I am looking through the See Me website to see what’s happening, also because I’m writing a blog post about the See Me Pledge Framework, draft, which has been sent to me by a friend who has asked for my opinion on it. On first glance the pledge looks like another employability manifesto to get people off their benefits and back to work. Government speak. Military tactics. “Who should we be targeting?” Then business speak: toolkits, actions, audits. Plus sticking the “peer” word in for good measure.
Anyway, on searching the news articles and other pieces, I came upon this quote from you in one of them, that caught my eye:
“Judith Robertson, See Me programme director, said: “We are creating a movement of people, groups and organisations all over Scotland who care about injustice and equal rights in society.“”
Justice and equal rights, both causes that I have always cared about passionately as a Scottish community grassroots development worker since 1980. Even more so since what was done to my son in Stratheden psychiatric Hospital, Feb12, when his basic human rights were denied and there was no justice for a mother and her son speaking out. I was excluded from Scottish patient safety programmes, had my reputation slandered by civil servants, because I am a writer, activist and human rights campaigner. No justice.
As I see it, we are not going to challenge the dehumanising treatment of psychiatric inpatients by keeping quiet about it or by keeping in with the powers that be. Mental health law gives power to professionals to compel people to be subject to forced drug treatment in Scotland. Resistance or “non-compliance” will be overcome, the person declared to be “without capacity”. We have found the mental health act safeguards to be unsafe, not implemented properly or monitored effectively. That is the reality.
The Stigma and Discrimination of people with mental health issues or “mental illness”, I believe, begins in the place where they have their agency and freedom taken away. Replaced with a mental disorder label and a stain on their character. If you don’t believe me then I suggest you tell a psychiatrist that you have strange thoughts, hear voices, are suicidal, want to self harm or to hurt other people, and then sign yourself into a mental hospital. Try and get out of that one.
As for me, I never told a psychiatrist anything much. I didn’t hear voices or have strange thoughts. I wasn’t suicidal until they put me on Venlafaxine. I didn’t want to harm myself or other people. I only had puerperal psychoses after painful, induced childbirths, then an altered mind state at the menopause. And for my sins was given a “schizoaffective disorder” label, when the drugs didn’t work, a label that sits in my notes and turns up in the notes of my son. As in “family history of“. That is Stigma and Discrimination. Root and branch.