Monday, 30 June 2014

knackered granny thinking of tango ....

It's been a very busy few weeks and this cartoon sums up just what I feel like.  Lol.

So I'm relaxing to this beat ...  with thoughts of learning to tango.  Yeah!

Friday, 27 June 2014

EUPATI Patient Expert Training Course - unfortunately I've not made the grade

I heard on Tuesday from the European Patients' Academy on Therapeutic Innovation (EUPATI)  "team" that I was unsuccessful with my application to train with them to be a "Patient Expert".  I actually thought it was to be a Patient Advocate which is why I applied but it seems that the name has changed.

"Although your application and supporting documentation were very strong, we regret to inform you that on this occasion, we are not in the position to offer you a place in the EUPATI Patient Expert Training Course. Given the number of high quality applications received, the Panel had a very difficult task in selecting 55 participants, whilst ensuring that an appropriate balance in terms of geography, gender and disease area was met."

I did wonder if I would be a suitable applicant and said this at time, because of my mental health writing, activism and campaigning.  I thought it might be too risky to have me on board.  

They mention a second wave of registrations next year.  I may have another go at that point.

psychiatric abuse

If a person is detained in a psychiatric ward and is subject to abusive treatment then that is psychiatric abuse.  It has to be said and has to be recognised as such.

If a person has their basic human rights denied in psychiatric settings then that is human rights abuse.  It has to be said and has to be recognised as such.

If a person is humiliated and sexually molested in psychiatric settings then that is psychiatric abuse of the worst kind.  In my opinion.  There is no excuse for abusive treatment in a psychiatric setting that purports to be about therapeutic care.

These abuses have to be talked about and justice has to be done.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Healthcare Improvement Scotland really does have to start doing what it says on the tin

Strapline of this blog post is the subject line in an Email sent yesterday to high heid yins in Scottish Government, in response to the news that yet again NHS Fife isn't telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, about what's going on at Stratheden Hospital.  

See blog post 'NHS Fife finally admitting the truth about Carstairs State Hospital patients at Stratheden'. 

And here's the body of the Email sent to HIS, Scottish Patient Safety Programme for Mental Health and government Mental Health Division high heid yins:

"It is time that Healthcare Improvement Scotland got their act together and did the job properly.  The safety of patients in psychiatric settings is too important a task for hierarchical shenanigans and public servants not being accountable.

Spending bucketloads of dosh on making films and talking nonsense really does have to stop.  The "fun stuff" video that was prompted and filmed by your folks was a step too far.  Making fun of restraint after what happened to my son in these wards is an absolute disgrace and, in my opinion, shameful.

I may only be a mother and unpaid carer but I deserve respect, especially since I have been picking up the pieces after the dehumanising treatment of my son in Stratheden Hospital.  With no support and on £61/week.

I expect to see improvements and for HIS to live up to its name

You might describe it as "getting them telt".

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Orange Pyjamas question at the double imhl

At the double imhl Manchester conference on the Thursday morning we had speaker Martin Rogan, chair of the sponsoring countries leadership group of the double imhl.  I have to admit to posting on facebook that I wasn't impressed with what Martin had to say and was "gritting my teeth".

Well my comment sparked off responses from Irish campaigners who recommended I ask him about the Orange Pyjamas at the Tallaght psychiatric unit.  Not one to resist a challenge I put my hand up at the question time and persisted until I was heard.  

The gist of it was that patients in this unit were put in the Orange Pyjamas when admitted whether they had their own pyjamas with them or not.  Martin Rogan used the term "Guantanamo" when describing them.  Which I thought summed up the situation very well.  He rose in my estimation. 

Martin and Kevin Plunkett, director of nursing at Waterford/Wexford, came up and spoke to me where I sat, at the break, and said they would find out what's what.  Which they did and I heard from them the next day that the Orange Pyjamas were a job lot in the Dublin area, for use in all hospitals, not just the psychiatric one, for patients who have no pyjamas.
not actual Orange Pyjamas

However the issue is that in the psychiatric ward the patients are being made to wear the Orange Pyjamas even if they have their own set.  This sounds to me like a shaming exercise.  I know that the carers and activists in the Tallaght area are not happy and have complained about this since 2012 or before.  Raising their voices but not it appears being heard.

I hope that the voices of patients, carers, mothers and families will be heard at Tallaght, and that reason will prevail.  I can't see any meaningful reason for making patients wear Orange Pyjamas unless it was to help them hide their nakedness, if they had nothing else to wear.  Otherwise it would seem to be like a badge of shame and a means of separating the mad from the sane.  

But I have to say it.  Who are the mad ones in Tallaght?

[more to follow]

the double imhl: I was banned; I complained; I was bullied; I complained; I was bullied again; I complained; what next?

Yesterday by chance I came upon the photo and employment details on LinkedIn of the man who had bullied me at the double imhl.  On the Friday in Manchester.  He'd come up to me when I was speaking to a couple of Scottish Government folk at the afternoon tea break, saying we had to take our seats again in the main hall.

I had been discussing my banning from the Scottish patient safety exchange when he butted in.  As I started following him into the hall he turned on me, pointing his finger in my face.  Saying that my banning had nothing to do with double imhl or Fran Silvestri.  

I wondered how he knew anything about it.  I even had to take a step back as he was right in my face and space.  Very annoying.  I didn't know him from Adam.  I told him to put his finger down.  I remember looking at his badge, the Scottish name, but I'd never seen him before so didn't think he lived in Scotland.  I asked him "who are you?".  

He said a person with lived experience of mental health issues. His LinkedIn profile says clinical psychologist and executive director of this, that and the other in mental health matters, in England.  Looking back his history I see that he trained at Glasgow University, 1970-74.  I'm thinking that makes him about my age as I went to Aberdeen University in 1970, after leaving school in Perth.

I went back to my table at the front where I'd been the only one seated all morning, where there were many empty seats.  Only to find another Scottish man, now living in New Zealand, sitting right next to where I'd placed my rucksack on my seat.  I knew him.  A co-founder of VOX.  He wore dark glasses and said nothing as I sat down.  I reciprocated. 

This man sat so close that it felt like he was almost breathing down my neck but I wasn't going to move as I'd sat there first.  So I went about my business as usual, tweeting and writing notes.  I was determined that I wasn't going to let bullying or intimidation take away my enjoyment of the double imhl.  The fact that I had been banned from the Scottish patient safety exchange I put behind me for the moment.

For I did enjoy the two days of networking and catching up with allies in the Man U venue.  I enjoyed some of the speakers and I really enjoyed the workshop on the interface between police and mental health services led by @MentalHealthCop Inspector Michael Brown and Dr Jenny Holmes, forensic medical examiner.  A highlight of the double imhl for me.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

standing firm

I wrote an Email complaint this morning to a man, a leader at the Manchester IIMHL (international initiative for mental health leadership), who turned on me, pointing his finger, very angry because I mentioned my banning from the Scottish patient safety exchange. 

I didn't know him from Adam, said "who are you" to him and he replied that he was a person with lived experience of mental health issues.  Aren't we all?  But that's no excuse for bullying.

The reason I wrote a complaint this morning was because I came upon his details on LinkedIn by chance, as you do.  Saw his profile, list of qualifications and positions in various English mental health organisations although he had a Scottish sounding name.  Just noticed that he has accepted my invitation to link up.  Ha.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

in remembrance

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there. I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there. I did not die.

Mary Frye

Pittenweem East Neuk of Fife

Saturday, 14 June 2014

storify of my tweets from #IIMHL Manchester 2014 (& some other folks' ...

Just got my storify up of tweets from #IIMHL Manchester 2014 and with some from other folks' too.

A selection:

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

going off on a tangent

[Latin tangent: present participle of tangere to touch]

Let's be quite clear.  Going off on a tangent can be, and is on occasion, a deliberate ploy, a manoeuvre, a tactic so as to change direction, perspective, topic or focus. To move a conversation on to a different plane.

Someone yesterday accused me of this, as if it was a fault or negative characteristic of my personality, a sign of mental disorder or mental illness, a defect or a failing.  

This is to set them straight.  It's what I do and have always done.  I find it an asset to be able to suddenly go off in a different direction.

The fact that I suddenly lead them in a different path and they find themselves following.  

And so they resist.  Which is OK.  But don't start ganging up on me boys.  That's an unfair action and shows your weakness not your strength.

I'm mathematically minded, a systems thinker, and tangents were always OK for me in geometry and trigonometry.  I liked to work with them.  It keeps you on your toes.  The skill is in bringing a person back on track from going off on a tangent without forcing them.  There's the challenge.  

However you may just have to hold on tight and enjoy the tangential experience Being out of control might bring you into a new way of thinking and being.

As for me I always get some enjoyment out of it.  Being non-conformist and a resistant fighter.

Here's tae us!  Cheers!

when one door closes another door opens

Yesterday I participated in the Edinburgh University and NHS Scotland Clinical Psychology Stakeholder Day programme.  It was useful in a number of ways and better than I'd expected it to be.

The reason I was able to attend was because I'd been excluded from attending the IIMHL Scottish patient safety exchange.  Which just goes to show that when one door closes another door opens.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Two Kinds by Ed Muirhead & The Banter

Friday, 6 June 2014

correspondence with Dr Denise Coia, Healthcare Improvement Scotland Chair on my exclusion from IIMHL patient safety exchange (no comment)

Here is a record of my correspondence since Wednesday with Dr Denise Coia, Healthcare Improvement Scotland Chair, who is a consultant psychiatrist and former Principal Medical Officer (Mental Health) with Scottish Government. 

I was trying to find out why I was excluded from the IIMHL Scottish patient safety exchange.  Unfortunately after asking many questions and receiving two letters from Dr Coia I am none the wiser.   

Here is my final Email written today at 6.38pm where I admit defeat, giving up any hope of being listened to or of having a voice in the matters of the Scottish Patient Safety Programme for Mental Health and Healthcare Improvement Scotland:

Letter from Dr Coia 6 June 2014:

My Email with list of questions, seeking answers:

 Letter from Dr Coia 4 June 2014:

The end.

CBT for psychosis? I say yes for you can't force talking therapy in to a person with a syringe

Last night a group of us were having twitter discussions around the opportunity to have CBT for psychosis rather than forcibly treated with psychiatric drugs.  One of our cohort was a professor who kept saying that CBT was of no use whatsoever for a person experiencing psychosis.  My task?  To disabuse him of his notion.

Others of us were psychiatric survivors who have been at the sharp end of psych drugs and daddy knows best, patriarchal psychiatry.  Fairy tales of anosognosia, non-compliance and incapacity.  The ways in which they make us do what they want and call it medicine.

There was a toing and froing of tweets.  And into the breach came a fellow pro, the means by which the prof had got into the fray.  The fellow pro at one point used the word "amateur" as if to describe any of us with no qualifications or academic knowhow.  Whereas I tend to think that if you can't do then you teach, sort of a thing. 

The prof soon resorted to trolling when he got annoyed and his partner in crime retreated from the battle after failing to dent our armour with his research "evidence" that was nothing of the sort, rather a means to an end which I see as proving a point.  By people who have a vested interest in the "point".  

Keeping psychiatric drugs as the main tool of psychiatry.  For how can you force talking therapy on to a person?  Talk them into a stupor?  Give them words by syringe?  Read them a lecture until they obey?

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Alex Neil: "We need the voices of patients and their families to be heard in a clearer way"

I agree with Alex Neil.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

"we're not going if she is" - so I got the heave ho

I got an official letter today from a high heid yin, giving the reason as to to why I couldn't be in the gang.  

Because a "number of individuals" said they wouldn't be taking part if I was taking part.

Result? I got excluded.  Sent to my room.  Banned.  Scapegoated.

Topic?  Patient safety in Scotland's mental health world.  An area that I am an expert in, by experience.  A subject I have many questions about, needing answered.

My opinion?  It's not fair.  

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

'Sexual boundary issues in psychiatric settings' Royal College of Psychiatrists London 2007

Email just sent to NHS Fife managers and psychiatric staff, copied to local politicians, government staff and the Mental Welfare Commission:

"Here is a link to a report by the Royal College of Psychiatrists London 2007 'Sexual boundary issues in psychiatric settings':
"This document is intended to foster awareness of various aspects of sexual boundary issues in psychiatric settings. It also provides guidance for psychiatrists, working in multidisciplinary teams and supported by managers, for dealing with these difficult issues. Nevertheless, locally created policies will be essential. While this report is specific to England and Wales, the principles apply also to other jurisdictions." p7

First recommendation on page 5 "Wards must have appropriate design and sufficient space to allow patients to be cared for in safety, privacy and a reasonable degree of comfort.". 

I contend that Lomond Ward, Stratheden, does not have an appropriate design and that female patients do not have the appropriate privacy and are not safe.  In both 2010 and 2012 I reported issues to do with female patients' privacy and safety.  The fact that nurses in that ward were not keeping an eye on vulnerable female patients, protecting them from risk of harm.  I was a patient in this ward in 2002 and was coerced to swallow the psychiatric drugs, being detained for 72hrs after entering the ward voluntarily. 

They put me in the end female dorm, a woman in an altered mind state and mentally distressed, forcibly drugged.  I woke up to find a young male patient coming out of the single room opposite.  A stranger.  No nurses about.  Being on the antipsychotic increased the risk as it took away my decision making abilities.  I knew I had to get out of the ward as quickly as possible and was discharged within the week. 

The young man who came out of the single room back in 2002 I still see going about Cupar, up the road to Stratheden Hospital, he's always on his own, now in his 30's.  I assume he lives in the vicinity of the hospital or is visiting someone.  Whenever I see him it reminds me of how I felt as a vulnerable female inpatient in Lomond Ward

I will be writing about this in my blogs and researching more information on the topic."

Monday, 2 June 2014

'Analysis: Power imbalance prevents shared decision making' BMJ 14 May 2014

Published 14 May 2014
BMJ 2014

Natalie Joseph-Williams, Adrian Edwards, Glyn Elwyn

"Providing information is not enough to enable shared decision making, argue Natalie Joseph-Williams and colleagues.  Action is required to change the attitudes of both patients and doctors.

Adoption of shared decision making into routine clinical settings has been slow.1 Large scale implementation programmes in the UK have delivered valuable lessons on how best to embed shared decision making, but few programmes have actually considered what helps or stops patients from being involved in healthcare decisions. Organisational and clinician perceived barriers are important, but shared decision making is unlikely to become the norm if we do not also deal with the barriers that patients perceive. Our recent systematic review of patients’ perceptions highlighted deeper rooted attitudes that need to be changed in order to prepare patients for a new type of clinical encounter.7 Here we highlight the main findings and discuss how to prepare patients for shared decision making.

Patients find it hard to speak up
There is good evidence that attitudinal barriers are hindering progress in implementing shared decision making.  Even when patients are well educated and well informed, many still find it difficult to use this knowledge to participate meaningfully in decisions about their healthcare. The Francis report into failings at Mid Staffordshire trust revealed that patients often feel prohibited from speaking up, even when they are extremely concerned about safety or the quality of care they are receiving. Online blogs, publications, and social media campaigns (such as #hellomynameis) show that even doctors are not immune to the power imbalance when they become patients, feeling that they represent a disease rather than that they are an individual and aware of a pressure to be compliant and passive.  How then can we expect people to express their preferences about treatment options–especially when they often observe doctors assuming that they can act in their best interests, displaying unquestioned confidence in being able to make the best decision on their behalf? ... "


Laura Delano Video: Tips and Some Hope for Those in the Midst of Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal

Laura Delano New Video: Tips and Some Hope for Those in the Midst of Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal

"This video offers tips, suggestions, and hope for those in psychiatric drug withdrawal from ex-"Bipolar" patient and psychiatric liberation writer and activist, Laura Delano."

UK Human Rights Blog Video: Future of Human Rights Panel Event London 21 May 2014

On 21 May 2014, Hurst Publishers, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP and the UK Human Rights Blog hosted a panel discussion on ‘The Future of Human Rights’ to mark the publication of Failing to Protect: the UN and the Politicisation of Human Rights by Dr Rosa Freedman.


Adam Wagner – Barrister, 1 Crown Office Row and editor of the UK Human Rights Blog

  • Philippe Sands - Professor of International Law, University College London
  • Jane Connors - Chief of Special Procedures Branch of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Fiona de Londras, Professor at Durham University
  • Subhas Gujadhur, Director at the Universal Rights Group