Saturday, 12 July 2014

IIMHL Manchester - 7 places available through VOX - who benefited? (updated with Denise Coia response)

Denise Coia, Chair of Healthcare Improvement Scotland and consultant psychiatrist, has just responded to my Email, copying it to her HIS cohort.  Here is the screenshot:

and a transcript:
Denise Coia

"A bit anxious about this lady's direct contact with Joyce . Is ken handling all our organisations responses to this lady wherever they come in to ensure consistency . 

I am referred to as "this lady".  I wonder if this is a good thing or a bad thing?  Not being given my name.   Mmmm ....

I responded to Denise, saying 'Hello from "this lady"' and telling her not to be anxious, although I'm not sure who "ken or Ken" is. 


Screenshot of Email just sent to Joyce Mouriki, VOX (Voices of eXperience) Board Chair and Senior Public Partnership Advisor at Healthcare Improvement Scotland.  Joyce also "sits as a general member of the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland" and has "personal life experience of mental health problems" (according to the VOX website).

Here is the transcript:

"Joyce   (I'm using your Healthcare Improvement Scotland Email as I'm not sure if the other one I have is still in operation)

I am writing to you as chair of the VOX board of directors, to ask about the 7 places for people with lived experience that were administered through VOX, for attending the Manchester IIMHL.  I know that there were 2 nights at a hotel included as two women who had got places came up and spoke to me at the IIMHL conference, told me this.

I would like to know about the selection process, who got awarded the places (not names) and how many of the 7 were linked to VOX, whether as paid workers or on the VOX board.  From past experience (my 2009 IIMHL trip) I am aware that it has been the case that VOX tend to favour their own people.  However this may have changed/improved and less cronyism happens nowadays.  I don't know hence my enquiring.

I attended the Manchester IIMHL conference as an unpaid carer (£61/wk), activist and campaigner, paying my own travel and accommodation. (I'm a psychiatric survivor, recovered from serious mental illness, therefore I do not receive any welfare benefits)  I did this so as to network with other like-minded activists internationally and to be informed about the IIMHL work.  It was a useful experience for me even although it cost me to do so.  

At Manchester, as I remember, I saw yourself, Wendy McAuslan (I know because she at one point came up to me and spoke when I was putting sugar in my tea), Gordon Johnston, Isabella Goldie, and the two ladies who came up and introduced themselves to me at a tea break on the second day when I was chatting with Mary O'Hagan.  One from Flourish clubhouse and the other I think from a Lanarkshire project but not sure as I didn't take notes.  I didn't question the women as to who else was part of the group.  At the time I was more concerned about enjoying the double imhl experience, which I did.

I would like to know if yours and Wendy's participation was part of the 7 available places, and if indeed all the 7 places were taken up?  I assume that the work of VOX is transparent and accountable?  I would think the membership would have to know what VOX is doing.  My son is a VOX member.  I've been banned by VOX from attending events, bullied by VOX board members in Emails, so it has put me off being a member.  It goes against the grain for me to participate in an organisation that does not truly represent its membership and the variety of views.

I am copying in government folk, also VOX staff and advisers, according to your website, for their information, and Isabella Goldie*.  I will forward this Email on to others who may be interested.  I do hope to receive an answer to my questions and will be posting a screenshot copy of this Email on my blog so that others can also see what I have asked.  I have learned by experience to tell it how it is from my point of view and not to automatically expect fair treatment or justice in Scotland's mental health world.  

I call it "hierarchical shenanigans".

Yours, Chrys"

[*Isabella Goldie (a former psychiatric nurse) is Head of Scotland for the Mental Health Foundation which oversees VOX]

I plan to publish any response I get.

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