My Health and Yours

Mental Health Cop

My healthcare, and that of my family and friends, is absolutely none of your business. None whatsoever, with all due respect! Yours is none of mine and I’m only professionally interested in a very limited and particular way.

I’ve been asked a few times whether I’m interested in this area of policing because I have personal experience of mental health problems, or perhaps via a good friend or relative? That’s none of your business, as I’ve said. This reply should not be used to construe that the answer is ‘Yes’ and that I’m trotting out privacy rights in order to avoid revealing things. To be honest, I’m trotting out my privacy rights (and those of my friends and relatives) just because I can and because it’s up to me whether I reveal things about my or their health. I’m afraid, I’m a bit like that – private, contrarian and rather…

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“Vociferous about pet projects”

Hole Ousia

Since 2012 all doctors practicing in the UK are required to undergo revalidation every 5 years.

I have been preparing all that it is necessary for my forthcoming revalidation interview. As part of this process I am required to gather multi-source feedback (MSF). Like my previous revalidation in 2013, I have received overwhelmingly positive feedback. However, I am always keen to learn how to improve in my professional role as a doctor, and so, in this post I wish to consider a comment that stood apart in my MSF report [MSF comments are all anonymous]. I will also consider whether MSF feedback may have the potential to reinforce establishment and professional outlooks and approaches.

The comment that stood out in my MSF report was included in the section “Working as a Team” and it stated [Dr Gordon] “needs to be less vociferous about his pet projects”. 

The dictionary definition of

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Scotland needs to create space for all voices

Hole Ousia

Chrys Muirhead recently wrote a blog post "appealing for survivor voices to be welcomed and respected in Scottish mental health arenas". I offered this short supportive reply:

Dear Chrys,
You are an inspiration to me and I know to many others.

It dismays me very much that you have had such a tough time over the last decade for speaking from the heart and putting your family first.

You have been a tireless friend and advocate for those who may find themselves disempowered (for whatever reason).

Your post returns my thoughts, once again, to why it should be like this in Scotland today? Are folk afraid to speak out despite high level strategies such as “See Me“, “Our Voice” and “Freedom to Speak Up“?

The history of Western approaches to mental health, predominantly medical, do provide some lessons. In June 2015, in a debate for ‘Battle of…

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Digital privacy and the zombie apocalypse


Professor Hamish McLeod is a co-investigator on the EMPOWER study, playing a role in encouraging reliability in research measurement and supporting people using the EMPOWER App. Following recent widely publicised revelations about digital privacy Hamish reflects on how people respond to new technologies and the importance of genuinely informed consent in ethical research. 

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Sue’s honourable decision to leave her role as Peer Support Worker explained

Reframing Mental distress as a potential catalyst for positive change

Last week we heard from Sue Irwin as she described the discovery of herself as ‘head gardener’ for the seeds of her inner Warrior.

In this very evocative and intelligent follow – up article, Sue describes her journey back into mental health services ‘on the other side of the fence’, and why she made the decision to leave, this time of her own volition to honour her personal values…

Sue Irwin

Why I Chose to Leave Mainstream Psychiatric Services

A Peer Supporter’s Personal Perspective

If we plant a seed in a desert and it fails to grow, do we ask, what is wrong with the seed?

No. We must look at the environment around the seed and ask, what must change in this environment such that the seed can grow?(Deegan, 1996)


I left my post as a paid Peer Support Worker (PSW) on an acute in-patient ward within mainstream…

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Confusion is everywhere

Hole Ousia

Published as a BMJ letter January 2013:

It seems that there is an awful lot of confusion about. It also seems to be the prevailing impression that it is our elderly who are most prone to confusion. The recent BMJ discussion about the screening for dementia has highlighted that it is both incorrect and potentially stigmatising to consider such confusion as the preserve of our older generation. (1)

At least six areas of confusion do seem prevalent when it comes to our understanding and collective approach to memory loss in old age:

1. General confusion: The general population is increasingly using the word “Alzheimer’s” instead of “dementia.” This is hardly surprising when you consider:

2. Professional confusion: NICE and SIGN Guidelines for Dementia both contain definitions of dementia and of Alzheimer’s disease, yet in the body of the guidelines, the terms are frequently used interchangeably. (2)

3. Confused ‘education’: Much post-graduate medical…

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RSM Health Matters Podcast: Episode 1 – Antidepressants

Hole Ousia

RSM Health Matters Podcast: Episode 1 – Antidepressants, Antibiotics and the Gender Pay Gap

26th April 2018

Kaji Sritharan (KS), Professor Sir Simon Wessely (SW), Professor Clare Gerada (CG)

[This is a transcription of the first 14 minutes of this half hour episode]

This is RSM Health Matters a podcast brought to you by the Royal Society of Medicine. Hello, I am Kaji Sritharan and welcome to RSM Health Matters. In each episode I will be joined by Professor Sir Simon Wessely, President of the Royal Society of Medicine and Past President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and Professor Clare Gerada, GP and Past Chairman of the Royal College of GPs, to discuss and debate the main issues affecting medicine today. In this podcast we will be discussing two commonly prescribed medications, and those are antidepressants and antibiotics.

KS: Clare, in 2016 there were 64.7…

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