric survivor research in Scotland, either led by survivors or about survivors.  I get very fed up with being the only kid on the block identifying as a psychiatric survivor.  Someone who resisted the lifelong mental illness prognosis, went against the advice of psychiatrists, got off the psychiatric drugs and got back on with my life in the "real world".  

Until getting drawn in to Scotland's mental health world by the so-called "narrative research project" at Scottish Recovery Network.  Which was nothing of the kind.  Rather it was a ploy to get folk off their benefits and back to work.  But there were few jobs in it for anyone except the fully paid up, empire medal chasing bunch.  Peer support workers/recovery practitioners on near minimum wages.  Local groups losing out to national mental health organisations in the tendering wars.  A rammy.
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There will be quite a number of psychiatric survivors going about in society, not letting on about their engagement and escape.  Avoiding the stigma and discrimination of revealing that they once had "mental illness" but "recovered".  Scotland being a small nation makes it even more difficult for survivors to raise their heads above the parapet.  I can testify to the risks of exposure.  Bullet-proof vest at the ready.  Prepared for the worst and receiving it.

However I still maintain that psychiatric survivor-led and focused research can only be a good thing.  Helping to shift the abusive paradigm of coercive drug "therapy", opening up the way for talking therapies for psychoses, altered mind states and acute mental distress.  Reducing the biological psychiatry hold and the scapegoating of a few to benefit the many.  Targeting families who feel the pain of living and express it rather than internalising it and having physical health problems.  Drugging us into submission, the risks of long-term chronicity from psychiatric drug side effects. 

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