Wednesday, November 14, 2012

'Catastrophic failings' in schizophrenia care

Friday, October 05, 2012

Abuse in Mental Health Care? Surely Not!

The BBC's Focus on Africa TV programme has uncovered a number of abuses in a mental health institution in the Ghanaian capital, Accra. 

When asked why the conditions were so poor, the Medical Director replied that hospitals are seriously challenged - financially, logistically, and so on, and that what you are seeing is probably the best that you can get under the circumstances.  He also added that Mental Health services have not been a priority.

And why would they be?  It's easy to neglect vulnerable people when no one cares about them.  Who will notice?  Especially when they have been dropped off by a family member and abandoned.  What chance do they have of recovery?

Doris, who manages her mental health with the support of family says: "You need a family to accept the person.  You need a family to show them love."

And sadly, in a world that stigmatises mental health issues, and where vulnerable people are abused or neglected, they also need a family that will protect them, even from mental health "care" at times.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

While You Were Sleeping...

Ok, so, I've been away for a while.  Yes, you've probably noticed that I don't post anywhere near as often as I used to, but I check in on other blogs even less often than that.  So tonight I am awake (for a change), and bored, and curious, so I clicked on a few links in my side bar.  And what do I find?  That blog land is not how I left it!  It's like returning to an abandoned memory and finding there is nothing even remotely familiar about it at all!

First I find that Random Acts of Reality doesn't even exist any more, NeeNaw is off-line, and Mike hasn't posted for 2 years after finding out that a fellow blogger was facing execution in Iran!  And what the hell happened to Mental Nurse?

Some good things have happened though:  lovely Seaneen is getting married! (Congratulations!) And Shiv has bought himself a couch and become a Psychology student!

Wow.  I suppose I really need to clean up my blogroll... another day maybe... I just need to take a little nap...

Saturday, September 22, 2012


I just listened to this very short snippet from an interview with David Nutt on BBC Radio 4's "The Life Scientific", and suddenly I couldn't stop crying.

It just seemed to come from nowhere, as it often does whenever anyone mentions the word "trauma".

I've never actually been allowed to talk about what happened to Mr Man in hospital and how it made me feel. Even my counsellor didn't want me to focus on that, but to talk about my mundane everyday problems, such as paying bills and getting enough "me time". Maybe that's why it is still effecting me 10 years later. No one wants to hear it. "That was all in the past", "It's time to move on!", "It doesn't help you to keep focusing on that". But what if you can't help it? What do you do when only one word brings everything back?

You know, she did say one thing that could actually be true though, although I didn't want to accept it at the time. She said that she thought my problems stemmed from my childhood. Why do I now believe that could be true? Because I watched my Dad nearly die while he was having a convulsion when I was too young to understand what was going on, and I wasn't allowed to talk about that either. No one asked me how it made me feel. It was like it never happened. I can't tell you how frightened I was as I knelt by his side, sobbing, and no one explained to me what was happening.

I felt as helpless in 2002 as I did back then. I was so scared. Like a little girl again. I thought the person I loved most in the whole world was going to die. And people behave like it never happened.

At least with my Dad I remember nurses and people running in and out and doing everything they could to save him. But with Mr Man they didn't care. It was like kneeling by his side, sobbing, while he convulsed on the floor, vomiting and turning blue, and no one doing anything to help him.

I wish you could see me sobbing right now, because there are no words to explain the pain, the fear, the desperation. There are no words at all. Only tears.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

One Law For One...

Unfortunately I still have days where I want to round up all those who were involved in Mr Man's "care", particularly during 2002, and tie them up and gag them, slap them around the head a bit, and tell them how stupid they are, and just generally rant and rave until I've exhausted my rage.  I thought I had recovered, but there are still triggers.

Unfortunately it's illegal to do things like that, even to really stupid people who deserve it.  Even to people who have caused suffering to others, like they did.  It would be fine if I was a doctor though.  Then I could legally hold them against their will and cause them all sorts of suffering.

You see, if I was a doctor, I could intentionally cause a person to suffer by giving them medication with painful side effects, and refuse to change them, and even smirk when the wife begs me to relieve her husband's suffering.  And that is legal.

I could even enforce the giving of those tablets against the patient's will, even if they don't actually help their medical condition at all.  I could probably get away with that for about two months by saying I had to give them a fair chance to see if they would help.

Or I could deliberately prolong their mental suffering by hindering their diagnosis, by inventing weird and wonderful theories as to why they are ill, or pretending to be ill.  No one would ever know that I was just playing a game, and I could get away with that one for at least six months. 

If I was a nurse I could mentally and emotionally abuse the patients.  No one would believe them because "they're mental" - paranoid, and delusional.  And family members are just "over protective".

Or if they needed medical attention for something physical, and I was supposed to arrange tests, I could let them suffer longer and just say it slipped my mind because we're so busy.  I could probably get away with that for weeks.

If I knew that a patient was already a high suicide risk, I could bully that person to increase their anxiety, so that they try to take their own life, and I would be completely irreproachable.

Also, I could "inadvertently" cause someone's death through neglect, you know, like if I was supposed to check on them every 15 minutes but didn't bother.  I might have to go to court, but I wouldn't have to go to prison.  I could just say we were understaffed or something.

But seeing as I'm not a doctor or a nurse, it would be illegal for me to cause pain and suffering to those who did all these things to Mr Man and others.  So they get away with it, and probably continue doing it.  And ten years later I'm still left struggling to come to terms with the injustice of it all.