Saturday, February 27, 2010

Death By Childhood - Mental Health Records Checks On Parents?


Strangely enough colleagues of UserWatch were talking about Criminal Records Bureau checks and a story was written on News Public about the way that most children that are abused , are indeed abused, or are at risk , within the family, and how the hell do you "CRB check" parents, stepfathers, aunts , friends etc ..?

Well you don't is the simple answer, otherwise expect a revolution . Of ,either angry hissed off parents, or indeed arguably enlightened ones, that want to hold up all their flaws for inspection that makes them think twice and more-so about passing on their own neuroses which conceivably flare up in this and that proceeding generation, into ill fitting mentally busted up and damaged people who later cannot properly care for others .

It was the UK poet Phillip Larkin that said something like : "Your parents fuck you up" and then added something like " And you just add your piece in too " ..

What is for sure is, we do not live in cultures of realistically raw self reflection enough perhaps, but what happens when you are so very damaged and cannot afford the luxury of psychoanalytic navel gazing and you have kids ?

Sadly people damage them often.. There are more exteme examples of this in and around mental health scenario's and we need to constantly learn how we also create other layers of social inadequacy and abandonment of those associated to mental health damages who need humanly rescuing . But do lets discuss reality and stop hiding from its tragic truths.

The case of 7 year old Khyra Ishaq starved to death in Birmingham Handsworth UK while the fridge was full of food is quite terrible but its joined by another now in Dewsbury, that of 2 year old Jasmine Bellfield whose mother is now held on suspicion of tragically murdering her . Lets hope from compassion that some other socially rescuing label might be applied here ..

What comes to light as you brush away the shock and empathic pain in these cases is the need for a continuing role of society in helping people with serious distresses work through their lives into some gain and not go into the obvious path of seriously rolling tragedy . In Khyra's case her mother :

"Angela Gordon, was cleared of murder after prosecutors at Birmingham Crown Court accepted her plea of manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility. She also admitted five counts of child cruelty against the other children in her care." (Times Online 26th Feb)

The stepfather of Khyra :

"Junaid Abuhamza, a schizophrenic, had a manslaughter plea accepted earlier in the trial after a report on his mental health. The pair will be sentenced next Friday." (Times Online 26th Feb )

The Social Services in Birmingham robustly defended their position of limited intervention the judge at the High Court however said if they had intervened the child would still be alive .

"The department mounted a vigorous defence of its role in the child’s death, saying that it lacked sufficient powers to intervene, especially once Khyra was removed from school to be “home-educated”. (Times Online 26th Feb )

In the Dewsbury case of 2 year old Jasmine :

"Sonia Bellfield, who grew up in Heckmondwike, has been placed in a secure psychiatric unit following the discovery of little Jasmine's body at their home in Naylor Court, Dewsbury, on Friday. She was found after concerned social workers rang police." (Spenborough Guardian 27th Feb)

The hospital where Sonia Bellfield actually gained some degree of social strength was the Priestley Unit at Dewsbury and District Hospital.

"It was at the unit that she met Martin Bellfield, Jasmine's father. Since then the couple have separated and Mrs Bellfield was bringing up Jasmine on her own." (Spenborough Guardian 27th Feb )

What do cases like this evoke as a protective social response given the climate of CRB checking all people in the UK who work - even voluntarily- with vulnerable groups - especially children ? Do we now need a Mental Health Records Bureau (MHRB) monitoring agency ? The debate might have to be had ..

Does it finally say that being a parent is not sacrosanct from more inspection especially where there are mental health factors crossing events where children's care is concerned ?

Sections of our societies are so ill at ease , half broken and so under-served and distressed that its constantly begging for new social structures based on more skillful care couched both in empathy and a forensic-eye .. Will we ever be up to evolving like that ? Or will we just designs political and social rituals that create illusions of safety and care while core personal realities of damages are largely unhelped or diagnosed off into some medicalised label ? Take a good look at the (Guardian Dec 9th Article ) Aesop study findings over 500 Afro Caribbeans in the UK which showed the label "Onset Psychoses"hid overwhelmingly social and family factors that created their long experienced distresses .

Phillip Larkin ought to have added what we at UserWatch have written on our collective PatientGuard intro to us :

"There is no sanity pill

You finally learn

The System's ill "

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