Thursday, 27 February 2014

what use Mental Health Acts that have no patient protective power?

No use whatsoever.  To the mental patients who have been labelled with a mental disorder or lifelong mental illness, declared to be without capacity and forcibly treated.  To the mothers and unpaid carers picking up the pieces after traumatic dehumanising psychiatric treatment.

I want to see mental health acts that do what it says on the tin.  Safeguards that are safe.  Principles that are practised.  Implemented properly and monitored effectively.  Psychiatric staff that are accountable and psychiatric wards that are free from risk and threat of abuse.

I don't think it's too much to ask for.  As an unpaid carer on £59 a week I am fed up with hearing about fat cat wages paid to psychiatric high heid yins who then top up their pay packet with big pharma monies.  What's that about?  Power and greed, it seems to me.  Some folk never have enough.  

It's a matter of justice.  The MH Act is meant to be redressing the balance, taking the power back from an oppressive system, giving it to the mental patient and their carer.  Being declared "without capacity" does not mean that psychiatric staff can do what they like and not be accountable.  

It's not the 1970's, when voluntary meant detained and anything goes behind the closed doors of a psychiatric institution.  That was my experience in 1978, being forcibly injected with chlorpromazine after voluntarily going in to Hartwoodhill, Lanarkshire, expecting asylum after painful childbirth.  

I soon learnt the name of the game.  Do what you're told, tell them what they want to hear, get discharged and back on with your life.  The support of peers was crucial back then, a way to survive, us against them.  

The integration now of peer support into health board settings dilutes the patient power, together with the tendering of advocacy contracts.  Impotent mental health act safeguards compound the problem.

Therefore I contend that it is more risky and less safe for mental patients in psychiatric settings nowadays than it was in the 1970's.  We are in desperate need of an about turn.  It will require meaningful involvement of the real "experts by experience".  

Is anyone listening?




Wednesday, 26 February 2014

I prefer to be the organ grinder and not just the performing monkey

excerpt from an Email sent yesterday:

"A few years back in Fife I was brought into speak at a workshop as a "performing monkey" by a local mental health organisation.  I wasn't involved in the whole show, just doing my performance, talking about "lived experience".  

Unfortunately in Scotland's mental health world the professionals prefer performing monkeys, service users who will tell them what they want to hear or if saying anything at all critical that it may be accompanied by positive stuff also. 

At last year's crisis network conference I was involved in leading, speaking and presenting a workshop at the event.  No performing monkey in sight.  This was thanks to a clinical nurse manager who dared to have me involved in this way.  


Well, the outcome was to be expected.  I was targeted in the feedback, named and shamed, criticised in the workshop when I was facilitating it, by my co-worker a psychiatrist.  Then bullied in Emails from that point on, until the meeting we had the other week where the bullying continued until I was forced to leave the group.

That's what happens when the performing monkey becomes an organ grinder."



Tuesday, 25 February 2014

it helps to have a sense of the ridiculous in Scotland's mental health world

I got an Email this morning that, if I didn't have a sense of the ridiculous, I might be spitting peas by now.  It highlighted opportunities in Scotland's mental health world for learning about patient safety and human rights.  You've got to laugh.  And then it mentioned VOX's involvement.  Not very funny.

I say this because of what my son went through in Fife's Stratheden Hospital in February 2012, when he had his human rights abused, locked in a seclusion room with no toilet and other humiliating treatment, euphemistically described as "care".  And no laughing matter.

And then there's VOX who are meant to be the national service user led mental health organisation and who instead are another arm of the government, along with SRN and other "worthies" funded by the public purse but overseen by civil servants.  The VOX board chair is also employed by Healthcare Improvement Scotland, a quango and government octopus.  

Keeping it in the family.

Scotland has a history of grassroots activism and empowering communities and I know this because I worked in community development since 1980.  So there is no excuse for the mental health world being a puppet to government in terms of user involvement and survivor activism.  

There has to be a shake-up and a transformation for the sake of human rights and justice.  The protection of human rights and the expectation of patient safety in psychiatric settings should be a given not a postcode lottery.  

Nothing less will do for the people of Scotland. 


Monday, 24 February 2014

Meaningful Involvement, Psychiatric Survivor Activism and Human Rights Campaigning

Looking back over the last seven years or more of trying to get meaningfully involved in Scotland's mental health world, as an "expert by experience" and a carer of sons with bipolar disorder labels, it's been a whirlwind affair of swings, roundabouts, snakes and ladders.  At first it was about joining in with the emerging peer support (PS) developments through Scottish Recovery Network (SRN), after attending their 2005 conference in Glasgow ‘Celebrating and Developing Peer Support in Scotland’.

By late 2007 I had designed a draft unit descriptor on PS, together with a senior lecturer at a college near my home in Fife, for training people in peer support, and had given a copy to the SRN Director.  And then I trained in WRAP (wellness recovery action planning), becoming a Facilitator in June 2008 under the leadership of the Copeland Center's Stephen Pocklington at an Edinburgh course.  Following this I started delivering WRAP workshops, along with a co-facilitator, in different areas of Scotland, under my own steam, with no support from SRN.

I had twice tried to get a place on the Scottish peer support training courses in 2006 and early 2008, masterminded by Penumbra (who manage SRN), and was unsuccessful, while latterly setting up a voluntary organisation Peer Support Fife in Jan08, to promote the model through workshops and events.  By the summer of 2008 I found myself becoming something of a square peg in a round hole, being excluded for not conforming, particularly to do with SRN events.  Which was ironic, considering I'd shared my recovery story on their website in 2005, updated it in 2008, and this was the gateway through which I'd got involved in mental health work in the first place.

I'd always believed in recovery from mental illness/mental health issues since my first foray into and out of the psychiatric system in 1978, and practised it again in 1984 and 2002 when I was forced to submit, for a period, to taking psychiatric drugs.  The labels had no power over me so I resisted and recovered when the time was right, and didn't look back. Therefore it seemed fitting for me to be involved with SRN, considering my life experience of mental health recovery.  However I wasn't prepared to compromise or conform in order to be one of the gang.  I was 55 years old and had lived a life, and expected recognition for this.  It wasn't to be and I wasn't going to fall into line.  And so began my journey, by way of resistance, from peer support to activism and campaigning.

I suppose that the Scottish Recovery Network has always been an arm of the government although it had been developed and planned by people with lived experience.  I knew this because I'd seen the 2004 founding document about the proposed network, given to me by a Fife grassroots project which had been involved in the earlier stages.  It was inevitable that the recovery movement would be hijacked or taken over by the powers that be.  They will see it as a matter of keeping balance between the oppressors and the oppressed, psychiatry and the psychiatrised (patients, service users, survivors, carers).  Although I now believe that psychiatric survivors are the key component in restoring balance to a system that is out of kilter.

For as long as psychiatry has existed there have been psychiatric survivors.  People who didn't believe and escaped, who might have believed for a while then got out, or who stayed in the system, didn't believe but swallowed the drugs in defiance and played the system.  Others didn't survive.

I didn't plan on becoming a psychiatric survivor activist.  It was the human rights issues and abuses in psychiatric settings which propelled me into the role and now fits me like a skin.  It's a continuous irritation, the thought of human rights abuse going on behind the closed doors of psychiatric institutions.  As a young person I was aware of my mother resisting psychiatric treatment and then had to go through the same myself after childbirth, twice, being forcibly injected in the rear, leaving the hospital with numb hip muscles as a reminder.

At age 50 in 2002 I swallowed the pills under coercion, detained under the mental health act, leading to a cocktail of drugs, suicidal impulses and clinical depression.  I eventually got out from under, the only scar now showing is due to the 6 inch metal plate inserted in my leg.  Bone loss following maximum doses of venlafaxine, resulting in 3 fractures to the fibula when walking down stairs, after a job interview in Cupar (Fife) library in 2005 (was hired).  I got off lightly and don't walk with a stick.  The weight training and swimming in my 40's probably helped.

I decided in 2011 to become more meaningfully involved in national mental health groups from the survivor and carer perspective, and committed myself to travelling distances to have a voice at the table.  Different disciplines and settings, including a crisis and acute care network steering group where I was the only person not paid, an expert by experience.  Then at the end of 2011 my youngest son began to be in crisis and couldn't access any support, resulting in his having to go to the police for help.  By February 2012 my son was a detained psychiatric patient subject to dehumanising treatment and I was his advocate.  And at Christmas 2012 my middle son arrived back in Scotland in crisis, requiring psychiatric treatment, in a different health board area, and I had to advocate for him at clinical meetings, mental health tribunals and to ensure a smooth transition from hospital back into the community.

During these two years of advocacy, activism and human rights campaigning I kept up my involvement in the crisis network and other meetings, speaking out about issues and concerns.  I was invited to give a presentation at a conference last October in Stirling and did a toned-down talk based on my experiences of being a carer in two different health board areas, advocating for my sons.  This resulted in the "naming and shaming" of me in the conference feedback and workshop I facilitated.  I was singled out in both, the only person to be targeted.  I resisted on the day and because I wouldn't lie down and take it I was picked on by a psychiatrist.  

Of course it's all my fault, I'm to blame.  They're going to look for other service users and carers to be involved on the group.  Which is fine with me.  I don't accept the labels, "rude", "aggressive", "failure" or "schizoaffective disorder".  Sticks and stones may break my bones (or venlafaxine) but names will never hurt me"  They might be painful at the time, but only a spur to action and campaigning, is how I see it.

In conclusion, I have found involvement to be meaningless in Scotland' mental health world if a person is a psychiatric survivor activist and human rights campaigner.  The powers that be are fine with the recovery agenda if they are in charge but they are not keen on survivor action which pays no heed to labelling and stigma (naming and shaming).  I recovered by taking charge of my own mental health and going against the guidance of psychiatry.  I did it under their gaze and keep writing about it, as if rubbing their nose in it.  They won't be happy.  I'm fine about it.  Real life isn't always about happy endings.


why do (some) psychiatrists think and act like they are God?

A short reflective blog post with questions about psychiatrists who think and act like they are God.  (if they were mental patients they would be locked up for thinking like that)

  • why do psychiatrists talk about "saving" the lives of patients?  eg by giving them ECT, forced drug treatment.  (when I was forcibly drugged it didn't feel like I was being saved, more like I was going under)
  • is the phrase "without capacity" too readily used by psychiatrists in their God role?  (I've always thought it was more about control, keeping the peace, silencing the pain) 
  • do psychiatrists who are already on big money, £90K plus per year, believe it is their right to also take money from big pharma?  As in, they make the decisions about life and death so deserve to work hand-in-hand with the tool makers.  (psychiatric drugs = tools of choice)
  • why does the Scottish Government, workers and ministers, allow psychiatrists to act like gods?  They are paid much more than MSPs (chief executive of mental welfare commission is on a salary up to £160K while Alex Neil, cabinet secretary for health is on £100,748, see Scotsman article)
  • what about psychiatric labels/diagnoses, for which there is no proof, only subjective opinion based on observation of behaviours and a harking back to what's been written about other family members "in the notes"?  A perpetuation of ignorance, in my opinion, that has no scientific basis, despite the continued sacrificing of transgenic mice in their fruitless search for biomarkers for mental illness

I'm not impressed and don't believe that psychiatrists are God.  I've seen their feet of clay on many occasions.  I might have had to bow the knee but I didn't like it or appreciate it.  Whatsoever.




Sunday, 23 February 2014

remembering my mother's 3 weekly depixol injection - 25 years of having to pull her pants down

written in an Email this morning to a woman who's chief exec of a national mental health organisation in Scotland:

"I and many others, probably much more than 50%, don't like to be forced in psychiatric settings and don't believe it "saved" our lives.  We are not happy at having our agency taken away, our voices silenced and being labelled by psychiatry.  Naming and shaming.  "family history of"  Justifying their course of action, taking away our reputation, saying that we have "lifelong mental illness".  No we don't.  It's the drugs that don't work not the person that's "treatment resistant". 

I have never believed in the "mantra of mental illness".  So I have always taken charge of my own mental health, when on psych drugs, and made a complete recovery, against the guidance of psychiatrists, telling them I was doing/had done so.  Other folk tongue the drugs or stop taking them and don't tell, even if still getting the prescriptions.  That's the reality.  And that's why some folk get forcibly injected with psych drugs, even out in the "community".  It's all about control and power. 

My mother was on a 3wkly depixol injection until she died, aged 68 in 1998, after more than 25yrs of having to pull her pants down.  There was no need for it.  She didn't have mental illness, was an ordered person, a gentle woman, had a paid job, any mental health issues were way back in her life due to different stressors.  And psychiatry treated this by lifelong drugging and humiliation.  They gave her a schizophrenia label.  It sat in her notes for ever, indelibly.  I am not happy about it.


I am all about exposing psychiatry for what it really is.  A patriarchal system that treats everyone like women in their domination and subjugation.  There is also infantilisation, daddy knows best, where a "non-compliant" or naughty patient gets taught a lesson.  The use of the locked seclusion room with no toilet, in the dark.  "that'll teach them"  Well no it didn't "teach" my son and I anything except to expose the human rights abuse for what it was.  Now they are having to learn some lessons.  I hope.  Although it will take more than this to change a dehumanising culture."


Saturday, 22 February 2014

letter to VOX representatives speaking at Mental Health & Incapacity Conference 2014 in Fife

[Email sent by me, a Fife carer, activist and human rights campaigner, to VOX representatives who are speaking at the Mental Health & Incapacity Conference in St Andrews, Fife, which I had offered to speak at but was turned down]


"20 February 2014
Dear VOX Colleagues
I notice that you are speaking at the upcoming Fife Mental Health & Incapacity Conference.  Well done on this achievement, it's something I couldn't manage.  You are obviously honoured.
 
I do hope that in your speaking that you will remember those who have had their human rights abused in psychiatric settings and their voices silenced.  People like me and mine.  Who have been bullied and intimidated for expecting the human rights of people under the Scottish Mental Health Act would be protected.  (In Stratheden Hospital, Cupar, Fife)  For expecting reasonable treatment.  For expecting that carers would be treated with respect.  For expecting justice.
 
Even although I have been excluded from speaking at this event yet still I will be speaking on the topic of mental health and incapacity, from outside the event.  I will not be silenced and am not prepared to put up with psychiatric abuse, being in solidarity with the abused.  As you should be, if you are people of conscience.  
 
Regards, Chrys"


[No response as yet.]

moving on

It's time for moving on, is how I look at it.  In terms of meaningless involvement.  When push comes to shove.  Resistance becomes bullying.  

If you spend too much time with people who are used to coercion and control then I think there is the danger of becoming like them.  And I don't want to become like that. (nothing personal)

Being assertive isn't the same as being aggressive.  I know the difference and don't want to become passive/aggressive.  Where victimisation leads to bullying and an endless circle of name, shame and blame.

I have no shame and nothing to be ashamed of.  I want it to stay that way.


[pink elephant in the room]

Friday, 21 February 2014

£4.4 million for new IPCU unit at Stratheden Hospital

In today's Fife Herald, 21 February 2014:




My Email sent to NHS Fife senior staff in response to this news:

"My son and I have just read the news in our local paper, the Fife Herald, about the £4.4 million for new IPCU unit at Stratheden Hospital, which I've put in a blog post:

I note the statement by Mary Porter that says "The provision of hospital environments which offer privacy and maintain dignity is an essential element of good patient care." and "this new unit will allow us to deliver the highest quality care to these patients in a therapeutic environment, appropriate to their needs.".  And John Wilson's quote "The replacement of the present unit with purpose-built accommodation has been one of our top priorities".

Two years ago, in February 2012, my son experienced dehumanising and damaging psychiatric inpatient treatment in the Stratheden IPCU.  In the time since we have been picking up the pieces after his traumatic treatment while speaking out about the injustices.  It's not been easy.  For either of us.

I do hope that this proposed new unit will provide a therapeutic environment.  However, to improve the inpatient experience, ensuring dignity and proper care, will also depend on therapeutic practices by staff.  This should include robust monitoring and evaluation processes, to gather feedback from all patients and carers, as to their experiences of the patient pathway, from admission to discharge.  In my judgement.

I believe that it is only when you listen to the customers of the service that you will know if the care is of the highest quality.  I have learned, from what happened in Feb/Mar 2012 in Stratheden Hospital, to question if a service is truly person/patient-centred.  To test this by asking the patients and carers what their experiences were, to hear their stories.  That's what's important and what will make a real difference and bring about real improvements.  In my experience.

I look forward to hearing positive feedback from Stratheden patients and carers that will confirm services have improved, that the environment is therapeutic, in all areas (RMO, nursing, OT, psychology, physiotherapy etc) from admission through to discharge."


reflecting on the shootout at the OK Corral

Thinking on what led to the targeting and shootout at the meeting a week ago, it was the ganging up and takeover last year, following my invitation to speak out, that led to the showdown.  It sounds complicated but stick with it, there are lessons to be learned.

Some of the folks wanted to take a chance last year and meaningfully involve a survivor like me, not just in the administration but in the leading.  I'd been in the gang for over 2 years and it seemed like I had a place at the table, was an equal, and to some folk I was an equal.  But to others I was an old pretender.

On the day in question it seemed to go well although in the body of the kirk not everyone was happy.  I could see this from the podium during my speech.  However I expected my fellow gang members to step up, to be in solidarity.  It wasn't to be.

I've got to admit it.  They were feart.  When the hecklers started my compatriots turned tail and joined with the nays, ganging up on me.  But I wouldn't lie down and take it.  Resistance is what I'm used to.  So I resisted.  I was very annoyed and potshots were fired.  Low blows to which I retaliated with strength.

Meanwhile the high heid yin, the leader of the gang, had disappeared from the scene.  As usual.  His female counterpart, on much less dosh, was left to pick up the pieces.  What's new.  The niggling continued in Email engagement, between me and my opponent.  Obviously his pride had been dented and he was offended.

Yet I was the one who had been ganged up on, an auld mother and volunteering conscript.  It wasn't fair and I'm someone who will not back down if there is a perceived injustice.  It's a matter of principle.  I wouldn't have survived mental illness and psychiatric treatment if I was a quitter.

Cue action and the meeting at the OK Corral.  Conflict was inevitable.  I'd thrown down the gauntlet by writing a piece about the ganging up.  I was out for justice.  And so the shootout began, insults hurling back and forward, the rich folk taking sides and taking offence, getting wounded, retreats and advances.  A messy affair.  

The high heid yin, as usual, wasn't there to see it but got his oar in after the battle.  Huh.  I'm not impressed.  Reminds me of the mental welfare commission who do the same.  Wise after the event.  Huh.  Nothing safe about that whatsoever.  Very risky.

As for me, I'd do the same again and have no regrets.  You can't let the ******* grind you down as a professor of nursing used to say to me. 


Thursday, 20 February 2014

psychiatrists taking money from big pharma? a big No No

I've just been having an Email conversation with a consultant psychiatrist who thinks we are all equal.

Psychiatrists in Scotland get upwards of £90K/year and much more if a consultant or director or head of the Mental Welfare Commission (£160K).  Then why do any of them feel the need to take big pharma money on top of this, for being a "consultant" or whatever?  It's just greed and power, in my opinion.  

As an unpaid carer on £59/week (£3K/year), picking up the pieces after traumatic psychiatric treatment it makes my blood boil.  As a mother blamed for mental illness, as in "family history of", I think it is a disgrace.  

Shame on them.




no survivors allowed

The penny's dropped.  In Scotland survivors of mental illness and psychiatric treatment are not allowed at the table or in the meetings.  Psychiatry rules.  You have to do it their way.  Be a service user or someone who used to use services.  I get it.  But I'm not doing it.  So there.

I survived the mental illness label and the disabling psychiatric treatment.  If I'd listened to psychiatry I would either by getting ECT or brain surgery by now, or be dead by my own hand.  I couldn't have taken psychiatric drugs and survived.  That's the truth of it.

So I will continue to be a psychiatric survivor activist and a human rights campaigner.  And I won't be continuing with trying to have a seat at their table.  What's the point.  They would only bully and batter me until I gave in or gave way.  Which I won't be doing. 

The drugs don't work for me.  I don't like being forced, bullied or intimidated.  I will not accept domination.  I am a free agent.  


Wednesday, 19 February 2014

meaningless involvement

I woke up this morning thinking about Scotland's mental health world and my experiences over the last 7 years or more of trying to have an influence on psychiatric settings and community MH services.  The phrase "meaningless involvement" again came to mind as it has been doing more and more these days.  

The feeling that it's all just a sham, a tick-box, tokenistic exercise and pretense that people with "lived experience" have a place at the table, are respected as experts in their own field or have something valuable to say. 

I was used to being a community development worker and empowering people in different communities or settings, to be informed and to have a voice.  I didn't expect the mental health world to be any different.  But it is.  I've been forced to admit it.  I have no choice but to tell the truth.  Let the cat out of the bag.  Pull back the curtain.  Expose it.

When the government documents spoke of inclusion, peer support, recovery, person-centred services, shared decision making, respect for carers, I believed it.  And got involved in local and national groups to have a voice and influence.  It only took a few months into 2008 when I realised that not everything in the garden was rosy.  



[I liked this Lynn Anderson song when 18, danced to it, but it wasn't real life]

The weeds and thorns are everywhere, choking the real life out of vividness, creativeness, individuality, spirituality, uniqueness, collectivism and humanity.  We might be mad but we're not stupid.  Stop controlling us as if we were puppets.  The strings have been cut and we're doing it for ourselves.  Leave off.  Do us a favour. 


 
[I liked this Sandie Shaw song when 15, still do, but it wasn't real life]

Mental illness is a psychiatric construct.  Psychiatry is a patriarchal system.  Some of us don't accept the mental illness labels or that daddy knows best.  When you can accept this then we'll have "meaningful involvement".

Are you listening?  Have you got it yet?


Tuesday, 18 February 2014

the force of psychiatry has the desired outcome - for the powers that be

I was asked to give a talk and did so, toning it down, writing it first and getting it checked by the powers that be.  And so I delivered the talk as written but not everyone was happy.  I found this out later on when a takeover occurred, unexpectedly.

I should have seen it coming.  Silly me.  It might have been better if I'd lain down and let them walk all over me.  Took it on the chin.  Admitted I had failed.  Resisted the temptation to resist.  Let the psychiatrist have his way.  Then I might have avoided the attacks.  On the day and after.

But I don't regret it and would do it again.  Maybe in a different way but I'd still resist a takeover and the badmouthing.  Sticks and stones etc ...

When it came to writing a reflective report of my participation I decided to do it as professionally as possible, not being personal and not laying blame.  Only to find out that the other professionals had pointed the finger, named and shamed.

So I got my own back by writing something of my feelings in another report, taking some responsibility, but this again resulted in a face off and more badmouthing.  By the psychiatrist.  Who was put out because I had the temerity to speak out.  Then when I took a stand another person got the flack.

The end result has been to retreat, licking my wounds.  Let them have their way and good luck to them.  I don't want to be part of a group which is another arm of the government, and where targeting becomes the norm. 




what a bother it must be for psychiatrists to hear about human rights abuse in psychiatric settings

I got an Email today from a psychiatrist that named me twice, the gist of which said that my voice speaking out about human rights abuse in psychiatric settings was a nuisance, it took up too much "energy" at the meeting he led and that "Chrys has done her bit".

My involvement in the group was being dispensed with.  I was surplus to requirements.  They'd heard enough and wanted to get back to the usual business of hearing positive feedback and nice stories about how well the psychiatric staff had performed.  A tick box exercise.  It's what they are used to.  And prefer.  In Scotland's mental health world.

Ironically the psychiatrist had sent the Email to me by mistake, so it appears, and it should have gone to someone else.  I've had this happen before.  And I've done it myself which taught me a lesson, to be very careful with any Emails going out.

Och well, he'll learn.

I'm really not a happy bunny at present.  I sense that I have been used and my trust abused.  It's very disappointing.  I'll likely get over it.  Eventually. 




Sunday, 16 February 2014

I wonder what the Scottish ECT Accreditation Network (SEAN) is up to?

It's been a while since I perused the Scottish ECT Accreditation Network (SEAN) website so I've just had a quick look through to see what's going down, in terms of involuntary shock treatment, the user reference group and what the statistics might be saying.  

photo from University of Michigan website
Although the latter doesn't really tell us anything about what the people who get ECT feel like.  There has been no service user controlled/led ECT research undertaken in Scotland.  And the SEAN figures are based on assessments done by the treating doctors.  It is not any sort of independent, controlled assessment of the usefulness of this treatment.

The SEAN 2013 annual report summary says that in 2012 there were 360 patients getting ECT, most of them with a depression diagnosis, 61% of these found anti-depressants to be of no use (like me) and 32% got it without consenting to it.  Which means involuntary or against their will.

Of the people who agreed to have it (and some may have been persuaded, as in if you don't take the ECT treatment then you'll have to stay longer in hospital, as I heard an older female patient about my age say in an acute ward last year) 43% didn't show a definite improvement.  Which is nearly half of the folk getting it.  Nearly a third got headaches.  Five had critical incidents

I'm not seeing anything in the summary about ratios of women to men getting ECT so will check out the full report.   Ah yes, now I see it, 65% women to 35% men getting it.  As usual it says that this equates to the ratios of women to men being treated for depressive illness.  (you can see why men don't want to see their GP if they are in a low mood).  And the mean age is 58 for both sexes. 

Checking out the SEAN reference group page on the website, service user and carer section, and it is blank.  Obviously nothing to report there then. 

More anon ....


what happened when the King of ETC (et cetera ...) visited the Land of Make Believe

[Once upon a time there was a psychiatric establishment called 'The Land of Make Believe'.  Where some people wear uniforms (I'll call them the Uniform) and the others don't (I'll call them the Others) - see previous story on Notes]

The Uniform and the Others in the Land of Make Believe were eagerly awaiting the arrival of the King of ETC (et cetera ...).  Each of them thought that the great King was coming on their behalf.  

The Uniform were sure He was coming to knock some sense into the Others while the Others believed that the King was on their side, one of them and would set them free.  I wonder who was right?  I think the truth of the matter lay somewhere inbetween. according to the King's way of thinking. 

The great King, who had coffers of gold and lived far away in an ivory tower, was going to help the Uniform and He was also going to help the Others.  He believed this absolutely, in his heart of hearts, and had devoted his life to proving it.  (although it hadn't yet been proved in the Real World).

Eventually the great day arrived and the King was approaching.  Fanfares of trumpets and cartwheeling clowns had been arranged to welcome His Majesty.  The Uniform were excited.  The Others were happier than usual, smoking helped.  

The pills and potions, administered by the Uniform on order of the great Wizard or He Who Must Be Obeyed, kept the Others under control.  Or so the Uniform thought.

The King had brought his ETC machine with him.  A fancy contraption with bells and whistles which seemed to be just what the doctor ordered.  Some of the Others began to have doubts as to the wisdom of putting their trust in the King's ETC contraption. 

In particular the Others who had learned to avoid the pills and potions by magic tricks and sleight of hand.  They recalled the stories from their Real World existence about the Emperor's New Clothes and the Wizard of Oz.  Nakedness and curtains came to mind.  Doubt crept in and began to take hold of the Others.

I wonder what happened next?