Sunday, 19 January 2014

I've offered to speak at Mental Health & Incapacity Conference from patient/carer perspective

[update, the answer's No, got a response today 22 January]

I sent an Email this morning to the organisers (Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland, Law Society of Scotland, Equality and Human RightsCommission) of the Mental Health & Incapacity Conference on 21/22 March 2014 at The Fairmont Hotel, St Andrews, offering to do a presentation or workshop at their event from the patient/carer perspective.   Here is a copy:

Dear Conference Organisers

I am willing to give a talk or facilitate a workshop at the Mental Health & Incapacity Conference on 21/22 March 2014, from the patient and carer perspective.

I think it would be useful for your conference delegates to hear personal experience of what it's like to be declared "without capacity" and then to be incapacitated by psychiatric treatment and psychiatric drugs, against your will.  I was a psychiatric inpatient on 3 occasions, going in voluntarily to a psychiatric ward in an altered mind state then being forcibly treated.  I also have 3 sons who have experienced psychoses and been forcibly treated with psychiatric drugs.  

In 2012 a consultant psychiatrist, the RMO, told me that patients without capacity don't require advocacy, referring to my son who was his patient and detained under the mental health act in an IPCU.  I told the RMO that my son had capacity and even if he hadn't he would still be entitled to independent advocacy under the Act.  I realised then that although my son and I knew the mental health act and his rights, the psychiatric professionals were not as well informed, and/or were not implementing the Act appropriately.

I believe that there is a major issue in psychiatric treatment to do with the human rights of detained patients in relation to incapacity.  It has been my family's experience that entering a psychiatric ward voluntarily leads to us being declared without capacity and treatment being forced upon us.  Because psychosis equals incapacity in the eyes of psychiatry.  But why should refusing psychiatric drugs be equated with anosognosia or lack of insight?

Anti-psychotics have serious side effects, can cause depression, are brain altering chemicals that cause physical disability in the long term eg tardive dyskenia, diabetes, other health conditions.  Anti-depressants cause suicidal impulse in some people.  I took an overdose on venlafaxine without thinking, very scary. got taken by ambulance to Ninewells Hospital, after this was put on more venlafaxine.  Maximum doses of venlafaxine causes bone loss, research articles tell us.  A year after getting off the drug in 2005 I broke my fibula in 3 places just walking down a stair, now have a 6in metal plate in my leg.

I contend that it is too easy for psychiatrists to declare a patient to be without capacity and to force treatment upon them.  Being forced to take psychiatric drugs incapacitates the patient, taking away decision-making abilities and making a person vulnerable in a mixed gender setting where there are a mix of patients, some with substance misuse issues and criminal records.  Women should not be incapacitated by psychiatric drugs and be at risk in psychiatric settings.  This is unacceptable.  It is a human rights issue in my opinion.

Mental health law should be seen to be implemented.  The mental health act safeguards should be safe.  In my family's experience, 2012 in Stratheden Hospital, Cupar and 2013 in Carseview Centre, Dundee, many of the safeguards were ineffective or even ignored.  Professional staff either did not know them or did not implement them.  Therefore the rights of my sons were not protected.  Which resulted in a denial of basic human rights in the Stratheden situation where my son was put at risk.  As a carer in this situation I was not respected, a principle under the Act.  

I hope that you will consider my request to speak at your event.  

Regards, Chrys

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