Thursday, 31 May 2018

how long are you going to be a whistleblower?

me & Dr Hannah 18Jan18 Cupar cafe
A question that was asked of me by Dr Margaret Hannah, Director of Public Health, NHS Fife, at a meeting on 18 January in a Cupar cafe, together with the Divisional General Manager (social worker) of Fife Health & Social Care Partnership.  I was a bit taken aback by this question, didn't think of whistleblowing as time limited.  

My answer was something like: how long is a piece of string, and, as long as it takes.  Once you start exposing psychiatric abuse you can't stop speaking out about it.  It's a matter of justice and I was also asked what justice would look like, consist of.  Here was my response in an Email:

"You asked me at our meeting on Thursday about justice.  What would it look like or something to that effect, in relation to the systematic abuse of my son in Stratheden IPCU/ward 4 locked seclusion room, February 2012.

Here's my answer, as spoken by Thucydides "There will be justice when those who are not injured are as outraged as those who are".

I don't see any evidence of that.  Yet."

At the January meeting the social worker Julie Paterson mentioned the Fife Council Head of Housing by name (I've met him) and talk of a new build Crisis House possibility, which may have been in relation to the whistleblowing and justice discussion.  I'm not a mindreader, it wasn't spelt out, but NHS Fife have already benefited to the tune of £4.4million because of my son's suffering while we have gotten financially poorer, no Carers Allowance now as I am in receipt of a basic State Pension.  And I cannot get any MH teaching or lecturing work due to being a whistleblower, campaigner and activist.  There's no money to be made in exposing systematic abuse.  You won't be popular.  So be it.

The social worker also suggested that I might take some MH Focus Group service user members with me when researching safe haven crisis houses.  I just thought, what a cheek.  An insult and lack of respect for all the work I do, voluntarily, while she is on a big pay, was promoted from lead Mental Health in 2012, the year her team tried to blame me for Nurse abuse in the locked seclusion room, in an Adult Protection Investigation Report.  They abandoned my son and I after his discharge from Stratheden Hospital, April 2012, we got no community MH support through Fife Council social work after raising complaints.

Let them pay me and other psychiatric survivors, mental health service users, a proper amount of remuneration, comparable to what MH Tribunal general members are paid, £400/day plus expenses, to be meaningfully involved.  We deserve it.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

flies in the ointment @ALLIANCEScot conference

1987 Titan Books pub; my Dad Willie Patterson

I don't expect to be the only beastie at the Alliance Scotland conference on Monday in Glasgow:

There will be other flies in the ointment speaking out with questioning and critical voices about their experiences of health and social care in Scotland, stories to tell of pain, loss, mistakes.  My testimony will be of psychiatric abuse and the lack of human rights in the treatment of people with mental health challenges.  The need for safer alternatives for psychosis, helping folk through rather than keeping them in a state of suspended animation with neurotoxins which caused disabling side effects and shorten lives.

Safe Houses for Psychosis blog


Jeff Hawke Titan Books publication 2008, my Dad Willie Patterson; Overlord
selfie by my Dad c1963 at our home 70 Pomarium, Perth

eulogy by Sydney Jordan Nov1986 in Counsel for the Defence

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

hold your head up

Woke up thinking of this song:

Probably because yesterday on twitter before retiring for the night I was recalling the last 10 years of being marginalised and excluded by Scottish Recovery Network and DClinPsy academics at University of Glasgow, Simon Bradstreet and Prof Andy Gumley in particular, who are now working in partnership on the Empower project.  

Ironically because they both disempowered me, in different ways, from January 2008 when I set up voluntary organisation Peer Support Fife and my own website Chrys Muirhead Associates 

link to website

to deliver recovery-focused training and consultancy from my lived experience of surviving psychosis and psychiatry since 1978.  I find it useful to externalise my annoyance, getting it out of my system, and have mostly got over the feelings of hurt at the betrayal.  

I slept well and think it's a positive demonstration of my resilience, to be able to talk about being undermined and badly treated last thing of a day, and for it not to affect my sleep.  Well done me!

I won't be stopping speaking out about it.  The cost of being sidelined, others preferred.  The pain of rejection and being bullied, silenced, blocked, sent to Coventry by highly paid Professors of clinical psychology and psychological therapies.  Attempts to make me feel "less than".  It shows the limitations of their discipline and how unsuited CBT, ACT and mindfulness are to working with a person through psychosis.  The lack of congruence, openness, transparency and accountability.  Small men, big egos.  I did expect more.  Och well, you live and learn.

website link

Friday, 25 May 2018

Fife Centre for Equalities and mental health rights; 5 staff on total salary of £92K/year; so much for equality

I have just sent an Email (25 May 2018) to Nina Munday, Manager, Fife Centre for Equalities, asking about their work in mental health, after hearing Ms Munday do a presentation on the 'Hard to Reach or Easy to Ignore: Promoting equality in community engagement' evidence review by What Works Scotland:

"Dear Nina

I am writing to ask you for information about what Fife Centre for Equalities does in the area of mental health rights, to tackle discrimination and stigma, and the obvious inequalities that exist for people who experience mental illness and psychiatric treatment, and their unwaged Carers, of whom I am one. 

My youngest son had his human rights abused in Stratheden Hospital, February 2012, for which I eventually "won" an Ombudsman case and apology from NHS Fife for their sub-standard treatment.  Here is an article in the Scottish Sunday Express, 5 October 2014, that tells something of his story, also front page and inside news from the paper attached:

From your presentation on Wednesday at the SCDN meeting, regarding the 'Hard to Reach' report, I didn't hear anything mental health specific or action plans from Fife Centre for Equalities tackling the ongoing stigma and discrimination experienced by people who live with mental health challenges.

I would appreciate if you could send me links to any documents pertaining to the work of FCE, eg the aims, objectives, outcomes, business plan.  I also would like a copy of the latest Annual Report containing income and expenditure information as I cannot see a link to this on the website.  Thank you.

I look forward to hearing from you.  Copying in my MSP and MP, for their information.  I will put this Email in a blog post, for transparency.

Regards, Chrys"


Received response from Nina Munday, Manager, Fife Centre for Equalities, at 16.31 on 25May18 with links to the FCE final accounts 2016-7 and to the vision, mission and values page.

I then sent a further Email asking for information:

and an additional comment about the £92K salaries for 5 staff mentioned in the FCE accounts:

Senior Managers in Fife Council get around £90,000 a year while Fife Centre for Equalities gets that amount for 5 staff.  It just shows how much Equalities are worth in Fife.  Not much at all.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

on being a £4.4million pound fundraiser for NHS Fife

I did it by whistleblowing about the psychiatric abuse of my son in the locked seclusion room of Ward 4/IPCU, Stratheden Hospital, by Cupar, Fife, in February 2012.  Which resulted in £4.4m being awarded by Scottish Government to NHS Fife to build a new IPCU.

Well done to Mother and Son Muirhead team who live at Springfield, Fife, where the village bus, number 64, goes by the old Stratheden IPCU/Ward 4 and the new build £4.4million IPCU.  We don't have a car now and I often get the bus, for a food shop in Cupar or to go further afield, to swim in Dundee or travel elsewhere.

link to Express article 5 October 2014

NHS Fife Spring 2015: Replacement of the Intensive Psychiatric Care Unit

We got poorer in the process of speaking out.  It doesn't pay to be a whistleblowing mental health human rights campaigner.

Monday, 21 May 2018

the coverup

This morning I sent an addendum to the proposal Email, to Fife Health and Social Care Partnership Senior Managers, saying No Gagging Clause:

"If you decide to hire me as an independent MH consultant in Fife then there shall be No gagging clause or coverup. 

link to Express article 5Oct14
I shall continue to speak out about my son's abuse by Nurses in Stratheden IPCU/Ward 4, February 2012, and about the fact that Fife Council Social Work tried to blame me for it in an Adult Protection Investigation Report.  I raised complaints and was targeted because of it.  The staff who abused my son have been protected by NHS Fife and Scottish Government awarded them £4.4million while we got financially poorer."

Yesterday I sent an Email to a friend with the strapline "the coverup".  Here are some excerpts:

"It was during my phone conversation with an NHS Fife senior medical manager that I mentioned the word "coverup" in relation to church ministers who do wrong stuff but aren't held to account by the church leadership, made to reflect on their mistakes and therefore are in danger of perpetuating them."

Rigside Church
"I was thinking particularly of the first Minister we had, after joining Rigside Church in September 1981 after I became a Christian.   ... the man was a former hoover salesman, in his 40's when coming into church ministry, undermined his wife who worked FT at Semi Chem in Lanark, to supplement their income, so he could drive about in a gold Capri, registration UAS (you ass).  

His wife would put herself down, saying that she was "negatively negative" because he told her she was.  She hadn't wanted to work with homeless men in Glasgow for her husband had been keen on a job with Tom Allan but she spoke of not being able to deal with what it might involve eg washing bug ridden bodies etc.  So the Rigside ministry was a second choice, for him."  She was a lovely woman, didn't deserve the treatment she received from her husband, a middle aged man with grey hair, a big ego and BO. 

The Minister within a year began an affair with the church organist who lived next door to the manse with her husband.  On one occasion I visited each one of them in turn to tell them off because of the damage being done to the church and its witness.  I was a leader in children's activities, including summer missions, and their behaviour undermined the work.  But they didn't listen to me.  Eventually they made a show of repentance, however this didn't last long and they were soon meeting up again in lay-bys.  The organist was a bonny woman with a hardworking husband, they lived in a detached house, I could not understand the attraction for the ex-hoover salesman.

Within 3 years the Church of Scotland head office moved the Minister up North to another charge, leaving Rigside to deal with the fallout.  I was pregnant with my third son that year of 1984 and it was very stressful, hearing the Minister justify his sin in the pulpit.  No shame.  

Back to the present and the phone call with the NHS Fife medic who I told this story to and she said that everyone makes mistakes.  Yes but that wasn't the point of the story.  Rather it was the coverup by the Church who should have defrocked the Minister or at the very least had him take a sabbatical to consider his behaviour, made an apology to the local church, helped us recover from the betrayal.  Otherwise the man was likely to have perpetuated the same mistakes in his next charge with his wife believing that she was to blame.  [she ended up with Parkinson's because I phoned her a few years later in Tongue, 1980's, to find out how things were, she described working in the local Post Office and losing feeling in her fingers, not sure how long she survived]

Back to February 2012 when I started to raise complaints by Email to various senior managers in NHS Fife, Fife Council, Scottish Government, Mental Welfare Commission, MSPs, local councillors, meeting with Police Officers in Cupar Police Station, to speak of my concerns about Stratheden IPCU and the treatment of my Son.  His claims of anal rape which were heard by many, including Nurses and my friend, pastoral deacon at Cupar Baptist Church, who shared the visiting.  

Stratheden Hospital blog started up 28July2012

My son had phoned the Police from Ward 4 and arranged a meeting which was cancelled by Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist Bill Dickson who said my son had "no capacity".  Dickson also said to me that patients without capacity didn't require advocacy.  I set him straight about that one, at a meeting in his office on 9Feb12 the first time I met him, and advocated for my son when he asked me to, at clinical meetings in Ward 4/IPCU during Feb12.

Dr Bill Dickson retired at the end of March 2012 then got supply work in
new IPCU Stratheden Hospital
Carseview, Dundee, on top of his pension.  The Senior Charge Nurse of Ward 4/old IPCU in Feb12 took early retirement or was pensioned off after the new IPCU was opened in 13 July 2017, so I was informed by the Clinical Director Dr Reid at the time.  He has also now retired.  Many other Nurse managers based at Stratheden Hospital, who I complained to or engaged with, have retired since February 2012 with their pensions intact, no doubt, maybe even gone on to further paid work.  Whereas I've got financially poorer and my son has been targeted by DWP assessments for his mental illness and unfitness to work due to the abuse by MH Nurses and his Bipolar Disorder Dx, received after the Nurse abuse and Mental Health Tribunal in March 2012.

Life isn't fair.  Professor Matthias Schwannauer, University of Edinburgh, Clinical Psychology department, my PhD Supervisor at the time, said this to me at a meeting with Professor Andy Gumley, in the Dugald Stewart Building, Room 1.01, on 7 February 2017.  He was correct.  It's very unfair that a survivor Mother and unwaged Carer should be impoverished for exposing psychiatric abuse, bullied and blamed, while the NHS Fife staff who failed to keep my son safe are protected by the system.  

My PhD offer, to research Safe haven crisis Houses at the University of Edinburgh was withdrawn 9 May 2017 and I was eventually banished from involvement with the DClinPsy programme at the Mental Health and Wellbeing Unit, Gartnavel, University of Glasgow.  Professor Gumley, who was my academic mentor on the PhD, hasn't spoken to me since July 2017 apart from one brief Email, following the announcement of the publication of my Opinion Piece in the Psychosis Journal:

Link to Opinion Piece in my blog

There's no money to be made in whistleblowing, in speaking out about psychiatric abuse, in standing with your son, advocating at clinical meetings, in raising complaints with NHS Fife and Fife Council Social Work Service.  It resulted in us being abandoned by community MH services after my son was discharged from Stratheden Hospital in April 2012.  I got no support even although completing a Carer Assessment form and asking for Self Directed Support for my son.  The only engagement we had was with psychiatrist Dr David Reid, occasional clinical meetings.  I was left to deal with the flashbacks from the physical, mental and sexual abuse of my son in the locked seclusion room of Ward 4/IPCU Stratheden, February 2012, providing psychological "therapy".  

We share a house, it's not been easy but our financial circumstances means it's more viable to pool our resources so as to buy food, pay the bills, keep a warm, comfortable home and garden.  Can't afford a car now, that's been hard, the number 64 bus by Stratheden IPCU, new and old, a constant reminder of the systematic abuse of my son.  We would both be much worse off living separately.  Anyway, he's my youngest son and I love him, unconditionally.  Nurses justified their abusive treatment of my son by writing in his Notes: "difficult and demanding Mother" and "family history of Schizoaffective Disorder", referring to my diagnosis from 2002.  So, in a sense, my son was abused because I'm his Mother.  How cruel is that?

Stop Blaming Mothers for Mental Illness

I'm just glad to have survived, thus far.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

it's still too risky in Fife to raise concerns or complaints about mental health matters

in queue for event, looking hopeful
Unfortunately it's still too risky to raise concerns or complaints about mental health matters, particularly if an unwaged Carer, survivor Mother or service user, in my experience recently when attending a MH Engagement Event organised by the Fife Health and Social Care Partnership (FHSCP).  

I was shadowed by the Divisional General Manager of FHSCP Julie Paterson after joining the Early Intervention discussion table because of having raised concerns with her about Dr Simpson's leadership.  Ms Paterson sat down right next to me and at times joined with others in an attempt to silence my voice.  The same thing had happened at the MH Focus Group on 1 May which she attended with Cllr Tim Brett, and I spoke out about it then also.

Fife does not have independent MH advocacy and I brought this up during a Scottish Parliament Summer Cabinet meeting in Kirkcaldy, 23 August 2011, when Nicola Sturgeon was CabSec Health.  Cllr Tim Brett was present that day, together with Chief Exec of NHS Fife, George Brechin, who retired in 2012.  I spoke to them both August 2011 about my concerns regarding the lack of independent advocacy for people with MH issues in Fife.

Nothing has changed in 7 years.  There is no independent advocacy in Fife and we are not free to speak out with a questioning or critical voice.  Too risky.  It will result in a coverup and silencing.  I won't be attending any other Fife mental health meetings.  Over six years since my son was abused by MH Nurses in the locked seclusion room of Stratheden IPCU/Ward 4 and Fife Council Social Work tried to blame me for it.  Nurses got away with it, protected by their health and social care colleagues.  There is no justice for those of us who were abused in psychiatric settings. 

FOI Request: pay scales of Senior Leadership Team posts, Fife Health & Social Care Partnership

Here is an Email sent today, 20 May 2018, to Michael Kellet, Director Fife Health and Social Care Partnership:

"Dear Mr Kellet

This is an FOI request.

I would like to know the pay scales of the posts within the Senior Leadership Team at the Fife Health & Social Care Partnership:

For the posts:
  • Director Health and Social Care
  • Divisional General Managers, East, West, Fife-wide
  • Chief Financial Officer 
  • Head of Strategic Planning, Performance and Commissioning 
  • Associate Director of Nursing (Fife wide) 
  • Associate Medical Director 
  • Director of Pharmacy 

I would also like job descriptions for these posts, so that I can get an idea of what the work entails.  

If you require me to give more detail about my request then please do get in touch.

Regards, Chrys

cc team players

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)​

The harms of psychotherapy: are BME and LGBT communities more at risk? 26Apr16 on Mental Elf

The harms of psychotherapy: are BME and LGBT communities more at risk?
Keith Laws & Samei Huda; The Mental Elf; 26 April 2016


[Today’s blog on the potential harms of psychotherapy is a joint effort. The first half (introduction, methods, results and reflections) was written by Keith Laws and the second half (next steps and J’Accuse) by Samei Huda.]

The emphasis on establishing the efficacy of psychological therapies has historically consigned harms to a largely unchartered hinterland. Information about both the risks as well as benefits, however, is vital if patients are to make informed choices about whether to engage in psychological treatment; in line with the NHS ambition of ‘No decision about me without me’.

We have quite recently seen a publicly funded trial of a psychological intervention halted because of worryingly higher rates of adverse events (overdose, self-harm and suicide attempts) in the intervention arm of the trial (McMurran et al 2011).  Two quite different recent reviews (Vaughan et al, 2014; Jonsson et al, 2014) have confirmed the low rates at which adverse events are monitored in randomised controlled trials of psychotherapy.

Most recently, a review of the final reports from National Institute of Health Research (the main public funder of psychological therapy trials in the UK), by Duggan and colleagues (2014) found that not one trial of psychological therapy trial funded between 1995 and 2013 mentioned the occurrence of an adverse event (compared to over two-thirds of RCTs involving drug treatments). ..."

Read complete blog post on the Mental Elf 

Saturday, 19 May 2018

first bike train trip this year 🚲 cycling Dundee to the Ferry

After the all clear about thyroid cysts and viral throat receding I had my first cycling adventure by train today, from Springfield to Dundee then on bike to Broughty Ferry, breakfast at the Glass Pavilion.  Back to city centre, 10 mile round trip, some shopping, cycling around paths in Dundee, maybe another 4 miles or so.  Very pleased to be so fit after not much cycling since about October last year.

Here are some photos and link to Facebook album, first a wee video on Springfield Rail Station platform, waiting for the 8.57am train:

on train to Dundee
on way to the Ferry
Broughty beach
view from Glass Pavilion outside cafe
Broughty Castle
parked up at Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA)
along the Nethergate Dundee
cycled up by Magdalen Green
stopped at the Discovery ship with V&A in background
checking pleated hair at the back when waiting for train home!
on train home to Springfield after a grand cycling day out

different drum

Friday, 18 May 2018

mindfulness creep in Fife; early Intervention, Kitbag, IFF, conflicts of interest; CAMILLE training; response from Dr Hannah

Here is an Email sent 11 May 2018 to Julie Patterson, Divisional General Manager, Fife-wide, Health & Social Care Partnership, copied in to relevant others:

Strapline: Early Intervention report concerns: Kitbag, IFF, conflicts of interest; CAMILLE training; proliferation of Mindfulness; no mention of early intervention psychosis

"Dear Julie

I am writing to you with my concerns about the brief 2 page report on Early Intervention by Wendy Simpson which you sent.  

Firstly the mention of Kitbag: "Kitbag event recently held in February at Playfield Institute to celebrate and develop expansion of this unique resource to build emotional wellbeing, now being used regularly in at least one third of all primary schools in Fife and also in some Secondary schools." 

As I understand it, this Kitbag resource is linked to IFF, International Futures Forum, which has a business arm run by Dr Margaret Hannah's husband Graham Leicester (see attached Register of Interest Fife in which I've bolded in red Dr Hannah's declaration when she was Deputy Director of Public Health).  Kitbag costs £50:

then there's all the other merchandise:

Dr Wendy Simpson is an IFF "Practice Adviser" linked to Kitbag:
another conflict of interest.

In her report she says that over one third of Primary Schools in Fife are now using Kitbag, plus some secondary schools, did they pay £50/child for this?  Or did they get it free.  From what I can see, the bag of stuff isn't worth the money.  Public Libraries hand out stuff like this in Dundee, not sure if they do it in Fife.  I'm concerned about the philosophy being peddled via this resource.

Secondly the CAMILLE training I have real concerns about and wrote a blog post about this project back in 2015, never got a response from Dr Baldacchino:
my main concern was the "early tracing and prophylactic measures" which sounded like eugenics, identifying mentally ill children then drugging them, to speak bluntly.  Mental illness is a psychiatric construct not a proven, scientific entity.  How dare anyone target and pathologise a child.  I feel very strongly about this as my wee sister was targeted in Perth when just about 8yrs old because our Mother had a Schizophrenia Dx.  She was fostered at the time, under social work.

Thirdly I am concerned about there only being Mindfulness in this EI report.  I see no other therapies on offer and Mindfulness is not a well evidenced or proven therapy, according to Professor Jim Coyne, a friend of mine on social networking, we met in Edinburgh July 2015:

I see nothing about working with Psychosis or other mental health conditions, before crisis, in Simpson's report.  How disappointing, when I think of my sons who all experienced psychosis as young men and could get no early support, rather coercive drugging and abusive treatment.  Locked seclusion room abuses.

NHS GGC has an Early Intervention Psychosis project Esteem which has been in operation for at least 10yrs, I met with project lead Ivano Mazzoncini in October last year and was impressed by his management of Esteem which has increased its reach.  Why is Fife not looking at partnerships with Esteem Glasgow?  England has many EIP projects on the go and Norman Lamb MP, who I met recently in Edinburgh, supports this, he has a son with mental illness:

[although I'm critical of EIP that doesn't mean to say I think it's without value, it's definitely better than what we've presently got in Fife]

I'm concerned about Dr Simpson leading the Early Intervention working group in Fife because of its narrow outlook and her conflicts of interest. I wanted to bring this up with you now rather than speak about it next Tuesday at the MH Engagement event.  On that day I want to be learning more about what's going on in Fife, listening to other user/survivor voices and sharing my experiences.  Obviously I will be asking questions, that goes without saying.

Thank you for sending this information,

Regards, Chrys"


Simpson's report for MH Engagement Event Fife 15May18
from Register of Interests NHS Fife 2015-6


Email response from Dr Hannah 18 May 2018: 

and my Email response 15mins later:

proposal for meaningfully involving the real mental health Experts by Experience in Fife

Email just sent to Julie Paterson and Michael Kellet, Fife Health & Social Care Partnership:

"Dear Julie and Michael

I am writing to you with a proposal.

To hire me as an independent consultant, adviser, development worker, for a small fee and expenses, days worked.  I would then work with you or Suzanne McGuinness to recruit a small team of mental health user/survivor advisers to work on various projects, including qualitative research, events, women's crisis house and safe haven development, peer support.  

Together with user/survivor team I would have the power to arrange meetings with NHS and Fife Council health and social care managers, to approach healthcare professionals in other areas of Scotland, the UK and Ireland, to gather information on these project topics, to arrange visits to projects, to organise events for user/survivors and staff so as to disseminate information and facilitate learning.  And other tasks, working on my own initiative and leadership skills, mentoring others in the team as we go along, virtually and in person.  Starting up a blog or page on Fife Health and Social Care Partnership website would be useful for sharing info and development, I'd want to write this, incorporating views of user/survivor team members.

I cannot attend any more engagement events or focus groups in Fife as a spectator or participant, it's not a good use of my time.  By hiring me to work for mental health improvements in Fife this would be a way of having me more meaningfully involved.

Regards, Chrys"