moral leadership

Yesterday a friend wrote to me in an Email “Moral leadership is what we most fairly seek.”.  I looked up the meaning and it said “personal integrity, fairness, aiming to serve, pursuit of a higher purpose, developing the capacity of others.  Building consensus, navigating diversity and establishing unity.”.

There’s no doubt we need more of this in the world to make it a better place, and in the mental health arena so that human rights are a priority, along with respect, recognition, equality, accountability and doing what is right.  

I also think it’s going to mean sacrificing comfort and advancement to bring about fairness and justice.  We before me.  You before I.  It will be costly and painful.  Financially and socially.

It’s not something to be chosen, rather I expect it chooses you.  As in a cause or a fight or resistance or a stand.  Circumstances propelling a person to consider or even not to consider but just to act.


Keris Jan Myrick

Keris Jän Myrick – president of NAMI national and CEO of Project Return Peer Support Network LA county, USA – on Mad in America ‘Dare to Dream: Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr‘ on 20 January, Martin Luther King Day.

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr said that “of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane.”

For those of us diagnosed with mental illnesses and our families and loved ones, we know all too well the effects of these inequalities from personal and first hand experiences. For those of us like me, we also know of the extreme health and mental health disparities that exist within our communities of color. Within communities of color, the first introduction to mental health care is usually involuntary commitment to hospitals, and/or incarceration in jails, both resulting in trauma, humiliation and reducing the likelihood of voluntarily seeking services when needed.


Herald articles today about whistle-blowing psychiatrist and NHS phone helpline going nowhere

In today’s Herald there are two articles about psychiatrist Dr Jane Hamilton who claims she has been victimised after raising concerns over the safety of the specialist psychiatric Mother And Baby Unit at St John’s Hospital, Livingston:

Doctor risks sack by going public over whistle-blowing


Couple’s shock after Herald revealed doctor’s concerns

 In the second piece it says:

 “The Scottish Government also introduced a confidential alert line for NHS whistle-blowers, last April. Dr Hamilton phoned it, but it simply referred her back to the health board. So there is still concern. 

Rab Wilson, the former psychiatric nurse who exposed errors surrounding the deaths of 20 patients in NHS Ayrshire and Arran, is not convinced by the confidential line.

He said: “From what I have heard, anyone who phones up usually finds they are referred back to their employer. It’s a bit like Mrs Hen phoning up to complain her chicks are being eaten by foxes raiding the coop, and she gets referred on to Mr Fox.” 

He has now lodged a petition at the Scottish Parliament that seeks to further protect NHS whistle-blowers and ensure gagging orders are truly ended.

I’m not surprised that the helpline goes nowhere as it’s just like NHS Fife complaints processes which in my experience are pointless and useless at dealing with human rights abuses in psychiatric settings and the bullying and intimidation of carers and mothers.  And a Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland which is a watchdog with no teeth and responds to carers in distress by telling them to Talk to the Hand 

Huh.  So much for human rights in Scotland.  It doesn’t seem to apply in psychiatric circumstances or for people who have been labelled with a mental disorder.  And even the phonelines for NHS psychiatrists who want to highlight issues are like chocolate teapots or pointless endeavours.

stampede on the horizon! one LIVED EXPERIENCE post advertised on VOX

VOX (who call themselves a National Mental Health Service User Led organisation) advert that went out before Christmas:

3 Mental Health Services Expert Reviewers (psychiatrist, nursing, mental health improvement, social work, allied health professionals or voluntary sector (16 days @ £300 per day)
1 Lived Experience Review Panel Member (Service User – 16 days @ £300 per day)
Across 10 weeks April 2014 until June 2014
Secondment welcome
Edinburgh or Glasgow 

Don’t all rush to reply if you have “Lived Experience” or you may be trampled in the stampede to fill this tokenistic position.  I’m banned from VOX and off their mailing list but get forwarded their stuff from allies who keep me informed (thanks, you know who you are).

My response in an Email on 21 December 2013 to high heid yins in government, SAMH and MHF, also VOX chief exec/HIS employee and Advisers, as yet to get a reply:

That sounds about right. 

Three to one, Mental Health Services Expert Reviewers to Lived Experience Review Panel Member.  Why not the other way about?  As in, 3 folk with lived experience, of psychiatric treatment and mental health service land, to one person paid for it?  Or even equal numbers.  Or just 4 posts for people, paid worker or not, who have experienced “mental illness” rather than “common mental health problems”.  That would challenge stigma and discrimination.

 Another tokenistic, tick-box exercise in Scotland.  Where those of us who have been through it, got the tee-shirt, then resisted the label, got free of the system and recovered despite the odds, are humoured and patted on the back, patronised.  Given 16 days of work at the same rates as the person seconded.  And then we have to go back to our usual existence with a psychiatric label indelibly written in our notes.  Like tattoos on our wrists or foreheads.

What will it take for Scotland to demonstrate and practise the meaningful involvement of mental health service users and psychiatric survivors?

Wonder if I should apply? Let me check.  Does it say you have to be non-conformist, independently minded, free spirited, like a challenge, radical, prepared to take a stand against hierarchical shenanigans?  

Och well.  Never mind.  Something else will turn up …

guest blog Continuance Volume 3: Reproducing Dundee’s City Square in the UDK by DEM

Initial Attempt at Reproducing Dundee’s City Square in the UDK


Objective: to reproduce Dundee’s City Square within the level editor of the Unreal Development Kit.

This objective will be broken down into several sub-objectives, namely:

  1. determining the relative proportions and then real world size of the City Square area;
  2. reconciling real world units with Unreal Units;
  3. using the foregoing data to produce a rough sketch of the area.