About Chrys Muirhead

writer, activist, campaigner

Tricks and Tools

Mental Health Cop

By working in a role that takes me around the country, I get to see the various differences that exist between police areas – and I don’t just mean the 43 police forces of England and Wales, but even more local than that.  I’m a West Midlands Police officer and my operational experience has mainly been in Birmingham but I’ve also spent three years working in the Black Country.  The Brummies and the Yam Yams will hate me for saying this: but those areas are not as different as they’d like to think they are – I hope I can get away with that, being neutral (a Geordie).  But there are differences in the way that services operate: different local authorities, different mental health trust albeit the same 999 services who often work across those boundaries.  Section 136 MHA works very differently on Shenstone Road, in west Birmingham depending on…

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Mental Health Expert

Mental Health Cop

Today, I was invited to do something because I’ve been identified as “an expert in emergency mental health care.” I did wonder whether this was one of those mistakes made by someone who wasn’t reading closely enough, as when a medical recruitment company recently invited me apply for “vacant consultant psychiatrists’ positions in Birmingham, Manchester or London”. Apparently my CV had impressed them – my LinkedIn page, actually. It was obviously somehow beyond-impressive as it managed to distract their attention away from my utter lack of a medical degree or any professional registration as a medical practitioner. In fairness, I do have a first-aid certificate … but actually, even that’s expired if I’m being completely honest because I’m not currently in an operational role. I’m an associate member of the College of Paramedics, if that helps, but in fairness they don’t let me anywhere near the drugs or the cannulas…

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Developing a theory of implementation



We’ve been doing some more work on our EMPOWER on our Phase 1 qualitative data.

I (Steph) became involved in the project through my undergraduate dissertation. Having experience of psychosis and an interest in intervention research that actively includes the perspective of people who use services and their families, I have appreciated engaging with the team. I (Andrew) have been supervising Steph throughout her dissertation and introducing her to the delights of Grounded Theory.

As part of the run up to the Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial it was really important for us as a team to engage with key stakeholders to explore with them their views about the EMPOWER Mobile App. Key stakeholders are people with lived experience, their family members and mental health staff.

We’ve been really struck by how much agreement there is between stakeholders regarding Early Warning Signs. All three groups seem to accept the term Early…

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Endemic Abuse

Mental Health Cop

This morning’s headline in The Times is a complete stunner – NHS abuse of mental patients ‘endemic’(). Already, early on the day of publication, we have various commentators running off down various routes, from Professor Louis Appleby bemoaning a ‘harmful media bandwagon’, to individual mental health professionals pointing out that the words ‘mental patients’ are outdated at best and stigmatising at worst. Then we’ve already seen objections to the implied journalistic conclusions whereby The Times is mistaking every serious untoward incident review for ‘abuse’, which conflates distinct issues, apparently. I’m sure we’ll see more of this as the day goes on – for example, I’m waiting to hear the ‘bad apple’ theory which we often hear about when it comes to excesses and abuses of police powers. This is the idea the majority of officers are good people who get up every day to put themselves in harm’s way…

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Networking with fellow carers

A Caring Mind

FamilyWelcome again to another one of my carer blog posts. On this particular post I am going to talk about networking with carers. When I talk about carers, I am talking about unpaid carers, I am not mentioned care workers who work for a care agency. Care workers are paid and have clients, carers are unpaid and care for someone they are related to or emotionally attached or at least know.

Caring for someone can be extriemly isolating. If a carer is spending so much time caring and not networking, they can loose out on support, information and identity. It is so important to get out there and mingle with like-minded carers.

I have done a short video presentation about carer networking, you can view it below.

  • One of the worst aspect for carers is to be isolated. Carers feel they belong if they are connected to other carers.
  • Carer…

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‘The medical untouchables’

Hole Ousia

The following is a recent opinion piece by Dr Des Spence published in the British Journal of General Practice.

I had been lined up to do the media interviews on BBC Scotland in relation to petition PE1651. However, on the day, due to changed travel arrangements, I was not available. Dr Des Spence was interviewed instead and did a better job than I could have done.

As an NHS doctor and specialist, I fully support this petition (PE1651) which calls on the Scottish parliament “to urge the Scottish Government to take action to appropriately recognise and effectively support individuals affected and harmed by prescribed drug dependence and withdrawal.”

I have submitted my response.

I feel it would be helpful to hear the views of the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland and in particular, how this matter might be considered as part of Realistic Medicine.


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