Of course the policy context is developing and evolving in the UK but the UK Govt's plans look "clearer" and set to create a new system of MH service delivery "Third Sectorised" powered up by government grants and constituted as "non profit" making bodies (like UK Public Housing Associations) but allowed to make large social "surpluses" .
Yet Userwatch would argue this is also warped by a number of factors and one of them is the quietly self appointing corporate ambitions of the main MH charities like Mind and Rethink , Mental Health Foundation and the hub organisation they honey around too, namely the Sainsbury's Centre for Mental Health .
UserWatch reported earlier this year that there had been a "more talking therapies petition" . Shelia Haugh (person centre therapist in the UK ) had set it up and it achieved 10000 petitioners by March 2007 on the Prime Ministers own website.
Prior to that, it was clear the Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) approach (later added to by the Computerised version : CCBT ) was the main thrust the MH charities were supporting. The odd noise was made about more MH Patient (therapy) Choice by the MH charities but the language in the main used, was balanced to favour the Govt's "Top Down" CBT thrust. Or was it the Govt's thrust solely ?
In fact whilst the push for CBT came ostensibly from Lord Layard (London School Of Economics) - its been clear to the UK MH social class and "Charitocracy-watchers" that in and around London the top MH org. power-networking may be partly hidden, but its social and political effects are to be observed ... Lord Layard started the CBT ball rolling in the UK (2005) with an idealised and simplistic economic analysis that treated MH patients like predictable sub groups which could have their cogs put right and got back into charge over their emotional nuts. At Sainsbury Centre For Mental Health (SCMH) he gave the inaugural speech for CBT benefits ..
Now the MH charities have seen the public pushing for more therapy choice in the shape of Shelia's Haugh's March 2007 petition and the public debate pushes at the "Top Down" Dept Of Work (DWP) and Dept of Health's (DOH) constraints that relegates Patient Choice for State "we know best" and selectively chosen "Evidence based therapies"....
Soon after the Shelia Haugh's petition, in comes the Charitocracy realising they need to alter their Chario-political stance ... Several of them via SCMH have set up a "We need to talk petition" now .
Its not like the Prime Ministers e-petition site though where people can be seen openly for themselves and actually named . Its hidden and so are the numbers. Its clearly been thought out that way ..
Openess for the effectiveness of what these MH charities are doing for "public benefit" is a real problem and the armoury for transparency is out of clarity-arrows and sandgbagged by the useless but "safe" practice of the UK Chariity Commission - apart from annual reports and very little else there is not much to see and no Freedom Of Information rights on charities . Yet big slices of public money are involved . Rethink's Paul Jenkins (a career civil servant of 20 years from the Dept of Health) has with Mental Health Foundation and MIND gained £18 million to fight MH discrimination it seems a laudable cause and yet Rethink failed (See BBC Report) to gain public sympathy with their botched up Churchill-in-a-staitjacket attempt to make the public think positively about MH discrimination .. Some MH users cannot see this "discrimination by the public" in the main although it does anecdotally exist but they can see discrimination and disempowerment maintained collusively by the Govt and networked cake eaters of very creamy grants ....
Rethink, and Mental Health Media another MH charity also failed alongside the Community Channel to secure longevity for the so called "anti stigma" Mad For Arts project in 2005 which was criticised by MH Users for its discriminatory approach of having them choose "public Arts for Prizes" whilst their own MH User arts took second class citizen place in website studios which were out of the way and not the main business of the media run website. The project cost was 424 K and the VAT is still being enquired about ..
Is the modern MH patient/Users in charge of their recovery fate in the UK ? NO ... It is as Top Down as it ever was but more mystified now that SCMH co-sponsored a User-cadreist approach and the new managers of that little costly supermarket were the staff (many university educated middle class MH Users) of the National Institute For Mental Health Education in England NIMHE . SCMH helped to establish NIMHE .. It assumed perhaps, it needed supermarket managers as opposed to consumers needing appropriate goods ..
Userwatch learned this year that by 2008 this mishapen NIMHE supermarket for MH User-knowledge will have cost over 100 million pounds .. We doubt it was ever necessary and the money could have been used to create local therapy solutions as well as helped Users Online to create genuine networks of informed accountablity seekers and consumers. Heaven forbid, that might enhance democracy ......
Is this all bad blood by us at UserWatch No ... The current Govt has chosen in 2007 a few more small pilots (11) for "talking therapies" and only put 2.2 million into it .. Likewise even after the Prof , Lord layard in 2005 had pushed for some CBT it was rolled out only on a pilot basis for 3 + million .. NIMHE however has been piling large costs up since 2002 . The two CBT sites at Doncaster and Newham are to have their results reviewed by Sheffield University and the London School of Economics will review matters in the Autumn Userwatch has learned ..
The pressure still exists for Users to shape MH services but in fact MH services are largely dominated by at best three types of baked bean on the shelf and a lot of "know it all" proffessionalised bullshit harping on about selectively chosen and politically work-driven "evidence based therapies" ... Meanwhile the middle class that can afford it go and buy their own services ....A few Users do too on a piecemeal basis - to survive the illness the non-enabling-system itself provokes
Another paradox enters too in the UK .. "Direct Payments" (DP) supposedly the liberator of MH patients and enabler of MH patient choice. DP's are cash payments that were to be made "in lieu" of services by anyone that wanted that and that access was finally backed by solid guidance from the DOH in 2003 . Has the numbers spiraled of longer term MH patients trying to use this payment method for "socially inclusive" and continuing social care ?
NO ... The NO is so big it has embarrassed Govt and created criticism by Social Care Services own inspectorate in two documents we will try and later highlight . The problem in the UK is MH Health and MH Social Care were split artificially by previous Governments and now there's an advantage to keeping it so from the more cynical MH Users point of view .. The result is MH users without ability to become more "socially included" by intelligent use of Direct Payments even where the Social Care and Health systems have joined up in a "section 31" integrated services contract ..
To make sure we get a bit of final satire in here : We would like to declare : "Joseph this is Heller-ish" ... Without some Uk gallows humour we'd be deader sooner ..