Wednesday, 27 February 2019

telling my story to 'Future Nurses of Our Global Village' at Edinburgh University

Email I sent yesterday in response to one from Alliance Scotland, strapline of 'Future Nurses of Our Global Village' copying in Edinburgh University academics I know who are based at Doorway 6, Old Medical Quad, Teviot Place:

"Dear Kerry

Thanks for your Email and for the information.

It was in 2005 that I first shared my "lived experience" Story on the Scottish Recovery Network website which I now describe as surviving psychiatric treatment, back then as making a full recovery from mental illness.  This took me into Scotland's mental health world in 2008, setting up voluntary organisation Peer Support Fife:
and my own website for delivering recovery focused training:

Peer Support Fife
Chrys Muirhead Associates
However within a few months I soon discovered that my voice wasn't welcome unless it was controlled by those in power and I was silenced, excluded, bullied for speaking out, for having an opinion.  I was 55 years old in 2008, with a degree in Management, 2 postgraduate qualifications in Community Education and FE Lecturing, care subjects.  I had recovered from, survived 3 psychosis/psychiatry engagements in 1978, 1984 and 2002, had also supported family members in the same.  So I was a very experienced survivor and reflective practitioner. 

I soon was promoting MH user/care involvement and running events, in Fife, inviting international speakers, and then in 2012 I became a whistleblower, exposing locked seclusion room human rights abuses in Stratheden Hospital, eventually winning an Ombudsman case and a written apology from NHS Fife in September 2014.  I singlehandedly supported my son after psychiatric abuse and listened to his flashbacks, we were abandoned by Fife community MH services after I started raising complaints.  We still share a house, it's been a challenging 7 years, not least because of DWP assessments and my son experiencing another lung collapse and operation in 2017.  He was face down restrained twice by MH Nurses in February 2012, prone to collapsed lungs.  The outcome could have been much more serious, life threatening.  I am glad that we have both survived these difficult years. 

Copying in Dr Stenhouse, Prof Schwannaer and Prof Clarke who are based at Doorway 6 of the Medical Quad and may be involved in this project, for their interest.

Regards, Chrys"

Chrys Muirhead
carer, writer, storyteller, swimmer, cyclist, photographer, gardener, traveller


From Alliance Scotland:

"Dear member

The University of Edinburgh invites you to share your stories to help shape the future of nursing education. Nursing education across the UK is changing and the University of Edinburgh want your help to ensure that it’s nursing programme is grounded in voices of lived experience.

This event gives you the opportunity to share your stories with Nursing Studies staff. You will be supported to capture your experiences with nursing staff in creative ways – through photography, storytelling, podcasting or however you feel you can best express yourself. These will then be the foundation of a dialogue around how best to equip tomorrow’s nurses with the skills and ability to deliver the best care.

Agenda for the day:

12:15 – 12:30 – Welcome and Introduction
12:30 – 13:15 – Creative Storytelling (including lunch)
13:15 – 13:30 – Nursing Education Standards
13:30 – 14:00 – Shaping the Next Generation of Nurses

If you are interested in attending or want to find out more, please contact

Event details

University of Edinburgh
Friday 1 March 2019
12:15 - 14:00
Room G.04
Doorway 6 Old Medical Quad
Teviot Place

Best wishes


Kerry Ritchie
Network Development Officer
Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE)
349 Bath Street
G2 4AA"

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

I don't want buried in Cupar (beside my Mother); scunnered by a letter from GP

Email strapline sent to my 2 older sons just now: "I don't want buried in Cupar"; have advised them to burn me and throw my ashes in the Tay, Dundee or Perth.

Update in the evening 19Feb19:

I was very scunnered with letter from my Cupar GP which I received yesterday and was meant to be in support of a move to Dundee but rather was discriminatory, focusing on past mental health challenges, 15yrs ago, as if they were current.  Very little mention of physical health issues which I self manage, some of them due to psychiatric treatment, and the fact that I don't take any medication came over as a negative when it should be a positive.

I paid £20 for that letter.  Very annoying.  I had to raise a complaint about it with the Practice Manager.  Based on past experience of raising complaints in NHS Fife I am not confident of a positive outcome.  Mental health human rights abuse whistleblowers are not popular in Scotland.


Tweets from last night:

Monday, 11 February 2019

Sock knit relaxing at V&A Dundee πŸ‘

[written on Galaxy mobile when in V&A]

Just now in the bowels of the ship with an iced diet coke knitting 2nd Drifter Maryland cabled sock:


AD4E - A Disorder for Everyone - at Wolverhampton

"A Disorder for Everyone!" - Challenging the culture of psychiatric diagnosis and exploring non-pathologising alternatives in association with The University of Wolverhampton.

Contributors confirmed so far include Dr Lucy Johnstone, Johann Hari, Prof Peter Kinderman, Dr Akima Thomas, Sally-Ann, Dr Sue Cunliffe, Dr Sami Timimi, Dave Traxson, Mica Gray, Jo Watson & Nollaig McSweeney ..."

"Lucy Johnstone presents the current debates and controversies about psychiatric diagnosis. It is increasingly acknowledged, even within the mental health establishment, that categories like 'schizophrenia', 'bipolar disorder' and 'personality disorder' lack validity. The assumption that distress is best understood as disease can have very serious consequences for the individual, their identity, and their path to recovery. In the morning Lucy will present alternatives to diagnosis which can help people to make sense of experiences of distress, however extreme, and which are based on working together to explore personal meaning. In the afternoon Lucy will introduce participants to the Power Threat Meaning Framework."

Peter Kinderman: "... In June of this year, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Dainius PΕ«ras, argued that: “...a reductive neurobiological paradigm causes more harm than good, undermines the right to health, and must be abandoned…. There is a need of a shift in investments in mental health, from focusing on "chemical imbalances" to focusing on "power imbalances and inequalities.”
In my view, these are genuine auguries of a positive change, but it is worth reflecting that this movement bears few hallmarks of academic scientific or medical advancement, where academic arguments are won and changes ensue, and feels much more like a civil rights struggle, with citizens asserting their rights to humane care and the protection of their fundamental human rights.":


I received an Email about this event from Dave Traxson and reading through the information, the range of speakers, it sparked my interest, even considered trying to attend but it's too far away to travel in a day.  I liked the mention of a "civil rights struggle" by Prof Kinderman and protecting human rights, the recognition that these will come about from the grassroots, by "citizens" assertive behaviour, campaigning, activism, resistance.  Catalysts for change.

Friday, 8 February 2019

taking buses is a big part of my life just now

Living in Springfield Fife I take buses most days (free bus travel as a pensioner, now 67yrs young), Monday to Friday into Dundee, via Stagecoach 94 to Leuchars then 99, for swimming at the Olympia Dundee, leaving the house at 7.25am.  Depending on the weather I may visit libraries, museums, walk up hills (Law, Hilltown, Balgay), taking buses part of the way, there or back.  Or go to Broughty Ferry beach and Castle.  Go further afield on Citylink to Perth or even Aberdeen, once so far.  Last November I swam in Angus pools, at Arbroath and Forfar, getting there by bus.

Here are some photos this week from bus travel, selfies, views, knitting:

today x54 bus back from Dundee
today 33 bus stop Victoria Rd Dundee for Whitfield

today from 33 bus to Whitfield, at Fintry

today 33 bus back from Whitfield back down town
yesterday x26 bus back from Dundee

yesterday x26 bus back from Dundee
yesterday Dundee Seagate bus station

Wednesday x54 bus back from Dundee & photo below ...

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Sunday, 3 February 2019

donated Jeff Hawke Sci-Fi books by my Dad Willie Patterson to Dundee Libraries 30Jan19

On Wednesday past I donated copies of the Jeff Hawke books 'Overlord' and 'The Ambassadors' by my Dad Willie Patterson and Sydney Jordan, 2008 Titan Books editions, to Erin Farley, Dundee Libraries:

Overlord on Amazon
The Ambassadors on Amazon

Here is a blog post about my Dad, by John Freeman:
"Based in Lancaster, Northern England, John Freeman is a writer, editor and creative consultant and publisher of the comics and other media news site, begun in 1999, its focus initially devoted to British Comics creators, publishers and titles such as 2000AD and The Beano."


The Jeff Hawke Club website:

Jeff Hawke Wikipedia page:


In October 2017 I also donated copies of Jeff Hawke books to Fife Libaries, and they are situated in the Cupar branch, where I used to work as a Library Assistant 2005/6:

Eminent Monsters film by Stephen Bennett about Scottish-born Psychiatrist Ewen Cameron

Do No Harm (Eminent Monsters) at Glasgow Film Festival on 3 March 2019 at 4pm:

EMINENT MONSTERS - Trailer from Hopscotch Films on Vimeo.


'Glasgow Film Festival documentary to show horrors of Scottish psychiatrist' by Nadine McBay in The National:


"The shocking legacy of a Scottish psychiatrist is uncovered in a new documentary to be screened at the Glasgow Film Festival. 

In Eminent Monster, Scots director Stephen Bennett traces how techniques pioneered by Dr Ewen Cameron were used as part of the CIA’s controversial MK Ultra project and went on to be used against detainees in Northern Ireland in the 1970s and global “black sites” in the years following 9/11. 

Bennett’s film features testimonies by former Guantanamo Bay detainees, surviving members of the “hooded men” interned by the British Army and the Royal Ulster Constabulary in 1971 and interviews with the families of Cameron’s patients, who say the Glasgow University-educated medic subjected their relatives to “torture”. 

Referred to in the GFF brochure by its original title Do No Harm, “Eminent monster” was how Bridge of Allan-born Cameron was known to patients at the Allan Memorial Institute in Montreal. There, from 1957 to 1964, he was paid by the CIA to carry out experiments as part of their MK Ultra programme into mind-control techniques. Cold War paranoia was rife, stoked by reports of soldiers having returned from the Korean War praising communism. If the reds can “brainwash”, went the logic, we must learn how it’s done. 

Cameron was indeed eminent: during those years, he served as president of the Canadian Psychiatric Association, the American Psychopathological Association and the World Psychiatric Association. He was ambitious, too, with his eyes on a Nobel Prize. ..."

Friday, 1 February 2019

7 year anniversary of MH human rights abuse & becoming a complainer, advocate, whistleblower

blog post Thursday, 2 October 2014: my complaint to the ombudsman (SPSO) about Fife NHS Board has been upheld:

"On Monday 29 September 2014 I received a letter from the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman with a decision on my complaint about the treatment my son received from Fife NHS Board while he was an inpatient of Stratheden Hospital.  That my son was "treated unreasonably by psychiatric staff".  It has been upheld.

Quote from page 10 in the letter from the SPSO Complaints Reviewer:

"... I consider that it was inappropriate to transfer your son to the IPCU in his underwear and without shoes.  In addition, I do not consider that the observation or supervision of your son in the seclusion room was adequate or that there is evidence of a plan to ensure that your son had appropriate access to food, fluids and a toilet during his period of seclusion.  This is not acceptable.  In view of these special failings, I have upheld your complaint."

Although I am happy that my complaint about unreasonable treatment has been upheld I am not happy about the human rights issues and abuses that my son was subject to in February 2012 in Stratheden Hospital.  Or the attempts made to blame a mother for system failure.

I don't appreciate Fife Council Social Work Service investigating me, the whistleblower, and accusing me of "psychological harm" when my son at the time was being locked in a seclusion room, broken hand untreated, no toilet or water to drink, light switch outside, and being subject to human rights abuse.

I don't appreciate Fife Council Mental Health Officers questioning a psychiatrist and a CPN about my character when it was NHS Fife psychiatric staff who were treating my son unreasonably behind the closed doors of the IPCU/Ward 4 at Stratheden Hospital.

I don't appreciate the impotence of Scottish Government Mental Health Division senior civil servants who target health boards with unreasonable expectations, who manipulate service user leaders for their own ends and send bullying Emails to mothers and activists who are working voluntarily to influence positive change. 

Regardless of uncivil civil servants and undermining, unfair complaints processes I will continue to speak out with a critical voice when necessary and I will not be intimidated into silence."


link to Express article 5 October 2014

"Mr Muirhead ... insisted psychiatric wards are "doing more harm than good"'


My thoughts on the last 7 years?  I'm just glad to have survived the experience. There were times when I thought my number was up.  Being a complainer and whistleblower has been isolating, I've had to adapt to lone travelling and speaking out myself with no backup.  It has been costly, in terms of friendships, family, money and energy.  I'm 67 this year and would like to write and self publish books, to spend less time in buses, travelling to keep fit, walking in the city of Dundee to swimming pools, food shops and libraries, just like I did as a child and young person in Perth.  We are looking forward to flitting.  

Tweet from Springfield Rail Station this morning when waiting for bus 7.37am:

Photos from today in Dundee:

Greggs for breakfast roll before swim 8.30am
Wellgate Centre on way up Hilltown
bus to B&Q near Kingsway