Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Letter to Kenny MacAskill MSP: "what is the impediment to the MWC investigating psychiatric abuse?" 31 March 2015

Kenny MacAskill MSP second left

Letter sent in an Email to Kenny MacAskill MSP (who responded with a "Thanks") after watching him ask a question at the Public Petitions Committee meeting this morning, on the live link.  [see Parliament TV]  

Copied in to other committee MSPs and Andrew Muir:

Strapline: what is the impediment to the MWC investigating psychiatric abuse? Public Petitions Committee today, 31 March 2015

"Dear Mr MacAskill

I am a 62 year old mother and grandmother, and have just been watching
Andrew Muir PE1550
Andrew Muir's presentation of evidence for his petition: Mental Health Act inquiry, at the Public Petitions Committee.  And I wanted to respond to your question about the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland and the impediment to their investigation of psychiatric abuse.

Please forgive me for butting in but this is a topic close to my heart, following the psychiatric abuse of my youngest son in the IPCU of Stratheden psychiatric Hospital in February 2012:

Prior to my son's incarceration I was in regular contact with the MWC, knew the CEO Dr Donny Lyons personally, and had even been invited by Donny to speak at a Zero Tolerance consultation event run by the MWC in September 2011, COSLA, Edinburgh. 

Despite my personal relationship with the CEO of the MWC it did not help my son or I when he was a inpatient of the Stratheden IPCU in February 2012.  The Commission did not have any negative feedback from patients about the IPCU ward conditions, about the seclusion room with no toilet or drinking water, light switch outside, and patients getting locked in there for hours at a time, overnight, unobserved.  Why?  Because the patients either would fear the repercussions of speaking out or because the patients thought that was the expected treatment.  It was the status quo and they had no choice but to accept it.  Many of the patient were ex-offenders and used to say to my son and I that prison was far better than the Stratheden IPCU. 

Fife has no independent advocacy in mental health since 2009 when the local groups lost their contracts and Fife Council, together with NHS Fife, awarded the contract through a tendering process to a learning disability service provider, Circles Network, from Warwickshire, England.  Advocacy should be free from conflicts of interest otherwise it is in danger of being compromised.  I have campaigned against the lack of independent advocacy in Fife since May 2009. 

My son and I found that the MH Act safeguards were not safe in February 2012 when he was an inpatient of Stratheden IPCU.  The MH Tribunal was unbalanced, weighted towards the professionals.  The MH Officer was on the side of the system.  The Adult Protection Investigation report which I raised, led by Fife Council, tried to put the blame on me for causing my son psychological harm when he was an inpatient.  My son was 28yrs old at the time.  An adult with capacity.  I advocated for him at clinical meetings in the ward because he asked me to.   

The nurses forcibly injected my son with 25mgs of Haloperidol in the locked seclusion room, Feb12, after my son had staged a dirty protest when they did not let him out for the toilet.  Human rights abuse.  The nurses bullied me on occasion and made it very difficult for me to visit my son in the early days of his detention.  But I persisted and stood my ground. 

My son eventually tapered the Haloperidol with my support, within 6 months or so, in 2012, after discharge in the April.  We had to pick up the pieces after psychiatric abuse with no support from nurses or social work.  Only the occasional appointment with a psychiatrist.That is the reality of experiencing psychiatric abuse and then exposing it to the world.  I am now a fully fledged writer, activist and campaigner in mental health matters because of my family's experience of psychiatric abuse.

Yours sincerely, 

Chrys Muirhead (Mrs)"

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