No use whatsoever. To the mental patients who have been labelled with a mental disorder or lifelong mental illness, declared to be without capacity and forcibly treated. To the mothers and unpaid carers picking up the pieces after traumatic dehumanising psychiatric treatment.
I want to see mental health acts that do what it says on the tin. Safeguards that are safe. Principles that are practised. Implemented properly and monitored effectively. Psychiatric staff that are accountable and psychiatric wards that are free from risk and threat of abuse.
I don’t think it’s too much to ask for. As an unpaid carer on £59 a week I am fed up with hearing about fat cat wages paid to psychiatric high heid yins who then top up their pay packet with big pharma monies. What’s that about? Power and greed, it seems to me. Some folk never have enough.
It’s a matter of justice. The MH Act is meant to be redressing the balance, taking the power back from an oppressive system, giving it to the mental patient and their carer. Being declared “without capacity” does not mean that psychiatric staff can do what they like and not be accountable.
It’s not the 1970’s, when voluntary meant detained and anything goes behind the closed doors of a psychiatric institution. That was my experience in 1978, being forcibly injected with chlorpromazine after voluntarily going in to Hartwoodhill, Lanarkshire, expecting asylum after painful childbirth.
I soon learnt the name of the game. Do what you’re told, tell them what they want to hear, get discharged and back on with your life. The support of peers was crucial back then, a way to survive, us against them.
The integration now of peer support into health board settings dilutes the patient power, together with the tendering of advocacy contracts. Impotent mental health act safeguards compound the problem.
Therefore I contend that it is more risky and less safe for mental patients in psychiatric settings nowadays than it was in the 1970’s. We are in desperate need of an about turn. It will require meaningful involvement of the real “experts by experience”.
Is anyone listening?