Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Mental Health Great Pyramid At Three Geezers

Mental Health Archeology By Indiana UserWatch

We love gods and goddesses in the Mental Health Arena because they create religions and chants and things ..

Occasionally there might be ritual cake involved too and we know some get very big slices . Yes they are priests ..

Yet the pyramid builders of influence and "reform" always appear to be doing well out of the careers and constant ways they attract money to schemes and groups whose aim it is to centralise power upwards in the name of Service Users .....NSUN the stop-go stop-go National Service Users Network cobbled together by a few top-downsters were granted 750k in all in 2007 for use over a few years and there's bugger all to show for it . I

In now 18+ months of existence in their July 2008 edition of their newsletter they say on page one of the resignation of two top NSUN members :

"We regret to announce the departure of Chandra Fowler as Network Coordinator and Chris Wright as a member of the Management Committee. We would like to thank both Chris and Chandra for their contribution towards the development of NSUN and wish them both well in the future. "

The three people pyramidised above , Jan Wallcraft , Andrew McCulloch (EX Dept Of Health Civil Servant - Ex CEO of Sainsbury's Centre For Mental Health, and current CEO Of Mental Health foundation) and David Crepaz Keay, have been and are associated across years to mental health charities or agencies and we wonder what good have their actions and use of money created with all these attempts to create corrals of top professionalised Users to influence and lead the rest - who we are not sure need leading at all .

Users might however need themselves as more healthy, and Patient Choice to deliver more of that ....

All three though are sure to have created some good but what was it ? Anyone know or want to volunteer more information - we'll publish it - with examination and critique of course . We know that all are associated with the marketing of mental health "Anti-stigma" as a chant with which to attract Service Users who do not have much hope in their lives ..

We've argued that the "anti-stigma" approach that has been developed in the UK has been linked and strongly skewed into the policy of getting mental health Users back to work and off benefits . Jan worked in the Sainsbury Centre For Mental Health which Dr Bob Grove (adviser on Pathways To Work) seconds out from to the Dept Of Work and Pensions . NIMHE (100 +milions cost over 5 years) of which Jan Wallcraft was an "Expert Fellow", was advised by her , and they created entry level jobs mainly for Ex Service Users , many with academic backgrounds and a degree of fitness that meant they could work . Jan can work . This section of people however were not representative of all Service Users at all. They vanguarded nothing but their own circles .....

More recently we carried a story with cheek on UserWatch about Jan's Wishcraft and we reported her saying of her resignation from a Research Group associated into Gov't :

"We feel it has become untenable to work in the current climate of "top down" non transparent decision making which we feel has been so damaging to power sharing , partnership and effective involvment "

But what does Jan say in the latest NSUN July 2008 newsletter after she had been to a MH conference in Toronto :

"One piece of work common to WPA (World Psychiatric Association) and INTAR (International Network Towards Alternatives and Recovery ( is 'trialogue', which was developed in Germany and taken up in a number of other countries. A mental health trialogue brings together mental health practitioners, service users, and families/carers, in an arena which is kept neutral, i.e. not on hospital grounds but in an accessible community venue, where people can talk freely and openly about mental health, in a way that can be personal, political, philosophical and practical.

There are criticisms by some service users who have been involved with German trialogue, that it tends to rule out the most critical service users, but it does seem to be a format which might benefit us in England to deepen people's understanding of each other's issues and break down polarised thinking, stigma and ignorance "

Where Jan Wallcraft really stands is shown at the end of that text . Namely she may be prepared to rule out the most critical voices in order to buy into a trialogue in the UK .. The voices with the most power of critical integrity come from the margins though in our experience Jan ... Anything else becomes "Top-Down" Jan ..

Jan also says :

(INTAR ) " It brought together survivors and mental health activists with professional backgrounds who are critical of the biomedical model of mental health and are trying to change things in practical ways. "

So there we are out we come again with more top-downsters who create the collusive allure that pyramidicity of influence is the best way forwards. What the fucking hell is wrong with arguing for straight forward patient recovery budgets for all long term MH Users to keep people well and out of crisis rotational admissions . Lets all create our own real Well-th-spaces that way .

This is where NSUN and David Crepaz Keay , Jan Wallcraft and Andy McCulloch have gone really wrong in not getting to grips with that . Patient Power is not on the agenda properly with them . Patient Choices of recovery treatments (post crisis) are not on their agenda - or the Govt's really . Andrew McCulloch advocates wide use of Computerised Cognitive Behaviour Therapy ...Yeah ....We know, ofcourse, good empathically skilled people cost money to help heal others and they would be first choice for many patients if they existed. CBT though is superficial, useful for a few but lacks realistic longitudinality - and lacks inside its model the interior tolerance of emotional intelligence and emotional damage .

Rituals happen to create publically viewed spells of better mental health promises sometimes and the big Anti Stigma push will be out to create more flag waving - Blue Peter badges, a walk by the Queen etc but the reality for many Users is misery without proper supports and that voice is moaning all the time without much of a hearing as to its unmet need . Kinda makes Patient Choice (and recovery and management budgets to match) not so much as the radical agenda but the only real one that fits people equally ..

David Crepaz Keay was the CEO of Mental Health Media in 2004-5 and left in that year to go to Mental Health Foundation . Andrew McCulloch had ran both Mental Health Media and SCMH and then ran Mental Health Foundation . So what User empowerment have they supported that has created equal access to choices of recovery supports . Have they banged on that drum or is it the Anti Stgma work-driven charity and govt skewed policy that more lately just happens to have netted £18 millions for several charities including Mental Health Foundation ?

We think a great pyramid of geezers has been created, and continued ..


JanW said...

Dear UserWatch, thanks for printing a quote from my resignation article re MHRN/SURGE.

You must be really looking hard for something to criticise about me for trying to turn what I said about Trialogue into an endorsement of shutting out critical voices.

I think the Trialogue approach may be helpful, but by mentioning the criticisms of German survivors I wanted to be sure to warn anyone trying this that there could be a danger of shutting out critical voices. I don't think that it would be right to do that.

In my work I have never endorsed shutting out critical voices, though I don't think it is acceptable to be plain rude, obnoxious or aggressive even to professionals whose opinions we don't like.

PatientGuard said...

By default Jan W - a lot of the followers and constructors of NIMHE AT A COST OF OVER 100 MILLION over a few years wasted so many chances for front line patient choices of treatments - and a proper culture of Patient Choice to be driven by patients not the false DOH backed structures of new User bueacracy that saw its history take place before your retired ..

Plain rude and obnoxious ? I think the premature of death of Users that might have a better deal was worth more that making careers out of NIMHE ... Obnoxious means nothing set besides that kind of waste and continuing slow user-bureaucratic murder ..