Monday, 18 June 2018

"I became a victim of a sexual predator on the (Lomond) ward"

Tweets just now:

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Labi Siffre - Something Inside So Strong

#SeeMe Lived Experience Research Collective: promoting their own voices; peddling their books

I didn't enjoy the Lived Experience Research Collective launch of their Untapped Potential report on Wednesday 13 June at the Insight Institute, University of Strathclyde.  It took me a few days to recover, to get my energy back, was drained on Thursday.

What bothered me most was the exploitation of vulnerable people.  I witnessed this on Wednesday.  Spoke out, got silenced.  By Mrs Syrett.

Tweets written this morning:

"Michel Syrett has combined a career as a writer on business and management in the Times, the Sunday Times, Management Today, Director, Asian Business, and the South china Morning Post with academic research for business schools such as Cranfield and Roffey Park. He is author of 20 books and reports, including three published by The Economist, the most recent of which is Managing Uncertainty" from Amazon

[My opinion: Mr Syrett is apparently an experienced academic researcher and writer on business management.  However he's not up to the mark when doing mental health action research.  The Untapped Potential research was poor, only 20 people in 6 focus groups, no one-to-one interviews or indepth recording of people's views.  Rather it was the Research Collective voices which were heard, the loudest of those his.  And peddling his books via the Research Collective .org website is a step too far, shameful self promotion.]  
Scotland deserves much better mental health user/survivor led research so that we can hear a wide range of voices reflected in reports not just the researchers.


14 June 2018: FOI request: Untapped Potential research, report, funding; "The Foundation"

16 June 2018: VOX Scotland "peer research": ever decreasing circles; out of kilter

Saturday, 16 June 2018

VOX Scotland "peer research": ever decreasing circles; out of kilter

out of kilter: out of harmony or balance; Oxford Dictionaries


I attended the Untapped Potential Launch on 13 June 2018 at the Insight Institute, University of Strathclyde, to hear about the work of the Research Collective, only to find out that it was the "usual suspects", VOX Scotland cronies in the Mental Health Foundation fold, with Scottish Recovery Network (SRN) chums and See Me Scotland input.  

It got even worse as the event proceeded with presentations by unpaid "lived experience" folk who were over-disclosing and vulnerable, I say this from many years of experience, viewing what I call "performing monkey" behaviour, "organ grinder" paid workers at fault.  It can be damaging and so I found it very difficult to sit through, the lack of insight by some paid "peer researchers" who I knew well from 10yrs ago when first getting involved in MH recovery and Peer Support via SRN.  Others I know from brief acquaintance over the years and who seem to have done well out of their "lived experience", influencing agendas, ticking boxes and getting paid for doing so.  

Attempts were made to silence me when I asked a question during a presentation, by the partner of the lead Peer Researcher who is also herself a Peer Researcher at the Mental Health and Wellbeing Unit, Gartnavel, University of Glasgow.  Keeping it in the family, all the best to them both.  People have bills to pay. 

I'd heard the university researcher speak in tandem with Prof Andy Gumley at the March 2017 'Psychosis & Complex MH Faculty event' BPS/DCP in Stirling University, in praise of psychiatric treatment and MH Nurses, from the service user perspective. This was when I was still heading for a PhD, Clinical Psychology, University of Edinburgh, supervisor Prof Schwannauer, mentor Gumley.  PhD withdrawn May 2017.  My experience of MH Nurses hasn't been positive, similar to many other folks' and there wasn't that balance during their Mar17 presentation.  

Balansnummer from omphalos on Vimeo.

A quote from SDSS website about the Untapped Potential event:

"VOX, the Mental Health Foundation, and the Centre for Health Policy (University of Strathclyde) have undertaken a co-produced piece of research together with the Research Collective (researchers with lived experience of mental health problems) who led the project and undertook the research. The project looked at barriers to public life, and ways of increasing the civic and public participation of people with mental health problems."

Thursday, 14 June 2018:  FOI request: Untapped Potential research, report, funding; "The Foundation"

I hold highly paid academics and ScotGov civil servants most responsible for the tokenistic involvement of people with lived experience of mental health services and challenges.  Setting us against each other to divert attention from their incompetence and inability to shift abusive systems and improve the lives of those with "mental illness".  Narrow corridors and pet projects within their ivory towers, keeping them in comfort and their cohort of "service users", and their carers, loyal.  

Scottish survivor Mothers and Others deserve better.  In my opinion.


Tweets later today upon seeing a link shared to Unlocked Potential report:

If I had a hammer 🎸🎵

Recorded just now, one take with one wobbly note on the "woo oo oo oo" at the end! Och well, nothing's perfect.

guitar out, first time in a while ... 🎸🎵


Thursday, 14 June 2018

Centrestage Choir at Alliance Scotland Conference Glasgow 4Jun18

on Burntisland to Aberdour path with bike 6Jun18

FOI request: Untapped Potential research, report, funding; "The Foundation"

Here is an FOI request Email sent last night, 13 June 2018, after attending the Untapped Potential Launch at the Insight Institute, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, to Lee Knifton, Head of Scotland at the Mental Health Foundation and joint lead at the Centre for Health Policy:

"Dear Mr Knifton

This is an FOI request.

I attended today's launch of the Untapped Potential Report Launch, Public Life Matters, at the Insight Institute, and have some questions about this.

Firstly can you please send me a digital copy of this report, I didn't pick up the glossy report before leaving to catch my bus back to Fife and cannot find a copy anywhere online.  Thank you.

I would like to know the funding amounts for this research, where it came from, how much was awarded from each funder, the total amount.  I would also like a copy of expenditure, wages paid to researchers, amount spent on resources for undertaking research, an income and expenditure balance sheet.

Can you please send me details of the research processes and outcomes, statistics about questionnaires, focus groups, numbers attended, in which areas of Scotland, how people were chosen.  I live in Fife and there was no focus group here. 

Can you please confirm receipt of this request, thank you.

Regards, Chrys

cc Neil Quinn; Wendy McAuslan"

Chrys Muirhead
Safe Houses for Psychosis
writer, researcher, activist; cyclist, photographer, gardener, swimmer

BA Admin Management (best student); Postgrad Dip Community Education; Postgrad Cert TQFE (care subjects, 2008 Stirling University)​

Tweets from Untapped Potential Launch:

Last night on twitter I heard from a fellow Mother Carer who had also been at the launch and had read through the research report:

"From such a tiny sample of 249 Qrs & 20 participating in focus group over 6 areas in Scotland (average 3 per location) that authors of #UntappedPotential have determined that their 19 recommendations are correct to publish for the whole of SCOTLAND!!!


"That was actually another thing I noted that for all the transparency & stretching of data to craft it into the glossy publication no mention of how much money was allocated 4 this lightweight research & what financial gain did 7 authors receive!

This spurred me on to make the FOI request to find out more information.  I was disappointed with the event, hadn't realised beforehand that the "research collective" was more of the same folk (usual suspects) with links to VOX Scotland, including their Development Co-ordinator Wendy McAuslan who project managed the research. 

I also had concerns about the way that people shared their personal experiences, disclosing.  I used to describe this as being a "performing monkey", having been in that position many years ago, manipulated by the organ grinder or paid worker.  It felt yesterday that we were going back not forward, in terms of MH user/survivor research.

wee music videos of singer & piper on Buchanan Street, Glasgow, 13Jun18

Two selfie videos taken on Buchanan Street, Glasgow, before attending a Research Collective launch of a research project, Untapped Potential, into Public Life Matters for people experiencing mental health challenges, at the Insight Institute, Strathclyde University. 


FOI request: Empower Project funding

Email sent just now, 14 June 2018, to Empower Project Chief Investigator Professor Andy Gumley:

"Dear Professor Gumley

I am writing to you as Chief Investigator on the Empower Project with an FOI request about the funding.  I think this was £1.5million in total?  Please correct me if I'm wrong.

I cannot see any details on the website about the funding application, breakdown of costs, salaries, expenses, monies paid to mental health service user groups, carers, family members, others linked to Empower project.

I would like a copy of the funding application, a budget, income and expenditure, timescales, any other financial information which would help me understand where the money has gone, is going.  I am interested in knowing if the academics involved in Empower project received monies in addition to their university salaries.  If so, how much?

I am particularly interested in the remuneration awarded to mental health service users, carers, family members who were recruited for the research.  How are/were they reimbursed for the time they spent doing tasks for the Empower project? 

Can you please confirm receipt of this FOI request?  Thank you.

Regards, Chrys"

cc Prof Pell; Simon Bradstreet

Chrys Muirhead
Safe Houses for Psychosis
writer, researcher, activist; cyclist, photographer, gardener, swimmer

BA Admin Management (best student); Postgrad Dip Community Education; Postgrad Cert TQFE (care subjects, 2008 Stirling University)​

Sunday, 10 June 2018

I don’t want this isolation #HoleOusia #omphalos

I don’t want this isolation: Hole Ousia

"I have experienced the corridors of St John’s Hospital, Livingston, from different vantages.
This film is actually an attack on rigid medical determinism. It is an attack on academia and science that has been confined to narrow corridors and closed committee rooms. Such approaches, isolated as they are from philosophy and the real world, have the potential to cause harm to many [the ‘others’].

I don't want this isolation from omphalos on Vimeo.

Music credit: ‘Humility’ by Gorillaz.

Two quotes by the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer:


Saturday, 9 June 2018

"they are flogging a dead horse"

Tweets this morning, 9 June 2018, to Clinical Psychology academics in Scotland, starting off with some to Professor Jim Coyne who I regard as an ally and friend:

Thursday, 7 June 2018

complaint about Dr Dada letter dated 22 February 2018, allegation of racism

Email complaint sent today, 7 June 2018, to Lesley Tweedie, supervisor of Dr Temi Dada:

"Dear Ms Tweedie

I am writing to complain about the comment made in a letter by Dr Temi Dada dated 22 February 2018 to my GP Dr Dow, Eden Villa Practice, following our meeting in Weston Day Hospital on 15 February 2018.

Today I received a copy of my Mental Health Records from Michelle Smith and noticed a copy of this letter in the file.

I completely refute the allegation by Dr Dada that I said I did not want to "see a black person".  That's a slanderous lie.  I never said such a thing.  In fact I met Dr Dada for the first time at Weston on the day of my appointment with Dr Hannay in December 2017 and shook his hand in the reception.  We chatted in the waiting room before I met with Dr Hannay.  He told me that he had recently come from Kent and Medway NHS Foundation Trust and I mentioned contacts of mine in the London area.

[I have a daughter-in-law who is a black American and lives in Louisiana, her son, my grandson, is biracial.  I find it very insulting for Dr Dada to accuse me of being racist.  This is untrue and hurtful.]

I also refute Dr Dada's report of our meeting on 15 February where he was 30mins late with no apology for this tardiness, then after only about 5mins in his office he suddenly clapped his hands and stood up, telling me to leave.  I was taking notes of our meeting and said that I would finish, whereupon he got agitated and swung his chair around, looming over me, saying he had to harass me.  I raised a complaint about this and got an apology from Dr Dada.

Can you please forward this Email to Dr Paramore who is mentioned by Dr Dada in his letter as being "clinical lead".  I know Dr Paramore from 1 February 2012 when she was present at Lomond Ward, Stratheden, on the day that my son was transferred with a broken hand, in bare feet and underpants by two Porters at around 4pm to the IPCU/Ward 4 where he was locked in a seclusion room overnight, in the dark, no toilet or water, and left there.  This happened on at least 4 overnights. 

Copying in Margaret Pirie, Dr Stevenson, CEO Paul Hawkins and Stuart Ullathorne.

Regards, Chrys"

Sunday, 3 June 2018

prescribed flattening of menopausal women; surviving psychiatry, tapering neuroleptic cocktail 2002/4

I thought of this phrase last night when tweeting: "prescribed flattening of menopausal women", remembering the cocktail of neuroleptics I was prescribed by Dr Carey, my psychiatrist 2002/3, beginning with Risperidone, coercively given in Lomond Ward March 2002 when experiencing a menopausal psychosis in my 50th year.  I was working FT in Perth, managing volunteers, and began to have altered mind states, I believe due to body or hormonal changes.

I voluntarily went into Lomond Ward, taken there by my two older sons then was detained under a 72 hour section until I took Risperidone willingly, was told that I wouldn't get out of hospital until swallowing the drug.  A risky ward back then (got worse by 2012), dormitory sleeping accommodation, male patients in single rooms down same corridor, sometimes no Nurses around.  I didn't feel safe. 

my proposed redesign of Lomond Ward 2013

[my proposal was to make the sleeping area for female patients much safer, no males in single rooms, to effectively make the right hand area of the ward for women exclusively, I got no response to my recommendations)

The antipsychotic depressed me and I wasn't able to return to work in 2002, lacked the necessary decision-making abilities, having lost agency taking Risperidone.  Before too long Carey put me on Venlafaxine antidepressant which didn't alleviate the flatness, rather I suddenly, on impulse, swallowed a bottle of them one afternoon and was rushed to Ninewells in an ambulance.  I didn't know that suicidal impulse was a side effect of Venlafaxine and for years felt bad about trying to kill myself.  I'd never done such a thing before or since then.

After the overdose the psychiatrist put me on a max dose of Venlafaxine despite my request for a change of antidepressant.  At appointments which I attended with my husband who I'd remarried on our 30th anniversary, 4 July 2002, Dr Carey would ask "are you tearful" and I would answer "no I'm flat" which seemed to be the correct answer.  Eventually with no remittance of flatness and attending Weston Day Hospital a few times a week the psychiatrist prescribed a mood stabiliser to "augment" the antidepressant.  I also tried out Sodium Valproate at some point during this time, not sure of the details as I was sedated due to psych drug cocktail.

I had to get blood tests for the Lithium, hated being on all the drugs, had to sometimes take Lorazepam for panic attacks.  I was a drug addict and got no pleasure out of it, no hope, my sense of humour had departed and I couldn't even sing.  Something had to be done so I decided to start volunteering, beginning with doing a training course as a LINK East Fife mental health befriender.  My CPN had told me about this and organised a meeting with the LINK Co-ordinator.  I had thought to get a befriender but was persuaded to become a befriender instead, this was about the summer of 2003.

I did the befriending training autumn of that year then in around January 2004 I started volunteering at Barnardos charity shop, Cupar, soon was a helper at the local Express Group for MH support and through a SAMH employability project volunteered with NEFAMH (North East Fife Association for Mental Health which closed in around 2008, now there are no MH Associations in Fife).  I attended a course with FEAT (Fife Employment Access Trust) in 2004 and eventually got a few hours on the next course as a paid Mentor.  During this time I was taken off Risperidone, tapered max dose Venlafaxine myself as I recovered and lastly came off 800mg/day Lithium, reducing by 200mg/month, against advice of Dr Kloss.

Early 2005 I applied for a PT Library Assistant post in Cupar, having been doing occasional paid work with Barnardos charity shop, standing in for the Manager, organising the books.  I got an interview end of March and on walking downstairs, second floor, Cupar Library with interviewers, I suddenly fractured my right fibula in 3 places, didn't trip or fall, just sat down after sensing the break.  Got taken in an ambulance to Ninewells, 6 inch titanium plate inserted on fibula and metal screw through ankle, removed about 6wks later after using wheelchair to get about until plate bedded in.  Had to learn to walk and drive again.  Then started relief job in East Fife Libraries about May 2005, a lot of standing, not easy with metal plate, foot and ankle swelled up often, but the job was interesting and my pay through Permitted Work useful money.

December 2005 I attended the MH Peer Support Conference in Glasgow organised by Scottish Recovery Network and this piqued my interest in PS, beginning an Email conversation with Lori Ashcraft, Meta Services (Recovery Innovations) Arizona, who spoke at one of the workshops I attended at the SRN event.  In 2006 I noticed a FT post at Adam Smith College, involving running a student mentoring project, Employability Co-ordinator, applied and was successful, starting in the May 2006.  A great job, ran with stuff, did another postgrad TQFE at Stirling University, self funded, lectured, eventually teaching evening class, Introduction to Counselling at college, both Kirkcaldy and Leven campuses.

Adam Smith College Student Mentor Presentation 2007 (me in front row, middle)

I kept in touch with the work of SRN 2005-7, meeting up with SRN Director Simon Bradstreet end of 2007 in his Glasgow office, giving him my HN draft descriptor PS unit idea, he mentioned being in need of a mentor.  I suggested Glasgow Mentoring Network, having known of them through involvement with the Scottish Mentoring Network.  And in January 2008 I decided to throw my hat in the ring, dive into MH recovery work, using my "lived experience" of surviving mental illness, supporting family members to do the same.  By the middle of 2008 attempts were made to silence my voice, after the WRAP Facilitator training, by the Director of SRN, and I soon got excluded from their events for asking questions and having a critical voice.  

The rest is history!