May it be granted the older you are

Hole Ousia

On the 26th of April 2016 I attended the Cross Party Group on Mental Health and Older People, Age and Ageing, held at the Scottish Parliament. The following is an  account of my experience of this meeting and some reflections on conversations that have followed it.

At the end of this post are included two papers that were submitted ahead of the Cross Party meeting: a paper by me entitled “May it be granted the older you are” and a paper by Mr Hunter Watson entitled “Psychoactive Medications”.

I have been to quite a number of Scottish Parliamentary Committee meetings but this was the first Cross Party Meeting I have attended. How welcome it was to see such a good turn out with a packed committee room. I am inclined to conclude that this indicates how important it is that we value our older generation. It was however unfortunate that other parliamentary business meant…

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My opinions about representing Clinical Psychology and the future of the British Psychological Society


I’ve probably been a member of the BPS for 20 years now, and with it the Division of Clinical Psychology and the Faculty for Children, Young People and their Families, and within that the network for Clinical Psychologists working with Looked After and Adopted Children (CPLAAC). I’ve been to the annual Faculty conference every year since I qualified, except for the one early in my maternity leave. I read some of the publications and I follow some of the social media. Over the last decade, I’ve done a long stint on the Faculty committee, and I’ve spent 5 years as chair of the CPLAAC network. I’ve responded to policy documents, represented them on committees, written papers and edited a periodical. So you’d think with all the energy and time I have put in that I am a great fan of the organisation.

Unfortunately, whilst I am hugely admiring of many…

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Making science a reality

Hole Ousia

It has been a long time since I last wrote on Hole Ousia about my activism for a science that strives for objectivity.

It is probably reasonable to suggest that no other in the British Isles has given more to this cause than I have.

I petitioned the Scottish Parliament to consider introducing a Sunshine Act for Scotland. Much evidence was gathered for this petition and this was then shared in a formal public consultation.

The Scottish public agreed, in majority, that payments from the pharmaceutical industry and device makers to healthcare professionals need to be declared on a mandatory basis. At the time, this landmark consultation was neither reported in the mainstream press nor the medical press. A year on the Scottish Government has provided no meaningful update.

It was thus with considerable interest that I read the following editorial in the current British Medical Journal:

The full…

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Insulin Coma Therapy

Hole Ousia

In a recent Psychiatric Bulletin, there was a fascinating Editorial about 90 year old Dr Harold Bourne and his “fight for justice with no fear of the consequences: one man taking on the mainstream medical profession in order to stop use of a treatment that had been harming and killing people across the world for more than a quarter of a century.”

Insulin Coma Therapy was once a treatment used for severe mental conditions. It was widely used.

Dr Bourne 1

After I read this Editorial, entitled “Dr Bourne’s identity – credit where credit’s due” I made a short film about this extraordinary story. I called my film Furor Therapeutica:

Furor Therapeutica – Insulin Coma Therapy from omphalos on Vimeo.

Here is Dr Harold Bourne:


And here is the start of his Lancet Editorial “The Insulin Myth” written when he was a junior doctor:


In my opinion, as a practicing NHS…

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Phenomenological colonialism: A few thoughts 

Race Reflections

On being taught my experience

A few months ago I was asked to speak at a community event on Fanon, decoloniality and radical mental health. There, I was approached, after my talk by a white man wishing to have a conversation. He said he wanted to invite me to a conference. We exchanged email addresses. When he later got in touch, he had made his way through Race Reflections on which he had posted half a dozen ‘private’ comments which he said were for my ‘benefit and learning’ only. Mainly, he was agreeing with my writing, indeed even commenting on the fact that I had a very good understanding of the issues. He elaborated on some ideas, and suggested some reading. All posts commented upon dealt with Black womanhood and my lived experience. That conference he had mentioned, he had no intention to invite me to speak. Instead, he wanted…

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