Michael Cornwall Speaks on Helping People in Extreme States with Loving Receptivity

“Michael Cornwall shares from his own lived experience of extreme states
and 35 years of serving people in extreme states as a therapist in
medication-free psychosis sanctuaries and in the community. Michael
addresses this way of being with people in extreme states at
conferences, graduate schools, workshops, and at Esalen Institute. 

Michael is an author at Mad in America (http://madinamerica.com). He can be contacted at his website, What is Madness? (http://michaelcornwall.com).
This video aired on 10/20/2014 in a workshop at the Alternatives
Conference led by Cardum Harmon and Dina Tyler of the Mandala Project.”


UKHRB event: The Future of Human Rights – 21 May 2014

UK Human Rights Blog

Freedman-Failing-to-Protect-webI am delighted to announce that the UK Human Rights Blog in association with Hurst Publishers and Berwin Leighton Paisner are organising a fascinating panel debate, chaired by me, on Wed 21 May 2014.  The panel is stellar.

It is a free event but places are strictly limited so you have to register here if you want to secure your place.

‘The Future of Human Rights’ on the occasion of the publication of Failing to Protect: the UN and the Politicisation of Human Rights by Dr Rosa Freedman
Date:Wednesday 21 May 2014
Time:6.30pm for 7.00pm
Location:The Auditorium, Adelaide House, London Bridge, London EC4R 9HA (map)
Hurst Publishers, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP and the UK Human Rights Blog are delighted to invite you to a panel discussion on ‘The Future of Human Rights’ on the occasion of the publication of Failing to Protect: the UN and the Politicisation of…

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Learning from social reporting at #seeme14

See Me Now

see me Programme Director Judith Robertson reflects on the impact of the social reporting and social media work at last weeks event:


As the dust begins to settle on #seeme14 at Dunblane Hydro, we have begun to analyse and reflect on our social media activity. From my perspective I would like to thank everyone who contributed online and helped build wider engagement with see me.

This event was the first time see me has attempted to reach out to people online and we were keen to see what support and interest there was for online engagement. From the number of tweets, retweets and blogs it’s clear that there is a big appetite for engagement by people involved with the programme and with people not present at the event.

Over the period from 31st March to today, close to 1500 tweets were sent using the #see me14 hashtag. They came from…

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The other side of the fence: Iatrogenic stigma.

“A professional colleague of mine recently wrote to me following a difficult experience: “I guess if we are to tackle stigma in mental health, we need to start closer to home in our colleagues”.  It is now a decade since the debate above took place and one is left wondering where we are now given campaigns to tackle stigma such as ‘Changing Minds,’ ‘See Me’ and ‘Time to Change’. Is the story of the last ten years a tale of ‘benign professional progress?’ Has our profession led us out into the light and free of the dark stain of stigma? Has the biological and genetic paradigm as the prevailing explanation of mental illness helped in this? Do we really have meaningful engagement with users, sufferers, patients, and carers? And if we start closer to home as my colleague suggested, are we more like Sartorius thought, guilty of iatrogenic stigma or more like Dr Smith suggested, unlikely to misuse diagnosis and stigmatise others?” Peter J Gordon

Hole Ousia

This is an Editorial that I submitted to the British Journal of Psychiatry. It was rejected for the following reasons:

MS ID#: BJP/2012/115832

The strengths of this paper are:

  • It discusses an important set of issues ie how far psychiatric staff themselves contribute towards stigma

The limitations of the paper are:

  • It takes a rather anecdotal approach eg a colleague of mine recently wrote etc
  • The paper does not seek to examine the evidence that stigma more generally, or more specifically within the psychiatric profession, are getting better or worse
  • The paper tends to go over old ground somewhat eg in rehearsing definitions of stigma
  • The literature review is rather patchy ie citing the Angermeyer review on biological causal explanations of mental illness but not the recent Schomerus paper
  • The discussion is rather wide ranging eg referring to ‘herd instinct’ and Kierkergaard etc
  • There is a fairly substantial literature on mental…

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Barricades, Weapons and Hostages

my comment on blog post;
“Where I live in Fife, Scotland, the psychiatric staff have been in the habit of calling police officers into the acute wards to deal with matters that are far removed from “barricades, weapons and hostages”. In fact it seemed like the police were part of the NHS team, special agents in uniform, called in to restore order in the “asylum” or to bring back the escapees. I am hoping that this has changed since I raised complaints in February 2012, regarding different situations where police officers were getting too involved in mental health matters they had no training or expertise in.

I agree that often situations are “better led by health professionals appropriately trained and equipped”. And I’d like to see people with lived experience both participating in the training of psychiatric staff and in the creation of the training materials. Nothing about us without us. We’ve been at the sharp end of psychiatric treatment and some of us have always been resistant to the force used, not liking to swallow the psychiatric drugs/medication or diagnoses/labels. For many of us the anosognosia is in the minds of psychiatry and we are experts of our own experience.”

Mental Health Cop

barricade This last week has brought a number of queries about the role of the police in restoring or maintaining order on psychiatric wards where disturbances have occured.  This is a difficult and controversial subject because we have seen incidents on wards involving the police which have then become subject to protracted inquiries after deaths in police custody or following contact.  Olaseni LEWIS and Kingsley BURRELL-BROWN are just two examples of ongoing enquiries where criminal investigations are ongoing after tragic events.

So it is not unsurprising that learn that the police are becoming alive to the to the risks and sensitivities of intervening in medical settings where disturbances occur.  And yet, there is an inverted point to be made here about parity of esteem: the police are frequently called to intervene in Accident & Emergency departments, despite the presence of security staff there.  The police are often asked to intervene if disturbances…

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Delirium Screening

Peter Gordon @PeterDLROW:
“A recent correspondent asked that I submit my considerations for peer review in formal academic journal. It is my view that those behind improvement work on delirium in Scotland need to do this first and I am of the view that this might be an important element of improvement work before policy recommendations are embarked upon. The Clinical Standards, on which screening recommendations for delirium have been based, are 12 years old. The involvement of Healthcare Improvement Scotland in pilot work, as guided by the Scottish Delirium Association is most welcome. The limitations of other avenues of communication about this improvement work have been pointed out to me. Yet we must acknowledge that OPAC, HIS and SDA are using other avenues extensively (tweets, blogs and videos), thereby inviting responses.”

Hole Ousia

Some people have asked me to try and summarise my considerations on delirium assessment. In what follows I will also try and outline an alternative approach to the one currently being recommended across Scotland following Older People in Acute Care (OPAC) Inspection visits.

1. DETECTION: If I understand I have been asked the entirely understandable question as to what approach I would advocate for detection of delirium if we were to depart from the Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) mandate to screen all those 65 or over for “cognitive impairment”. Here, I shall try to make clear that my principle concern is with screening rather than with the brief rating scales themselves. These scales have a place, even if not yet fully validated. However, in my view, and that of NICE, they should be used for further clarification, and on-going assessment of those who are determined by professional nursing and…

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It’s time we talked about ‘dementia friendly communities’

shibley @legalaware :
“I’ve thought long and hard about the need to try not to dismiss worthy initiatives in dementia policy. For example, whilst I am concerned about the error rates of ‘false diagnosis’ of people with dementia, I would be equally concerned if NHS England did nothing to try to identify who the undiagnosed with dementia currently are.

Likewise, my natural instinct is to think about whether the charity sector is distorted with initiatives such as ‘Dementia Friends’. According to the Government’s website, by 2015, 1 million people will become Dementia Friends. The £2.4 million programme is funded by the Social Fund and the Department of Health. The scheme has been launched in England, and the Alzheimer’s Society is hoping to extend it to the rest of the UK soon. And that linking the global policy of dementia friendliness to one charity, when other similar initiatives exist (such as the Purple Angels, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, University of Stirling, WHO, and RSA) and may get unfairly ‘squeezed’.”