Monday, January 28, 2008

Mental Health Service Users Pet Rabbit Badly Affected By NHS Servicelessness In Birmingham UK


A Service User in Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust areas claims their pet rabbit was badly affected by being included in a loop-the-loop of meetings about something or other which meant fuck all anyway ....The Service User's pet rabbit has developed ZERO-PHOBIA which some psychiatrists claim is caused by unrealistic high expectations that mental health services will be humane and empathic and patient led ..Pets obviously pick this up .

Pet inclusion was introduced by the Birmingham And Solihull Mental Health Trust a few years ago which already has plenty of sheep attending meetings ...

ZEROPHOBIA has also developed more widely in some day centres and newly developed social inclusion services and Service Users have put their horrified faces to good use by mass posing for likenesses of Edward Munch's "The Scream" . This however is not helping the pet rabbit sketched above by one of our reporters, to prove there is an "evidence base" for our report...

The Service User who owns the rabbit though claimed that there are advantages to a ZEROPHOBIC rabbit in so far that life is so horrifying and unreal for it in pet inclusivity that it does not need an NHS hutch or burrow - it simply disappears into itself .......

Sometimes the rabbit dies too.

Linking Story Below :


11:40 - 02 February 2008

An inquest into the death of a mental health patient who died after walking out of a controversial Exeter psychiatric ward is set to start on Monday, nearly four years after he died.

Daniel Heard's body was found in a field near Cullompton, five days after he went missing from the Cedars Unit - part of Wonford House Hospital - in February, 2004.

Mr Heard, 26, from Crediton, had been sectioned under mental health laws and had been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic.

Following his disappearance, Tiverton and Honiton MP Angela Browning called for a full inquiry into the events that led to his death.

An independent investigation carried out by the Cornwall Partnership Trust in 2005 made strong criticisms of the support given to Mr Heard by Devon Partnership Trust and supporting organisations in the months before his death. Jenni Thomson, a non-executive director of Cornwall Partnership Trust who chaired the inquiry, said: "The panel has come to the conclusion the death of Daniel Heard was probably preventable if the correct actions had been taken by the Devon Partnership Trust and/or Devon & Cornwall police.

"However, we accept that within mental health care there are no absolutes."

Daniel's mum, Linda Kelly, questioned how her son, who was on a special regime that meant he should have been checked by staff every 15 minutes, had been able to leave the unit unaccompanied.

Talking of her son after he died, Mrs Kelly said: "He was a very gentle person and had a great sense of humour. He was very friendly and acquainted with lots and lots of people. He said wonderful things to me sometimes - he said things that were very touching."

Mrs Kelly added: "Daniel was not given the opportunities he deserved in a system that needs to be looked at.

"No individual should be blamed; it is the system that should be looked at."

Mr Heard was the fifth patient in two years to die after going missing from the unit.

In 2002, three patients walked out after forming a suicide pact and plunged to their deaths from cliffs near Sidmouth. In the aftermath of their deaths a security review at the Cedars Unit made 19 recommendations.

It said a minimum of four staff should be on the ward throughout the early and late shifts and recommended the external security camera be upgraded and observation windows be put in bedroom doors.

But in August 2003, a patient was found hanging in the hospital grounds eight days after going missing.

The inquest will take place at County Hall, Exeter, and is expected to last three weeks.

Friday, January 18, 2008

NHS Toilet Protests And Leaves Hospital Over Wrong Diet Claims It Needs Bognitive Behavioural Therapy Treatment Now

NHS Toilet Leaves Hospital x

Mr T. Oilet gave testimony to Birmingham And Solihull Mental Health Trust UserWatch that he had enough of having the wrong things shoved down his ceramic gullet...

"The heavy quality of the paper is just too much " Said Mr T. Oilet ...

" I get bunged up "

"And I start reading what's left over instead of going for a full flush "

"The result is very messy even for me " ......"I may need Bognitive Behaviour Therapy now"........

Birmingham And Solihull Mental Health Trust were not available for comment but Kakatoo - the filthy minded UserWatch reporter swears the other BSMHT hospital toilets have been busy of late pulping away in BSMHT's attempt to eco-recycle materials ...

Of course in a Runcorn NHS hospital shithole archives also exist

"PRIVATE, confidential information about a psychiatric patient has been found in a visitor's toilet at the Brooker Centre, beside Halton Hospital.

Two open brown envelopes contained a man's name, NHS number, blood test results and personal medical details.

"I was shocked," said the Runcorn woman who found the information on Monday afternoon, in the female visitor's toilet between the Brooker reception and the Pine Day Unit.

"This poor person has no idea their details were just randomly left in a toilet. They could have been found by someone who knows him.

"One letter had information on him recently overdosing on medication. I think it is quite shocking that such private information could be carried haphazardly into a toilet. "

And we know DWP personal benefit data and MOD stuff too is being thrown around by dusbins and spat out by computers ....

4000 PCT Records Go Missing BBC 18th Jan 2008

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Mental Health : Is The Dept Of Health Suffering From a Flight or Fight Mechanism By Employing CBT?

The CBT ID Jan 2008 (x)


Some Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) Watchers in the UK think that the Dept Of Health (DOH) has employed a generalised flight and fight mechanism in its panic to satisfy the political masters for a cheapish mental health therapy result in the shape of CBT. The underlying hope appears to be it will turnaround mild or moderately depressed people back into workers which is economically good. Debate has been joined by MENTAL NURSE , on Janet Lows Speech and posters on Mandy's Lifeboat a mental health UK blog on these patient strandy matters

Computerised Cognitive Behaviour Therapy has been recommended by NICE and eagerly pushed by the National Institute For Mental Health Education (NIMHE UK).

NIMHE/CSIP is the morphed organisation of the "Experts by Experience" ex-Service-Users and Users that were given that label at NIMHE. The paradox of the NIMHE/CSIP CBT and CCBT push though is they started to do internal media semantic gymnastics with the word "CHOICES"as though it could satisfy a patient choice remit in mental health

Choices (x)

But who were the "Experts By Experience"?

Service Users we know (and there are many) left NIMHE and the gathering of the hopeful bands of Service Users who joined in with it, because it became taken over by D.O.H. aims and it became civil servantised with many Users who were University types. A paid elite . This became the antithesis of services that were more fully User-democratised...In fact the antithesis of a developing validation and broader evolutionary meaning of "Experts By Experience".....

We take the position that only through more "Patient Choices" and a economically backed culture of that, could the base of "Experts By Experience" be radically widened.. Otherwise the result was cherry picking the stronger Users and bureaucratising them, which is what happened, and in some cases we have heard about, using them against the interests of a more radical but an avoided agenda of : Patient Choice in Mental Health.

System delivery mechanisms like CBT
were part planned out by figures at the top of NIMHE/CSIP who were also anxious to appear that their new career roles too were justifiable.

So with all the manipulated "anti stigma" pushes mainly to get people back to work with CBT thrown in now we find we are still in a politically diverted consciousness away from "Patient Choice".

It is like a soviet culture where locality supply sides and User- choices are not shaped by Users but a mass of thematically centralised bureaucracy made to look like local power.

CBT we have said in other posts was pushed primarily by Rethink (the Charity) some years ago. Our interpretation was from that survey that some schitzophrenics felt they could be helped by employing thought mechanisms and cognitive thought exercises to prevent the worst of some of their cycles of feelings and thought distortions over-reinforcing each other ..Fair enough ....We all use whatever we can to get by...Encouraging reflectivity and some tactical blocking of destructive though-feeling cycles can buy time. That is to say before the deeper limbic areas of feelings attached into perhaps trauma and the need for it to be recognised and integrated better, re-kick in....

A high percentage of schitzophrenics and psychotics have deeper damaged affect within them often associated with child abuses and toxic care patterns ..We ain't quoting here - we have seen it and heard it from them over years ...

Even mild to moderate depression (some of the target group for CBT) is a set of label-terms which deal with people like "masses" whereas they are anything but masses but will they ever get a range of patient led choices to help them find and recover themselves ...?

We end on a survivalistically spiky note of health-anoia about the D.O.H. CBT Programme

Watch ID ! .....IDS out to get you !


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Mental Health Janet Low's MA Phd Speech On CBT Matters In UK

A Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Evidence Based Practice debate got sparked off on Mandy's Lifeboat when part of the UserWatch team, PatientGuard, posted a speech from :

Janet Low a Psychotherapist on YouTube over on that ally site.

We note the owner (or admin) of MENTAL NURSE joined in after listening to Janet Low's thought provoking speech on the health UK politics and economics of the (in our words) strangely single choice (so far) CBT roll-out in mental health services across the UK ..

The owner of the MENTAL NURSE site though we think is very likely to be an NHS worker and partisan, so that is factor (public versus private ? ) we think should also be taken into account .

At UserWatch we care only about patients getting the best care and choices and that we feel should be based on patients having economic power to portabilise their recovery and management packages away from the NHS if necessary .....Ofcourse a mental health Patient-Choice culture has never really been allowed its "gonads" in the State dominated UK - but there are plenty of NHS spirit gulag practices still around....

Here's how the debate is going over on the Lifeboat though and MENTAL NURSE would clearly like to take it to their site too ...Any takers in the User-community ? See debate below :

Blogger Zarathustra said...

Wow, I think I managed to disagree with just about every word of Janet Low's speech there!

First off, she completely misrepresents evidence-based practice as being purely based on the hard sciences with no place for human values, but that's not true at all. EBP includes the use of research methods like ethnography, case studies or focus groups that do allow room for individual expression. EBP isn't about excluding human experience. It's simply about ensuring that before a clinician does something to a patient, there's some degree of evidence that it's liable to work.

I've seen a few critiques of CBT floating around the internet, and one thing I've noticed is that it nearly always seems to come from psychoanalysts, so it didn't surprise me when I googled Janet Low's name and it turns out she's a psychoanalyst too. Whenever I read any of these critiques, the subtext always seems to be, "Why are the government spending money on CBT when they should be spending money on psychoanalysis?"

I'll probably sound like a massively cynical old bugger by saying this, but my own opinion is that the reason psychoanalysts hurl such vitriol at Evidence-Based Practice is because there's very poor evidence that their hugely expensive remedy is likely to do any good, and there's even some evidence that it could do some harm to the client.

Janet Low's also got a bloody cheek for accusing the pro-CBT crowd of bringing money and economics into it, when psychoanalysis has nearly always been a luxury for the rich who have the time and money to spend 3 or 4 sessions a week in analysis for several years.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that CBT can't be criticised. I'm just saying that I'm not inclined to hear it from psychoanalysts.

Wow, I really went off on one there. I need to learn to relax more. Maybe I should get some CBT/psychoanalysis*.

*delete as appropriate.

1/13/2008 12:54 PM

Blogger mandy lifeboats appeal said...

I am sceptical about 'experts' in their field proclaiming to be experts about other people and their experiences. Okay, so they will have their learning and practises and views on what other people's experiences are but it is always better to hear things from the person who has received the service.

Would it be unfair of me to say that I think that a survival game is being well as power games? I think maybe it would...but
I am sceptical about alot of what is going on in MH fields.

Where are these evidence bases that are being spoken about? Can I and others easily access them?

and I don't wish to poo poo any type of talking therapy...I just want to see some evidence that they help. Which may prove to be another red herring as organisations tamper with statistics to suit their purposes.

Bewildered of Bedfordshire

1/13/2008 2:59 PM

Blogger PatientGuard said...

Zarathustra I think the problem is in Britain is a lack of Patient Choice of treatments being driven by patients having their own budgets. People like yourself can argue about approaches and their various values and applicability etc and even play within the field of what you call evidence but this does not touch the point about the patient culture getting out of the position where "experts" of any variety choose for them ...

I am a User and I dont like any approach that tells me or others it knows best when my experience over 30 years has watched the professionals slowly kill people off including some family and then more currently suggest (in the UK) that CBT thought controlling therapy is the way for logical processes of thinking to domimate circles of bad feelings that might be causing distress...

Integrating feelings that are distressing or self defeating can lead to mourning and resolution if helped withing the bounds of feeling the feelings themselves and working with them to get to a point where they can be released properly ..The other side of this though is many Users are harmed again and again by choiceless nothingness of the current UK services and CBT is a one sided Top Down absence of choice so far so lets open up the field eh ?

CBT just a partial mechanism of some worth but extremely bad and superficial when applied to serious emotional trauma involving damage to feelings and damages to consciousness itself so that consciousness and even behaviour is warped by pain and past trauma or relational damages.. I have lived and been amongst psychotics and many others and most of them have some warping family lives or horrendous care rearing patterns full of contradiction and some powerful child abuse episodes...

Shefield University EBP Views

1/13/2008 4:31 PM

Blogger Zarathustra said...

Hi Mandy

Would it be unfair of me to say that I think that a survival game is being well as power games?

Oh, absolutely. There's definitely partisanship between different schools of therapy.

Where are these evidence bases that are being spoken about? Can I and others easily access them?

The best place to start is by using the Google Scholar search engine at - unfortunately you'll probably only be able to read the abstracts of research papers rather the full texts, but it should be able to give you some gist of what those papers are concluding. If you're enrolled on a university course, you should be able to acquire an Athens username and password that will enable you to read the papers in full.

Hi PatientGuard

I certainly agree with you that patients require access to a range of approaches rather than just one.

In my view, any type of psychiatric intervention (humanistic, cognitive-behavioural, pharmacological, psychosocial, psychodynamic etc) should be regarded as one of the various tools in a toolbox, and it's the role of a skilled clinician to work out - preferably collaboratively with the patient/client - which tool or (more likely) combination of tools will suit this particular client. Every client is different and what helps one will not necessarily help the other.

I'm not entirely pro-CBT and anti-psychoanalysis. I do tend to mostly use a combination of humanistic, CBT and psychosocial approaches, but I do also find certain psychoanalytic concepts - particularly attachment theory - to be clinically useful. However, I think it's rather telling that Janet Low chose to devote almost the entirety of that lecture to trashing CBT rather than making a coherent case for psychoanalysis.

1/13/2008 5:24 PM

Blogger mandy lifeboats appeal said...

Dear Zarathustra

As someone diagnosed with Bipolar...a label that sort of fits some of the symptoms I have...and having had different psychological therapies (or whatever the correct term for them is) in the past...none of which really helped me alter anything..or feel better. in the long term - am wondering how effective any of them are.

One could argue that they were the wrong therapies or that my illness (personal make up etc) has not and will not respond to talking therapies. Sounds rather defeatest but being in the thick of some kind episode right now...I feel that I may not even able to get to counselling this week, let alone deal with anything that I take to that session and get some comfort, help whatever from it.

I guess it depends where a person is at, at any given time.

And maybe the structure of talking therapies (the routine and demands of it) are too much for me to fit within.

I am a very errratic person. So some days I can handle things, others getting out of bed is the achievement...

Why am I saying this?...because at times like this...I sense that there isn't anything that can help me except survival instinct and I hope that will sustain me through...particularly when I get impulses to do dangerous things to myself or I feel so worthless it would seem a relief to me and my loved ones if I was out of it.

Sorry to be so negative. I usually am a fighter and seeker of things that do help.

Today, I think it is all debates that are superseded (scuse spelling) by the reality of being in shite and having to try and wade on into the next five minutes..and so on.

But whatever my states..the debates should continue and hopefully they lead to understanding..information sharing and a bit of hope to those suffering.


1/13/2008 5:54 PM

Blogger Zarathustra said...

Hi Mandy

Sorry to hear that talking therapies don't seem to have helped you. Though that may not be entirely surprising given that your diagnosis is bipolar disorder.

I'm not saying that talking therapies can't necessarily be of use in bipolar disorder - they can help with certain things like developing coping strategies, avoiding stress, recognising relapse signatures and so on. However, with bipolar disorder the main focus of treatment is always going to be the medication.

As I'm sure you're more than aware, the meds are something of a blunt instrument. They work haphazardly, and often with unpleasant side-effects. Even so, it's hard to imagine any successful intervention for bipolar that doesn't rely heavily on medication. The idea of using a talking therapy to get someone out of a cycling mood disorder strikes me as - to paraphrase Jonathan Swift - an attempt to reason someone out of something they were never reasoned into in the first place.

1/13/2008 7:48 PM

Blogger mandy lifeboats appeal said...

Thanks for the posting, Zarathustra...Can I call you Z because I am having to double check my spelling and even then getting it wrong?

I think I agree with you in my situation. I wouldn't dream of speaking on behalf of anyone else with Bipolar diagnosis. Cos individuals, and their circumstances, are as big a part of the person as the illness...if not bigger. Hard one to judge that.

I always go into counselling on a bit of a high. The relief of thinking something positive could happen. And then I get this anxty thing...where I acknowledge that I am unstable and therefore seeking some kind of answer (more something construcitve) to that seems like climbing Everest without a rope.

Also, I would say, people with MH issues with family histories of MH issues (and then other tragedies that have impacted on their lives) are going to need more than a bit of a chat, with some positive reinforcement, to make things easier to maintain, thereafter.

I do think with Bipolar....the severe end of that spectum...the emphasis from services is about medication. I don't diss it, when it works, and I hear others saying Lithium saved their lives or the meds they are now on make things much better. I get all jealous then because I can't tolerate most medications. Be they shrinky or for other physical ailments. But I am glad when I hear about people who have found meds that really help. It is always nice to hear good news stories.

I guess my consultant thought he'd let me try more counselling because he thinks I need somethign positive to cling on to. And when in assertive mode, I can be pretty persuasive. Maybe that is a bipolar trait...or maybe just my bolshy side coming out.

I understand that when most things have been tried, there are some professionals who will offer something in the absence of anything else that is of use (or services that once helped that have now disappeared). For that I thank them. But I feel more so that what is needed is better on going support. And that costs money and who gives a shit about a bipolar who isn't able to sustain work with any level of consistency?

Not deliberately playing victim.But trying to seek something real that makes sense and won't make me iller.

Not sure about other bipolars but I spend most of my time evaluating and re-evualting things to see what I can improve or how better to maintain what I have.

Right now, I guess the best thing would be to accept where I am...and seek little comforts that help ease me through the day.

Chocolate is an ever faithfull friend. lols

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.


1/13/2008 8:46 PM

Blogger Zarathustra said...

Yup. Chocolate is good. :)

I've done some more critiquing of Janet Low's audio lecture over on Mental Nurse.


1/13/2008 9:09 PM

Blogger PatientGuard said...

I am not sure Janet Low was knocking the nature of evidence in itself for instance, or even CBT completely. She clearly concerned about a lack of depth though . I listened to her speech again and she was trying to get beneath the politics and top notch crowd like Layard, that had Top Down arranged CBT as the roll out that was economically , politically and managerially suitable in the current Top Down new labour work driven climate too where the NHS establishment "knows best" and frankly hijacks Users Voices with DWP stripes on its arms

The worst part about where your argument leads you cannot quantify whether or not patient choice might be cheaper if we allowed it in this country ..

Yet I recall in the 1990's there was a case (known to me) of someone getting a therapy supply privately using an extra contractual referral mechanism via the GP fundholder to exercise "Choice" and the costs were less than half of what a local Trust could supply . The figures were obtained for 3 costed hours of group therapy from a local Trust and 3 hours privately and there was astonishing difference of something like £180 (for the NHS 3 hours) and the equivalent of £45 (3 hours for a quality service privately)

The present patch em up and get em back to work CBT philsophy is prevalent in Britain and its frankly seen as partly anti-patient in some parts of the user-community because already CBT (cases known to me and others ) has been misapplied and though I welcome a more eclectic understanding I really wonder why those who claim to be therapists in the NHS dont have some therapy themselves (I dont know many that do) and thus become enabled to more acutely see the contrary institutional even managerially neurotic ways that patients become invalidated and socially re-erased by the NHS's so called help ...


1/13/2008 9:36 PM


Mental Nurse as we say is now trying to get the debate over onto her blog ....

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Mental Heath : Denis Postle And Anxieties Over State Regulation Of Psychological Therapies

Denis Postle is practitioner of therapy in the UK . We at UserWatch think he is saying some important things about State Control and regulation of mental health "talking" therapies..

From a Service User's View this is a difficult one because User's report crap therapy experiences in both State and private domains and a complaint process for either domain would seem to logical but as Denis intimates its also a possible lever for wider State control ... And god help any Users that even try to use State complaints processes, they are violating in themselves from all the Users we hear from

What do we see underlying Denis's Video and anxieties ... We see an authentic guy here, but we can add this : The Patient is not the choice- driver of mental health recovery or management of talking therapies in the UK and so great is the impoverishment of that autonomy and form of state enablement which might have been based on some equality of power and trust, that there is not enough culture of User-experience to depend upon as a brake against the State from taking over this "internal" province.. The State have moved in with monopolistic supply side economics ..

The State experiment therefore has been unleashed and the CBT push is underway without the mediating factor of a truer culture of "Patient Choice" ....This factor plus the insistence as CBT as a form of "get em back to work" lever seems to us to be really unhealthy and technocratically alien to working with damaged (and severely damaged) human feelings and consciousness.

We at UserWatch approach the subject from the validation of "feelings" and how they must become integrated and inhabited by each User uniquely... The sadness of CBT and the way it will be practiced sometimes is it will violate the internal feeling world of some patients. It will create in some, a short term "support effect" but later the primal forces of difficult and damaged areas associated with relational development and feelings about that will re-assert in a maddening cycle ..

It will say thought and thinking in certain ways must supervene and regulate feelings .. However feelings are primal and are greater forces than neo-cortical controls they are better integrated by working with and actually feeling to their damaged origins. Its a process where the clothes of grief become adopted and matured if the feelings are seriously painful but are held with care ... Crying is not the enemy, not dealing with human pain is ... The State is set partly on a cycle of more therapy inadequacy..

Meanwhile in Birmingham "therapy" that is any good (emotional helpful and resolving) is really in short supply and Users still report getting nothing and even being invalidated by psychologists as being able to benefit from it .....

Links :


Resources from ipnosis

David Crepaz Keay

Janet Low On CBT & Evidence Based Practice

Medication still more easily given rather than talking therapy



Thursday, January 10, 2008

Mental Health Service User's Voice Project -The Woodview Case 55 Thousand Spent Where Did It Go ?

Woodview Project 2008 10th Jan (x)

[LATE NOTE BY USERWATCH July 2008 : It appears our pressure to perform properly was successful here because the website "Speak Out" was switched back on recently around about the time that the CEO Sue Turner with a cat cream smile was seen on TV after the BBC gave some airtime to the project and Frank Bruno was at the Woodview Community Centre ...Impressions impressions impressions .. ahhhhhh ... The report below however remains relevant to the time it was written]

Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust became involved with a project at the Woodview Community Centre in Birmingham which claimed it was recording some Mental Health Service Users history . First called "Free and Quiet Minds" it was later renamed "Speak Out" . NIMHE as the UserWatch team recall at one point claimed they might use it as a basis for knowledge about the effects of mental health services on BME groups in Birmingham.

Concerns have been passed to UserWatch about this project which took 50k of Heritage Lottery funding plus 5k from the BSMH Trust . The website this project created has disappeared for some time and where is the content now ?

The project claimed it was having an exhibition but we have heard of Service Users who were never contacted about any exhibition. Was there a exhibition that was announced ? We are not sure . Was there a quiet one in the background somewhere and it squibbed off rather like the website did ?

Anyone interested ? ..........Well here's where the website was (See OUR 22nd Sept 2008 Note below)

[Late Addition 22nd Sept 2008 : The Website disappeared for a long time - then it reappeared re-jigged this year - probably by the Trust who rescued its messy format . They did this in time to promote it with a managed appearance by Frank Bruno - this was cynical image-management and was known about at the CEO level of Trust . Sue Turner turned up at the Frank Bruno appearance filmed by the BBC and he knew nothing about the real position of dissatisfied and marginalised Users that we heard from - so it goes - that is the truth of the manipulative Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust ]

People might like to ask a Cultural Diversity Director of the Birmingham And Solihull Mental Health Trust, a Ms Lackvhir Rhellon, what exactly happened and why the Trust could not support the website for more than a year. Where did its 5k go ? On what ? The project was supposed to give Black Service Users as well as Asians and others a voice .

All information about the project has disappeared from any Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust references apart from Positive Mental Health Group which is allied to and subsidised by BSMHT

In fact we have had part of the text of some minutes below sent to us by a University to show the Speak Out Project existed!

"LSC/NIACE/NIMHE (part of CSIP) Partnership –

Access to education of people with mental health difficulties

West Midlands Network Meeting


University of Birmingham

17th January 2007

10.00 am – 3.00 pm

(other sections extracted )

  1. Any other Business

    • ‘Speak Out’ Birmingham Mental Health history project. Pam Hughes will give a presentation at the next meeting but information can be seen on
    • Service users/learners groups across the network maybe developed and any organisations trying to include the learner can contact Lesley to enable her to collate interested parties."

The UserWatch team are hearing some Users could not easily become involved in this project . We'll come back to this story ...In fact we'll speak out in the spirit of the disappeared project and disappeared voices.....Users know what its like to be disappeared at the Trust's convenient policy whim though. Voices of Users are suppressed inside conveneint mechanisms its what we know. We also hear that some Users wanted to speak out about police and staff violence on them.

We wonder what Soozie Turner the Chief Executive Voice Broker would say ... She would never brush these voices away surely , we just cannot believe it .. Nooooo dont even think it ......Nooooo... Well Soozie WHERE ARE THE VOICES ON THE WEBSITE THAT WERE REPORTEDLY SUPPOSED TO HAVE LASTED FIVE YEARS?

Speak Out

Woodview Project 2008 10th Jan (iii)

"Speak Out! Mental Health History Project originated with Woodview Community Association with the proposals they put to the national lottery fund about January 2006. Support (and some funding) was gathered from the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust, particularly from its diversity directorate (which includes services to black and ethnic minority communities in Birmingham).

Pete Bloomer started work as coordinator in early July 2006. His contract ends in July 2007.

The project includes using service users/survivors as volunteers, as well as employing (paying) users/survivors as assistants. It aims that a high proportion of the volunteers should be afro-caribbean.

A major aim is to produce an exhibition. This exhibition will be at Woodview Community Association (or a nearby library?) for its first three months, from May 2007, and then tour venues for another twenty one months.

The other major aim is to put the project's work on a website. The website will remain available at least for five years with the provision to update it and for it to grow.

Volunteers and assistants are being trained in recording oral history interviews, doing research using library resources and mental health awareness.

The discipline of Oral History provides a method to record the experience of individuals and to build a picture of the the general viewpoint of people on the mental health services.

Speak Out has spoken to several service user groups, at day-centres and User Voice Forums. They have done a number of stalls at mental health events in Birmingham. The most successful stall was at the World Mental Health Day event in Birmingham organised by the Positive Mental Health Group, where they distributed over 1,000 leaflets and got over 60 contacts. Altogether, they have distributed over 5,000 leaflets, have a mailing list of around 250 and, via Birmingham Mental Health Trust, have sent out communications to over 3,000 workers.

The messages of the project should be to begin the process of recording and writing a history of people's experience of mental health in Birmingham - That our history is important - That services should be based on the experiences and wishes of service users - That service providers should take note of our experiences and seek to improve services - That there has been a variety of approaches to service provision which might be learned from in terms of service users/survivors experiences of them. That in particular the experience of the Black community as service users; has been too harsh and punitive, (tarnished as it is by racism) and that its contribution to service provision as a large component of the workforce has been under valued and not considered important enough by those planning service provision.

Boards planned for Birmingham Exhibition

Two boards with a timeline of the twentieth century, legislation and major events affecting mental health charted beside the timeline. Specifically charting changes in mental health services in Birmingham. [See, for example, 8.7.1911 - Fluphenazine - Birmingham Scandal - -

A board on each of the three significant historic sites in Birmingham: - All Saints - Highcroft - The Rubery Hill and Hollymoor site.

A board explaining and illustrating the significance of the change brought about by Care in the Community - [See Fluphenazine - Birmingham Scandal - ]

A "horrible history" of 20th century treatments of mental illness. For example, the use of mercury, lobotomies, drilling holes in the skull, ECT, aversion therapy as treatment for homosexuality seen as a mental illness until 1958.

Brief histories of Mental Health Services established to support the black and minority ethnic communities in Birmingham.

Definition of mental illness - different people's definitions and how the definition and terminology has changed through the twentieth century. (The history of language on mental health is a measure of the cultural history and history of common (mis)understanding on mental health).

Police and admissions. Using information from the website section.

The image of mental health services, material developed around mental health and stigma surrounding mental illness.

Slavery and its ongoing impact on black people and mental health

"Why Black people suffer more from mental health problems" or .... do Black people suffer more from mental health problems?

Drugs and mental health.

Cause and effect - vox pops of peoples views.

A board or display which lists clips from the Oral History interviews we have recorded and selected. Listing the subject of those clips, something about the person who gave the interview, and giving the facility for the visitor to press a button to play that clip. (with headphones). "