Chrys Muirhead

News Archive, Past Events

April 2016

HealingVoices movie Perth & Glasgow 29 Apr 16: overcoming psychosis & mental illness

HealingVoices movie on 29 April 2016 in the Memorial Chapel, Glasgow University, and at the same time in the AK Bell Library, Perth. Link to Storify of tweets.

"Healing Voices is a full-length documentary which explores the experiences commonly labelled as "psychosis" or "mental illness" through the real-life stories of individuals working to overcome extreme mental states" my storify of tweets re Perth viewing and from Glasgow folks Andrew, Hamish, Stella et al; here are a few:

July 2015

paradigm shift? @CoyneoftheRealm: Yes to an epiphany' post and response from Mary MacCallum Sullivan

25 July 2015 blog post link: paradigm shift? @CoyneoftheRealm: Yes to an epiphany

"A response to the Professor James Coyne seminar in the Division of Psychiatry, Kennedy Tower, Royal Edinburgh Hospital, on 22 July 2015, with the strapline 'BPS's Understanding psychosis and schizophrenia - a skeptic's perspective'."

Extracts "You don't know what it's like to have your agency taken away until it happens to you. The disempowerment and the injustice of being held down by at least 3 psychiatric nurses who pull your pants down and stick a needle into your backside [Hartwoodhill Hospital, Lanarkshire]. Forcing you to conform to the regime and to come out of a psychosis on their terms. Because you have felt the pain of induced childbirth and reacted to it by going into an altered mind state, to escape for a while. (thanks to Dr Samei Huda yesterday, and at other times, on twitter for engaging and helping me make sense of my puerperal and menopausal psychoses)."

"I am fortunate to have had many allies over the years when resisting the force and escaping the system. And these have included psychiatrists, up to this present day, one of whom is a very good friend and shares his life with me on a daily basis, with encouragement, treating me like an equal and demonstrating that very quality which I glimpsed in psychiatry back in 1970 when my mother was in the Kinnoull Ward of Murray Royal Hospital, Perth [Dr Peter J Gordon: Hole Ousia]."

And 1 September 2015 blog post response from Mary MacCallum Sullivan:

"Response to 'a newly qualified clinical psychologist working with people who've experienced psychosis and I worry about being part of a system that, for some at least, seems to have been more abusive than therapeutic. I wonder what your thoughts are about what the profession needs to do differently to be part of the change in the system that you envision?'

I have no intention here to speak on behalf of Chrys, but from my own experience as a psychotherapist and a person.

Chrys points out that, if you don't know what it's like 'to have your agency taken away'; if you haven't experienced 'an altered mind state', you should be listening to and respecting the person who has. She remarkably reveals: 'I trusted [mental health professionals] to take care of me as if they were my parents'.

Is it so surprising that she should resent being forced to take medication which radically damaged and curtailed her sense of self? ..." read complete response

reflecting on #CuparCab Ministers @ScotParl meeting 6 July, asking a question, engaging with MSPs at tea-time

"Nearly a week has gone by since I attended the Cabinet Ministers' meeting in Bell Baxter High School, Cupar, at 7pm on 6 July 2015, and networked with MSPs at the tea time afterwards.

I got there first, being early on the scene, apart from a guy with a camera on a large tripod who was taking shots outside. Others gathered behind me in the queue, most were SNP supporters wearing badges, some of whom were known to me from when I was in the party for a year, 2013. We chatted and I spoke of my intentions to stand next year as an independent candidate at the Scottish parliamentary elections. Not sure if this news went down well. ...."

[my question asked at 28.10mins in, responded to at 35.34mins]

"I was given an opportunity to ask a question and it was answered by the First Minister who said that the new IPCU will be like "night and day compared to what's there just now ... average length of stay 6wks". Maureen Watt MSP and Minister for Public Health mentioned my activism and campaigning, saying "I'd just like to recognise the tireless work you do" and "well done to you". She spoke of my presence at the Mental Health (Scotland) Bill debate in parliament on 24 June, and the Emails that she had received from me, copied in to other MSPs.

Maureen Watt also mentioned Jamie Hepburn MSP who is the first Minister for Mental Health in Scotland, along with Sport and Health Improvement, and his work on the Carers Bill. Ms Watt said that she met with a Carers group at Rufflets Hotel and topics of carers respite. At the tea time afterwards Ms Watt said she was an MSP in Hunter Watson's constituency.

At the tea-time I spoke to my own MSP Rod Campbell on a few occasions, one of which was when engaging with Maureen Watt MSP. I mentioned my intention to stand for parliament, which I'd informed Mr Campbell about previously. Saying I was compelled to do so because he hadn't spoken out for me in the parliament chamber or invited me in to speak on my own behalf. Mr Campbell said he had written many letters about my case, indicating with his hand movements a file that was very large.

Later on Michael Matheson MSP said that Rod Campbell would win in any battle with me in the parliamentary elections next May 2016. It was said jokingly, in banter, and I laughed in response, saying something about the might of SNP meant I would be up against it. For I don't expect to even get my deposit back. It will cost me, financially and energy wise, being an unwaged carer, a pensioner who lives in a council house. Yet I have lived in the Cupar area for over 25yrs, a community worker for 35yrs. I think this has to mean something in terms of representing people in communities and speaking out. From the grassroots.

I waited in the queue to speak to the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, nearly the last to do so, having let a man go before me because his wife asked. I spoke to the FM about a number of things, and I reminded Ms Sturgeon of speaking with her at the Cabinet Ministers' meeting in Kirkcaldy, 30 August 2011, when she was CabSec for Health, about the lack of Independent Advocacy in Fife. And then how in February 2012 my son was subject to human rights abuses in Stratheden Hospital's IPCU, the locked seclusion room, no toilet or water to drink, light switch outside.

All in all I found the Cupar Cabinet Ministers' meeting to be a positive experience and an opportunity to speak out and, hopefully, to be heard. It was good practice as I prepare to mount my own political campaign in the lead up to the Scottish Parliamentary elections in 2016, putting together a manifesto on mental health matters with an added focus on unwaged carers and the human rights of the mentally ill."

see complete Blog Post

May 2015

tweeting about the reality of psychiatric abuse to Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Mental Health @ScotParl

"On 12 May 2015 the Health and Sport Committee at Scottish Parliament will consider a petition by Andrew Muir, PE1550, on behalf of Psychiatric Rights Scotland, calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to set up a public inquiry into historical cases of abuse of people detained under the Mental Health (Scotland) Act 1984 and the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003.

See Papers for 12 May 2015 meeting of the Health and Sport Committee.

Here are my tweets from earlier, addressed to Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Mental Health, who gave a written response to this Petition which claimed that Mental Health Act safeguards were a protection in respect of the rights of psychiatric patients and that it was easy to make a complaint about psychiatric abuse. No it isn't. I can testify to that. Bullying is a reality. Notes by "professionals" which read like fiction."

See other tweets in Blog Post

February 2015

Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) page on my blog now in operation

"2 February 2015: have started up a page on my blog about Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS). From a critical viewpoint.

Listing blog posts already written which mention HIS and writing new pieces. The main impetus for highlighting their work is because of increasing concerns that senior management in HIS think themselves to be above scrutiny and not accountable to the public whom they (are meant to) serve. "

On 5 December 2014 I raised a complaint about the unprofessional behaviour of an HIS National Clinical Lead worker on social media, towards a Doctor friend and colleague. It looked like a character assassination attempt. My complaint was upheld in a letter from Robbie Pearson, Deputy Chief Executive, Director of Scrutiny & Assurance, Healthcare Improvement Scotland, sent 30 January 2015. I received an apology regarding the "incident".

[HIS Code of Conduct and Social Media Guidance for Staff]

See blog post: 'My Complaint to Healthcare Improvement Scotland about the Targeting of a Doctor by their National Clinical Lead'

Here is a link to the HIS Complaint in a News Bulletin pdf (front page capture above this post)

And to Dr Peter Gordon's Hole Ousia blog post: 'Why I have decided to leave Social Media', 7 February 2015

"Freedom to speak up" and a "Stronger voice" - Dr Peter J Gordon, Hole Ousia blog

Link to "Freedom to speak up" and a "Stronger voice" by Dr Gordon

"Last week Sir Robert Francis, QC, published this review:

"I was interested in this review given my recent experiences. In putting patients first I have always supported an open and honest culture. Recently I was fortunate to meet Richard Norris, Director of The Scottish Health Council:

"I fully support a stronger voice for all. A strong voice may also be a critical voice. These two separate reviews remind me of a rewarding partnership I have with Chrys Muirhead. I am a doctor and so the first review applies most to me. Chrys Muirhead is a carer and activist, and the second review applies most to her.

Our shared experience has been of the considerable difficulties we have each had in raising critical questions. In sharing our knowledge and experience we have, together, found greater empowerment. This has been an enlightening experience for me."

January 2015

'In personal consideration of the 3 R's: Resilience. Resistance. Recovery.' in DCP-Scotland Review

Thanks to Simon Stuart, Editor of the Division of Clinical Psychology, Scotland, Review, for inviting me to submit this piece to the Winter 2014/2015 edition, Issue 11. I had written it in the first place for Scottish Recovery Network but they don't accept "non-commissioned work". Simon noticed me tweeting about the piece being rejected (didn't mention by whom) and expressed an interest. I appreciated the communications with Simon and that my piece as written was published. No editing. A welcome relief. I don't like being edited.

Link to: In personal consideration of the 3 R's: Resilience. Resistance. Recovery. and to DCP-Scotland Review Winter 2014/2015

Capacity and Consent - Scottish Parliament has to act - Scottish Government has to serve and be accountable

An Email response I wrote to a mental health human rights campaigner who had sent his paper on Capacity and Consent which was "relevant to the two petitions" that he "submitted to the Public Petitions Committee". I was copied in to his Email along with a number of fellow campaigners, journalists, law experts, MSPs and others.

"I agree with you that "a conference that incorporated campaigners, mental health professionals, human rights experts and legal experts" makes perfect sense and would enable frank and honest discussions, all voices to be heard, more level playing fields and meaningful involvement.

I was excluded from the Scottish Patient Safety Programme for Mental Health (SPSP-MH) events from its inception until the present day. Why? Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) chair Denise Coia gave no full explanation and neither did Ruth Glassborow who used to work with Scottish Government and now works with HIS. The only reason given was that if I attended then "others" wouldn't attend. No good reason whatsoever. And then I received an Email from Dr Coia, apparently mistakenly sent to me, which talked about me. I also questioned the allocation of places for the IIMHL in Manchester, but as usual got no response.

I believe that I was excluded from patient safety events because of the dehumanising treatment perpetrated on my son in Stratheden Hospital in February 2012. At the time this happened I was a member of the Scottish Crisis and Acute Care Network Steering Group, whose co-leader was Dr David Hall, also lead on the SPSP-MH, The crisis steering group therefore was a party to all that happened with my son in the seclusion room of the Stratheden IPCU. There could have been no dubiety because I wrote blog posts about it at time, in detail ..."

Read complete Email

Dr David Christmas MD Thesis 'Functional neurosurgery for intractable mental disorder' and my blog post page of responses

"This page is devoted to a consideration of Dr David Christmas's MD Thesis 'Functional neurosurgery for intractable mental disorder: long term effects on mental health, neuropsychological performance, social function, and quality of life', December 2006."

[with a critical eye]

Part 3: going back to the abstract @dchristmas (the first cut is the deepest) (21 January 2015)


[A favourite song of mine from the Sixties:


Part 2: "unnecessary and groundless interventions" @dchristmas (30 December 2014)

Part 1: Christmas thesis strapline: "Functional neurosurgery for intractable mental disorder" (18 December 2014)

Email to fellow campaigner requesting a female psychiatric survivor be at his meeting with Minister Jamie Hepburn

"Here is a copy of an Email sent this morning (5 January 2015) to a fellow male human rights campaigner, and others. An exhortation to consider my request that a psychiatric survivor, a woman and a mother, be at the meeting with him and the Minister for Mental Health, Jamie Hepburn:

"Dear ..... I believe that there should be a psychiatric survivor at the meeting with the Minister on 5 February 2015. Preferably a woman and a mother. To give balance and also to speak from personal experience. I have to speak out about this to you, and the others, and can't keep quiet. I wouldn't have survived traumatic psychiatric treatment and the stigmatising labels if I'd allowed myself to be silenced.

The main issue about the psychiatric system and mental health law is that our voices are not being heard. The women, the mothers and the mental patients. It has been written, by feminist academics, that psychiatry treats everyone like women. That ECT is a gentleman's way of battering a woman. (see 2006 paper by Bonnie Burstow, 'Electroshock as a form of violence against women')

It is the voices of the survivors which have the power and should be heard, in my opinion. Those of us who did not believe in the lifelong mental illness labels or that we had to swallow the disabling psychiatric drugs, and then were forced to do so. Those of us who tapered the drugs and got out of the system, under our own steam, resisting the patriarchy and what was written about us "in the notes" ..."

Read complete post

My submissions to the Health and Sport Committee at Scottish Parliament as evidence in respect of the Mental Health (Scotland) Bill

First Submission: 'A Plea to Scottish Parliament: Fair and Just Treatment for All People in Psychiatric Settings'

Introduction: "The overarching objective of the Bill is stated in the policy memorandum as: "to help people with a mental disorder to access effective treatment quickly and easily."

I am looking for more than this. As a mother and carer of two sons with mental disorder labels I want to see:

  • The Mental Health Act implemented properly and monitored effectively in every Scottish Health Board area, including Fife where I live
  • Mental Health Act safeguards that are safe: in my family's experience we have found that advance statements were overruled, named persons (myself) were uninformed, Mental Health Tribunals were weighted in favour of "professionals", Mental Health Officers behaved unprofessionally and the Mental Welfare Commission were wise after the event and had no power to influence health boards to improve buildings that they had declared "unfit for purpose"
  • Carers, and mothers, respected by all mental health professionals, including Scottish Government civil servants and Healthcare Improvement Scotland
  • Patients not subject to dehumanising treatment and a denial of their basic human rights when locked up and locked in Scottish psychiatric units."

    On 29 September 2014 I received a decision letter from SPSO informing me that my complaint against NHS Fife Health Board (submitted to the Ombudsman on 17 September 2013) had been upheld. I had originally wanted the judgement to be about "human rights abuses and dehumanising treatment" but I was told by the SPSO adviser in September that the most I could hope for was "unreasonable treatment". Human rights abuses would have to go before a criminal court."

    Read complete first submission

    Second 6 page Submission: "it was my family's experience in February 2012 that the safeguards contained in the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 weren't safe"

    "Sometimes, when people are unwell, they may have to be detained in hospital or have treatment against their will. But they still have rights. We all have human rights, and mental health law contains special rights and safeguards to protect people." Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland

    Unfortunately it was my family's experience in February 2012 that the safeguards contained in the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 weren't safe.

    A family member who became an inpatient of an hospital's IPCU on 1 February 2012 knew the Act well as they were studying it for a BSc honours sociology 4th year dissertation at University, and therefore knew their rights (they graduated this summer 2014). As primary carer and named person I also knew what their rights and mine were. However our knowledge and experience carried little weight when they were detained under the Act in a locked seclusion room with no toilet or water to drink, for hours at a time, medicated with Midazolam ... "The Mental Health Act is based on a set of 10 Principles and at number 7:

    "Respect for carers - Those who provide care to service users on an informal basis should receive respect for their role and experience, receive appropriate information and advice, and have their views and needs taken into account"

    I contend that I was not accorded the respect as prescribed in the Act and was not given timely or appropriate information."

    Read complete second submission

    December 2014

    my comments on SRN article 'Stigma, recovery and Scottish attitudes to mental health' 15 December 2014

    Scottish Recovery Network article

    "As an unpaid carer and mother of two sons with mental health difficulties who are in receipt of DLA I can testify that stigma and discrimination is very much alive and kicking in Scotland, particularly in psychiatric settings and mental health services.

    Here is an example of a recent incident that happened to one of my sons who was given a work placement by a council employability project worker, within a social work office. On the second week of the placement my son was spotted by a Mental Health Officer who had worked with my son 18 months previously, hadn't seen him in the meantime.

    Outcome? The MHO spoke with the senior social worker overseeing the placement, and didn't include my son in the discussion. His workplace activities got curtailed, in case he overheard the MHO on the phone and breached confidentiality. Which is what the MHO did by her very actions, demonstrating perfectly by her actions stigma and discrimination. Our response? My son ended the placement and I raised a complaint."

    "To add. I have a schizoaffective disorder label/diagnosis in my "notes" after experiencing a menopausal psychosis in 2002, however I made a full recovery by 2005, putting my story on the SRN website.

    However in 2012 when one of my sons was a psychiatric inpatient it was written in his notes "family history of schizoaffective disorder" (me). I contend my label was used to stigmatise and discriminate against my son, in respect of his unreasonable treatment, my complaint recently upheld by the Ombudsman."

    HIS: "engaging in social media requires resource - a commonly held view that it is simple and easy to do is misleading"

    "Recently I had to take the step of making a complaint about a senior manager in Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) who I noticed was using Twitter inappropriately. To harass another healthcare professional who had different opinions and a questioning voice.

    I am very sensitive to this type of coercive behaviour, having been subjected to it myself on occasion by people in high positions who think that they are entitled to patronise, bully and exclude me because I speak out from an opposite viewpoint or with a critical voice.

    When making my complaint to the HIS Chief Executive I asked for a copy of their Social Media Policy. However I was informed that they "do not hold a formal policy on employee use of social media". Rather the HIS staff are guided by" their "code of conduct policy" and a "Social Media Guidance" document ...."

    Read complete blog post

    October 2014

    HOSPITAL HORRORS: my son speaks out in Scottish Sunday Express 5 October 2014: 'Patient locked in cell with no toilet, food or water'


    Page 5 strapline 'Psychiatric patient's treatment slammed': HOSPITAL HORRORS: Patient locked in cell with no toilet, food or water, Sunday Express, 5 October 2014, by Greg Christison

    "Stratheden Hospital, a mental health unit, has been heavily criticised by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) following a string of failures.

    The watchdog also reported that staff at the NHS facility dragged terrified Daniel Muirhead between wards in just his underwear and failed to appropriately monitor his wellbeing after he was dumped in a seclusion room.

    The Sunday Express understands the findings, which follow a year-long probe, will be handed to police for further investigation.

    Last night furious patient campaigners expressed their shock and disgust at the 11-page SPSO dossier, describing the treatment as "cruel".

    Mr Muirhead, who is now in better health, insisted psychiatric wards are "doing more harm than good"."

    "Dr Jean Turner, of the Scotland Patients Association, expressed "shock" and said she backed the family's plans to report the alleged human rights abuses to police.

    "This is no way to treat anyone, mental illness or not," she said.

    "I don't know what they were thinking; transferring someone with just their underpants on, and it is cruel to lock someone up for that amount of time without food or water.
    "It is inhumane."

    "Mr Muirhead, who admits he was suffering "mental distress" at the time, weaned himself off anti-psychosis drugs. He has since graduated in sociology from the University of Abertay.

    Despite his recovery, he is angry at the "dehumanising" way he was treated.

    He added: "The system is purporting to take care of patients and provide therapy but, in reality, they are treating patients in an undignified manner, as sub-humans."

    Read complete Sunday Express article

    Email from Geoff Huggins (Scottish Government) on 24 June 2014 that caused me pain, wounding me with its underlying blaming and shaming

    October 2014 Blog post introduction:

    "I received an Email from Geoff Huggins on 24 June 2014 at 17.07 which caused me pain with its underlying blaming and shaming of the person I am and the work that I do. It was a personal attack on my character, behaviour and intentions. Copied in to others.

    I contend that it was slanderous and defamatory. However I am an unpaid carer, on £61/week Carers Allowance, live in a council house, separated from my husband, supporting my son 24/7 after his dehumanising treatment in Stratheden Hospital, Fife, in February 2012. I can't afford to take my case against Geoff Huggins to a solicitor. I'm not on benefits and wouldn't be entitled to legal aid.

    You might describe me as "poor" in comparison to Scottish Government civil servants.

    This Email wounded me to the extent that I had to cancel my presentation on the Mental Health Act Safeguards at the INTAR Liverpool Conference the next day, 25 June, and then on 27 June my son had to call out the paramedics because I was feeling very unwell, linked to the high blood pressure condition I have, as a result of taking lithium.

    I was targeted with this Email because I had complained about being excluded from the Scottish Patient Safety Programme exchange with the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership. And was then left out of celebrations at Edinburgh Castle with leading Scottish politicians. It felt very unfair and unjust.... [unacceptable actions]"

    Read complete blog post and copy of Email

    Yvonne Strachan, Head of Equality, Human Rights and Third Sector at Scottish Government, investigated my complaint against Geoff Huggins, and here is Ms Strachan's final report.

    'NHS apology is 'just the start'' Fife Herald article, Friday 10 October 2014

    Online link to: NHS apology is 'just the start' Fife Herald article, Friday 10 October 2014

    Chrys Muirhead Interview Stratheden Hospital, Fife, STV News 6 October 2014

    I'm speaking out about my son's dehumanising treatment in Stratheden Hospital, near Cupar, in respect of my complaint against NHS Fife health board being upheld by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.

    I also mention being contacted by another mother two weeks previously whose son was in the Stratheden IPCU getting put in the seclusion room, having to sleep on a couch through the day when tired and not having ongoing access to water to drink. The mother asked me to put her Email in a blog post, which I did:
    Email from mother, subject "Ward 4" (Stratheden Hospital IPCU) - 21 September 2014

    Giving a short interview Health & Social Care Alliance conference 19 May 2014 #ourfuture14

    "Published on May 19, 2014: Chrys Muirhead, carer and activist talks about the importance of listening to people who use adult mental health services and storytelling."

    Prof David Healy's response to Mental Health (Scotland) Bill

    Here is a link to Professor David Healy's response to the Mental Health (Scotland) Bill on the Scottish Parliament website.

    "I was approached by Autism Rights to submit written evidence for the committee stage of the Mental Health (Scotland) Bill because of my professional profile. I agreed because of my concern at the reports and information I have received about the treatment of people who are on the autistic spectrum within the Scottish mental health system, including patients who have consulted me from Scotland. This information tallies with reports in the rest of the UK and indeed generally within Western mental health systems." p1

    "My main concern with mental health legislation is that it ignores the reality that, for many, the treatments do not work as intended and when this is the case the results can be destructive to the person's physical and mental wellbeing. This reality makes any provisions about the `medical necessity` of treatment in a system that can enforce treatment questionable unless there is a properly independent system that can advocate for the patient and their carer. At present there is no such system." p2

    "It is not generally known that 80% of the problems that are identified with drugs are identified by patients and their carers and sometimes their doctors, not by clinical trials. Randomised Clinical Trials (RCTs) are in fact not designed to pick up on adverse events and are the Gold Standard way to hide adverse events."p3

    "As legislators, MSPs have a duty to take a balanced selection of evidence. I would be very happy to elaborate on the points above both as they apply to the psychotropic drugs given to people within mental health systems and as they might also apply to any drugs given to MSPs at present. There is a pressing need for some healthcare system to find a way to ensure that the rights all patients are acknowledged to have in principle are realized in practice. No legislation anywhere to date has found an answer to this issue - because no legislators have in fact addressed it." p4

    Read complete Response

    Herald Editor supports Dr Peter Gordon's Sunshine Act Petition

    "Here is the editorial from Sunday Herald, 18 May 2014, supporting Dr Peter Gordon's Sunshine Act Petition:

    The Utmost Discretion: How Presumed Prudence Leaves Children Susceptible to Electroshock

    Cheryl van Daalen-Smith, Simon Adam, Peter Breggin, Brenda A. LeFrancois
    Children & Society Volume 28, (2014) pp. 205-217

    "This article examines the controversial and largely publicly undocumented practice ofadministering electroconvulsive therapy (ECT or electroshock) to children who are undergoing psychiatric treatment. Conventional psychiatric beliefs and practices are challenged, along with a presentation of the history of scientific research which questions electroshock's 'effectiveness' and outlines its brain-damaging and incapacitating effects.

    As such, we provide counterarguments regarding the legitimacy of ECT as a treatment option, deconstructing the principle ofpresumed prudence in its use. Our analysis leads us to conclude that the 'principle of presumed prudence' should be eschewed in favour of the 'precautionary principle', in order to underscore and uphold the medical ethos 'to do no harm' and to ensure the application of children's rights within the psychiatric system."
    c2014 John Wiley a Sons Ltd and National Childrell's Bureau
    Keywords: children, electroshock, consent, psychiatry, rights, precautionary principle.

    Read complete article

    November 2013

    UCC Conference Meanings of Madness: Critical and Creative Perspectives 13 & 14 November 2013

    A Two-Day Conference, Meanings of Madness: Critical and Creative Perspectives, was held on 13 & 14 November 2013 in University College Cork, organised by the Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery & the School of Applied Social Studies UCC, in association with the Critical Voices Network Ireland. Conference organisers are Lydia Sapouna and Harry Gijbels (see photo).

    "The conference speakers include people with experiences of madness or distress as well as academics, researchers and practitioners. This conference focuses on madness as a meaningful human experience.

    Madness is a word that continues to invite controversy, with some perceiving it to be a derogatory term, others perceiving it as a celebration of human creativity and diversity, whilst others position themselves somewhere in the middle. The dominant biomedical view of madness has led to responses that are primarily, and often exclusively, of a biochemical nature, in which the significance of meaning and life contexts are generally ignored."

    "Keynote Speakers include Liz Brosnan, PhD, Survivor Researcher, Galway, Ireland; Gail A. Hornstein, Professor of Psychology, Mount Holyoke College (Massachusetts, USA); John Read, Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Liverpool, England; Doug Ross, artist, founding member of Renew. Teresa Tuohy, Health Research Board funded PHD Candidate, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.

    Conference Programme

    October 2013


    Scottish Crisis & Acute Care Network'Improving Pathways' conference

    On 29 October 2013 in the Golden Lion Hotel, Stirling, the Scottish Crisis & Acute Care Network held its annual conference 'Improving Pathways'. Here is a link to the Conference Programme.


    Carers Parliament Edinburgh


    I attended the second Carers Parliament on 1 October 2013 in the Hub, Castlehill, Edinburgh, along with a hundred or more carers, about 80% of us women, and some from other countries in Europe. The Programme theme was 'Your Rights' and First Minister Alex Salmond was the surprise keynote speaker, intimating the launch that day of the Statement of Intent for Carers and Young Carers.

    August 2013

    Reframing Psychosis

    I was invited to write an article for the Mental Health Nursing Journal and it was published in the August/September 2013 edition, Vol 33, Number 4: 'I would like to see a reframing of psychosis'.

    (original copy).

    "I have a particular interest in the experience of psychosis or what used to be called having a nervous breakdown, and this is because I and all my close family members have experienced a psychotic episode, on one or more occasions. You might describe it as normal for us. However the challenge has always been the psychiatric inpatient treatment with its reliance on diagnoses, medication and compliance. Or labelling and disabling as I like to call it.

    It's fair to say that I have never believed psychiatry, since 1970 and aged 17, when I visited my mother in the Kinnoull locked ward at Murray Royal Hospital, Perth. I knew then that something wasn't right with the treatment of mad people and that locking everyone in together couldn't be the best way of doing things. The psychiatrists said I had an old head on young shoulders when I used to meet with them to discuss my mother."

    July 2013

    It began with Peer Support and now I'm a Writer, Activist and Campaigner

    I was recently invited by the South London and Maudsley (SLaM) NHS Foundation Trust's Peer Led Recovery Project to be keynote speaker - expert from out of town - at their Peer-Led Recovery Project event 'Peer Support: How do we make it part and parcel of all our mental health services?'. It was held on 18 July in the new Maudsley Ortus Learning Centre, an impressive building and useful resource. The debate and discussion included a peer support learning network proposal.

    'It began with Peer Support and now I'm a Writer, Activist and Campaigner' was the presentation title, although I diverted from the script at points and went over time (apologies Penelope). There were over 100 peers at the lunch and discussions. It was good to catch up with various folks, including some who had attended our Peer Support Fife Sharp Edge event. I'd flown down and back on the day, catching the train to Denmark Hill and walking through the Maudsley Hospital grounds, in a heatwave. Managed to grab a tea break in the morning at St Paul's, walking in the shade from Farringdon station via Smithfield Market, getting lost on the way.

    Other speakers were Simon Rayner, head of Pathway at SLaM who'd organised the trip of 11 SLaM folk to Fife in 2011, and Gabrielle Richards, head of OT and lead for social inclusion, who spoke about the SLaM Recovery College.

    November 2012

    29 November 2012 London - Save the Babies: Occupy the Royal College of Psychiatrists


    I joined the protest by Speak Out Against Psychiatry on 29 November 2012 at the Hallam Conference Centre, 44 Hallam Street, London, W1W 6JJ. Arriving at about 3.15pm to see Cheryl and other brave women standing up for the rights of pregnant women and their unborn children, to be given alternatives to psychiatric drugs and ECT/shock treatment. See blog post bringing in the heavies at the perinatal psychiatry conference

    Having a baby is an emotional time and it's the same after childbirth. I can testify to this, having had postatal episodes of mental ill health, in 1978 and 1984, resulting in psychiatric hospitalisation, forced treatment and numbing anti-psychotics. Which meant not being able to breastfeed or to experience the full joys of motherhood and a new baby. Childbirth for me was all about chemical induction, bringing my baby into the world on the day shift, when more nurses were on duty. Staff centred care, just like in the psychiatric system, in my opinion.

    RCPsych Conference on Perinatal Psychiatry Programme

    Video - Kidnapped By Psychiatry

    An account of what is was like ending up in a psychiatric hospital and after trying to get away the nurses broke Cheryl's arm and threatened to give her ECT. Cheryl's eight day nightmare that still haunts her over three years later.
    See Video

    October 2012

    Pat Bracken Video on the Crisis in Psychiatry

    at the Forum for Existential Psychology and Therapy

    "Psychiatrist Pat Bracken speaks on the current "crisis of legitimacy in psychiatry" and the growth of the international service user movement at the Forum for Existential Psychology and Therapy in June. The root cause of the crisis is not attributable to psychopharmacology or "a few mistakes in the DSM" that more research would get right, Dr Bracken argues; the root cause lies deep in the dominant paradigm; a "modernist" agenda to frame all human problems in scientific and technological terms. Dr. Bracken supports a post-modernist view; an understanding of the limitations and dangers of such an approach, and accepting that some human problems will not be solved by science and technology, and that mental health is such a problem."

    "psychiatry came into the world on the back of an act of social exclusion ... original sin already built in"

    See video link from Mad in America website.

    July 2012

    Stratheden Hospital Blog


    I've started up a new blog on Stratheden Hospital, Cupar, Fife, to report on environmental improvements to the grounds. This psychiatric hospital is in a rural situation with views across the countryside. There is a mix of buildings, some very old and still in use, others empty and boarded up.

    The photo shows new build wards Elmview and Muirview, for elderly patients.

    March 2012

    Giving Psychosis a Voice Conference

    A one-day conference 'Giving Psychosis a Voice 2' was held on Thursday 8 March 2012 at Dunston Hall, Norwich - understanding the experiences that have come to be called psychosis can allow people the opportunity to talk about them in relation to their lives. This event followed on from the 2010 international conference, where they explored how finding meaning in psychosis could be a fundamental way of challenging stigma. Themes for the 2012 event included: managing distress, trauma, recovery, formulation, latest research regarding psychosis and working with people's creativity.

    Speakers:

  • Dirk Corstens - Social Psychiatrist & Psychotherapist, LavOri, Maastricht
  • Rachel Waddingham - London Hearing Voices Project Manager
  • Eleanor Longden - Intervoice Scientic Board Co-ordinator
  • Jacqui Dillon - Chair of the UK Voice Hearers' Network
  • Phil Barker - Visiting Professor, Trinity College Dublin and Honorary Professor, University of Dundee
  • Lucy Johnstone - Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Cwm Ta Health Board
  • Rufus May - Clinical Psychologist - Bradford Assertive Outreach Team
  • Robin Murray - Professor of Psychiatric Research at the Institute of Psychiatry

    See Conference Presentations

    February 2012

    The Manifesto of a Noncompliant Mental Patient - Aubrey Ellen Shomo

    Diagnosed with a psychotic disorder at eight years old, transgendered essayist Aubrey Ellen Shomo (born Justin Michael Shomo) would spend most of the next decade on neuroleptic medication - over her vocal objections - and would be hospitalized repeatedly. Upon reaching adulthood, furious with the treatment she received for so long and her own powerlessness in the face of it, she became a psychiatric survivor activist.

    "I see it everywhere: People with mental illness need medication. It sounds reasonable.
    Today, there are even political organizations that seek to make it easy to force a person to take it.
    It's easy to look at another and assume things like that. It's human. After all, it's compassionate to help someone who isn't able to ask for help, right? They'll thank you in the long run, won't they?
    No one asks why their child, or sibling or friend refuses to take their meds. Why bother? It's an illness. It's meaningless. The doctors say so. They know these things.
    Have you ever questioned the logic of the phrase "She wouldn't be refusing medication if she wasn't ill"?
    I am a noncompliant mental patient. I have been for years. I beg you. Ask why.
    Look into my eyes and see me. Try to understand where I'm coming from. Even a crazy person has a human will.
    I am someone's sibling, someone's child, and someone's friend. I could be yours ....
    "

    This essay was first published in Open Minds Quarterly, Spring 2007 Issue.
    Read Complete Essay

    The management of violence in general psychiatry

    'The management of violence in general psychiatry' by Sophie E. Davison, Advances in Psychiatric Treatment (2005), vol 11, 362-370:

    "Abstract - There is increasing concern about the level of violence within mental healthcare settings. In this article I review what is known on this subject, discuss the relationship between mental disorder and violence and summarise the different ways to prevent and manage violence. When planning strategies to prevent violence in such settings it is important to consider not only patient risk factors but also risk factors in the environment. Staff need to have all the possible techniques for managing violent behaviour available to them in order to weigh up the risks and benefits for any specific patient in any particular situation."

    Read Article

    November 2011

    Robert Whitaker Lecture Cupar Fife November 2011


    Robert Whitaker, USA author of Anatomy of an Epidemic, gave a public lecture in Elmwood College, Cupar, Fife, on 19 November 2011 - see Video of event.

    "According to conventional histories of psychiatry, the arrival of Thorazine in asylum medicine in 1955 kicked off a 'psychopharmacological revolution' Yet, since 1955, the disability rate due to mental illness in the United States has risen more than six-fold. Moreover, this epidemic of disabling mental illness has accelerated since 1987, when Prozac - the first of the "second-generation" drugs - arrived on the market. This increase in disability is also being seen in other countries that have embraced the use of psychiatric drugs: Canada, UK, Ireland, Iceland, Australia and New Zealand, among others. A review of the long-term outcomes literature for psychiatric medications reveals why this is so. The 'medical model' paradigm of care, which emphasises continual use of psychiatric medications, is a failed paradigm, and needs to be dramatically re-thought." Robert Whitaker
    www.madinamerica.com


    Prof Phil Barker and Poppy Buchanan-Barker, who live in Fife and were born and raised here, opened and closed our event. Their Tidal Model "helps people reclaim the personal story of mental distress, by recovering their voice. By using their own language, metaphors and personal stories people begin to express something of the meaning of their lives. This is the first step towards helping recover control over their lives".
    tidal-model.com

    September 2011

    At the Sharp Edge - Peer Led Crisis Alternatives Event


    Photo, right to left, Shery Mead, Chris Hansen, Karen Taylor, Ron Coleman, Jacquie Nicholson.

    We organised a dialogue event on peer led crisis alternatives - At the Sharp Edge - on Tuesday 20 September 2011 in the Carnegie Conference Centre, Dunfermline. Peer Support Fife and SAMH (scottish association for mental health) hosted the occasion and over 70 delegates joined us on the day. We welcomed guest speakers Shery Mead and Chris Hansen, USA; Ron Coleman and Karen Taylor, Scotland, and Working to Recovery Ltd; Fiona Venner, manager of the Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service; Jacquie Nicholson, Manager of the Edinburgh Crisis Centre; Jan Cameron, Manager of Redhall Walled Garden.

    June 2011

    Billy Wallace is now at Lands End!

    Our friend and colleague Billy Wallace from Tynron in Dumfries & Galloway started his marathon bike ride from John O'Groats to Lands End on 4 June to promote mental health awareness and well being, challenging stigma and raising money for the charity Support in Mind Scotland. Billy has supported many of our events by coming to Fife and taking part in workshops and training around peer support, recovery and service user involvement. He is a passionate believer in the benefits of peer support and demonstrates this by sharing his 'lived experience' with others on a voluntary basis in his home area and through the Kaleidoscope project in Dumfries.

    May 2011

    Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service Visit

    Ross Hatten and Chrys Muirhead visited Dial House, home of the Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service. The main work is done out of hours with a phone helpline on evenings and a drop-in service at weekends until 2.00am. Families in crisis are welcome and many visitors are helped to cope with crisis, suicidal thoughts and self harm. More information about this project from their website - www.lslcs.org.uk

    Soteria Network members Jen Kilyon and Theresa Smith are carers and activists who have worked tirelessly with many others to "promote progressive approaches to people experiencing extreme states, distress, 'breakdown' or 'psychosis'"and to fundraise for a Soteria House in the UK. See more info on website - www.soterianetwork.org.uk

    March 2011

    Mary O'Hagan Workshop


    Mary O'Hagan delivered a superb masterclass for managers and workshop for stakeholders in St Andrews, Fife, on 28 March 2011. Friends and colleagues joined us from Fife and many areas of Scotland. Roseanne Fearon, Head of Adult Services, Social Work Service, Fife Council, gave the opening address, and John Sawkins read from his book and poetry collection. There were many opportunities for learning and networking - a day to remember.

    See Feedback Report and Mary's Powerpoint Presentation.

    Mary O'Hagan's experience includes being an initiator of the service user movement in New Zealand, the first chair of the World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry, an advisor to the United Nations and World Health Organization, and a Mental Health Commissioner for New Zealand. Mary is presently an international speaker, consultant and writer, and a thought leader on service user perspectives.

    More information on Mary's websites:
    www.maryohagan.com
    www.wellbeingrecovery.com

    London and Ireland Visits

    Chrys Muirhead, PS Fife Convener, has recently travelled to London and Ireland to hear and meet innovative international speakers on mental health topics:

  • Goldsmiths College, University of London, was the venue for the UK film premiere of Mere Folle, crazy mother movie, based on the book History Beyond Trauma by Francoise Davoine and Jean-Max Gaudillierre. The Parisian authors are psychoanalysts who have worked with people in crisis for over 30 years and hold advanced degrees in the classics - French, Latin and Greek literature - and doctorates in sociology.

  • Robert Whitaker, American investigative reporter and author, was speaking at Athlone Institute, Ireland - a presentation on the findings reported in his new book Anatomy of an Epidemic. Bob laid before us the evidence about psychiatric drugs and their propensity to create chronicity in the long term. There was an opportunity to ask questions and to meet up with Irish colleagues who are establishing a Network of Critical Voices in Mental Health.

    More information about these books on the Recommended Reading page.

    Solution Focused Approaches Workshop

    Steve Smith, Lecturer at Robert Gordon University, facilitated a workshop on Solution Focused Approaches at Cupar, Fife, on 28 February and 1 March 2011. People who use and have used services, and their carers, participated in this event and found it to be a very useful tool in both their own recovery and in helping others to keep well.

  • Read about solution focused interactions on the RGU website
  • information about the Module Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SCQF Level 9)
  • and the follow-on Module Application of Solution Focused Brief Therapy to Practice.

    Workshop at SCVO's The Gathering

    Chrys Muirhead facilitated a workshop Having a Voice and Making a Difference at The Gathering, Scottish Council for Voluntary Sector's national event in the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on Wednesday 23 February 2011. It was good to share stories of mental health involvement and the challenges faced in participating in service design and delivery.

    February 2011

    Tidal Newsletter Cupar Workshop

    The February edition of the Tidal Newsletter from Phil Barker and Poppy Buchanan-Barker contained a write up, on pages 5 and 6, of the Cupar Tidal workshop held in January 2011:
    "All the stories featured in this issue of the Newsletter address reclamation, in one form or another. Each story reminds us of the personal nature of reclamation: taking back something which has a particular meaning for the person."

    Prof Phil Barker book - Mental Health Ethics - is described with reviews from the Amazon website

    January 2011

    Tidal Model Workshop Appreciation

    On 20 & 21 January 2011 Phil Barker and Poppy Buchanan-Barker skilfully captained a workshop over 2 days in Cupar, Fife - a journey through the Tidal Model with ports of call on the way. The recruits set sail on a voyage of discovery, having made their way from the north and the south, becoming more than participants as they considered solutions. The realisation dawned on us that, although we were travellers together, it was up to each of us to carry our own load, to be strengthened for the journey and to encourage others to do the same.

    Our photo shows some of the crew and the good fun we all had!

    Thanks to Phil and Poppy for an informative and thought-provoking experience, and to everyone who took part and expecially to those who were there to the finish. A flavour of the comments:
    "I had a ball listening and speaking with everyone"
    "Phil and Poppy were great to listen to ... very inspiring!"
    "I had a great time and the group there was excellent
    "

    www.tidal-model.com

    November 2010

    Acute Inpatient Care Workshop

    Thirteen participants braved the wintry weather, coming from Dumfries, Dundee, Perth and other parts of Fife to share information and experiences at the 3rd PS Fife user carer involvment workshop in Cupar which had a focus on acute inpatient care. The guest speaker was Carolyn Little, Project Co-ordinator, User Carer Involvement Dumfries & Galloway.

    October 2010

    29 October User Carer Involvement Workshop

    Thanks to everyone who came along and participated in our user carer involvement workshop on Friday 29 October 2010 in Cupar Old Parish Centre. There were 26 of us taking part, including guest speakers from the Highland Users Group - Graham Morgan and a HUG member who travelled from Skye, and friends from Dumfries, Glasgow, Falkirk, Crieff, Perth and Dundee. Read Graham's Talk and 29 October workshop report.

    This event followed on from our Mary O'Hagan workshop in May, see 14 May feedback report, and we explored the resources, training and networks that enable the involvement of users and carers in mental health service planning and provision.

    September 2010

    The Triangle of Care: Carers Included

    The Triangle of Care - Carers Included: A Best Practice Guide in Acute Mental Health Care was launched at a reception at the House of Commons on July 28th. The publication is the result of collaboration between The Princess Royal Trust for Carers (PRTC) and The National Mental Health Development Unit (NMHDU) and the title refers to the essential 3-way relationship between professionals, service users, their carers and families. The guide emphasises the need for better local strategic involvement of carers and families in the care- planning and treatment of people experiencing mental ill-health and calls for better partnership working between service users, their carers and providers of services in order to achieve the best possible outcomes.

    August 2010

    SQA Peer Support PDA Link

    Here is the link on the SQA (Scottish Qualifications Authority) website to the documents relating to the Mental Health Peer Support PDA (professional development award) - www.sqa.org.uk. The Arrangements document gives various information about the rationale for the award's development, aims, delivery, learning materials etc.

    The 2 new unit specifications for the Mental Health Peer Support PDA (professsional development award) - Recovery Context and Developing Practice - are Higher National (HN) units and can be undertaken individually. The learning/teaching materials are being written and the award was launched in August.

    It is encouraging to note the referencing of the strengths model pioneered at the University of Kansas and Shery Mead's website MentalHealthPeers.com

    Buckhaven Peer Support Workshop

    Thanks to everyone who attended our recent PS Workshop in Buckhaven Community Centre funded by the Kirkcaldy & Levenmouth Local Mental Health Partnership. Chrys Muirhead facilitated and was supported by a volunteer who lives in the Levenmouth area. It was encouraging to welcome friends from Fife, Glasgow, Dumbarton and Dumfries, many of them people who are working in a peer support role and promoting the model in their areas. The sharing of experience and information was positive for everyone present.

    May 2010

    Mary O'Hagan Workshop Went Well!

    Over 40 delegates took part in our user/carer involvement workshop with Mary O'Hagan, NZ, faciliating, on 14 May 2010 in the Cupar Old Parish Centre - 'having a voice and making a difference!'. Friends joined us from the Dundee, Perth and Falkirk areas, sharing experiences of involvement from a service user and carer perspective. Mary spoke of her own experiences using services and of being a leader with others in the planning and provision of services, challenging tokenism and setting agendas rather than fitting in with decisions already made. It is hoped to have follow-up meetings, an opportunity to encourage and share experience(s).

    See Mary's website and 14 May Feedback Report.

    Caledonia Clubhouse Falkirk Visit

    The visit arranged to the Caledonia Clubhouse in Falkirk went well, visitors were inspired by the member-led model and asked lots of appropriate questions. Thanks to Alison Ferguson, Manager, and her team for their warm welcome and hosting the visit. There were comments about how they could not differentiate between members and paid workers, the benefits of the open door policy where people can access all areas of the Clubhouse and how everyone takes part in activities, from reception work to preparing meals to learning IT skills and having a work placement or transitional employment. Here is a link to My Clubhouse Journey, an inspiring story of hope and recovery from Annette Callow, a member of the Caledonia Clubhouse, Falkirk.

    March 2010

    Promoting Inclusion Workshop

    Funding from Fife Council and NHS Fife enabled PS Fife to host a Promoting Inclusion Workshop on 10 & 11 March 2010 in the Council Chambers, Town House, Kirkcaldy - see Poster. We invited Peter Bates, Head of Mental Health and Community Inclusion at the National Development Team for Inclusion, to facilitate. Peter wrote With Inclusion in Mind, the local authority's role in promoting wellbeing and social development. In November 2008 Fife Council held an event to introduce this guidance, attended by local representatives from mental health groups, also facilitated by Peter Bates. Chrys Muirhead had presented at this event on her experience of recovery and getting back into the community.

    February 2010

    Peer Support Workshop 24 March

    We held another Workshop on Peer Support in Contact Point, Kirkcaldy, on Wednesday 24 March 2010, from 1.00pm to 4.00pm, see Programme. The previous PS workshop on 17 February went very well, 15 participants from a variety of backgrounds took part in discussions and feedback including the role of PS, definitions of recovery, benefits to those in the PS relationship and boundaries/risks.

    January 2010

    AGM Thanks!

    Thanks to friends and colleagues who supported our AGM and made the evening such an interesting and enjoyable one! We have added to our committee and gained supporters with a wide range of experience, skills and insight. Thanks also go to Wendy McAuslan, VOX Development Co-ordinator, for her interactive presentation on the benefits of Peer Support to mental health and employability. We all learnt more about each other and our own strengths.

    2009

    December 2009

    WRAP

    Wellness Recovery Action Plan is a self management tool for staying well and for helping you to feel better when not well. Scottish Government's mental health improvement plan, Towards a Mentally Flourishing Scotland, promotes self directed approaches to recovery and mentions WRAP.

    WRAP was developed in the USA by Mary Ellen Copeland, in response to her own challenges of living with mental ill health, and in consultation with others. It helps us look at what we are like when well, what we do on a regular basis to keep well, and action plans for coping with triggers, things that happen and are outwith our control. The crisis plan is a document that can be included in the Advance Statement and shared with supporters who may be friends, colleagues or family.

    What is WRAP?

    November 2009

    Peer Support Fife Bulletin - First Issue!

    'Read all about it' in our first News Bulletin, including a write-up of the United We Stand event with photographs. There are also articles on peer support, WRAP and recovery, news about funding and quotes courtesy of the Pathways to Recovery workbook from the the University of Kansas.

    October 2009

    United We Stand 14 October 2009

    More than 80 people joined us at Elmwood College, Cupar, on 14 October at our mental health networking event United We Stand, demonstrating that there is strength in unity and the importance of having a voice and making a difference. Graham Morgan MBE, keynote speaker, inspired delegates as he described the work of the Highland Users Group, mentioning the importance of 'fair and just lives' and the 'solidarity of a shared bond'. Wendy McAuslan from the national service user organisation Voices of Experience was the final speaker, helping to gather feedback on potential development areas around networking and user/carer involvement.

    Workshops numbered 14, including NHS Fife projects - Playfield Institute, Moodcafe, Gemini Team & Tidal Model developments; Angus Mental Health Association; Barony Contact Points; Fife Council Social Work Service; Going Forth SAMH; LINK Adolescent Befriending East Fife; Mental Health Network Greater Glasgow; Scotia Clubhouse & friends; User Carer Involvement Dumfries & Galloway.
    Here is the Programme and Event Summary.
    And a link to Graham's talk: Graham's keynote address

    August 2009

    Workshops on Peer Support

    We are planning some awareness-raising workshops in Fife, on the Peer Support model in the mental health setting. Topics will include 'what is PS?', the benefits of PS, skills & experience required for effective PS, boundaries and risks. The first Workshop will be on 2 September at Going Forth, SAMH, Dunfermline.

    March 2009

    IIMHL Brisbane Conference & Auckland Exchange

    After 24hrs flying Chrys Muirhead has returned from her trip of a lifetime to Australia and New Zealand for the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership conference and exchange. The main highlights - meeting mental health activists, sharing experiences and seeing some sights. There was an opportunity to attend a Peer Support workshop led by Gene Johnson of Recovery Innovations which was also attended by Cupar, Fife, colleague Christina Cooper of the TODAY Group, which provide collective advocacy in Fife for people with mental health difficulties.

    January 2009

    More Peer Support Training

    Chrys Muirhead facilitated another PS workshop at Turning Point Scotland, Glasgow which included discussions around user involvement in service design and delivery.

    November 2008

    Peer Support Workshops in Glasgow

    Chrys Muirhead delivered Peer Support one day and two day follow up workshops to service users and staff at Turning Point Scotland in Glasgow, using the 'Pathways to Recovery' workbook from the University of Kansas for activities.

    August 2008

    First WRAP Training

    On Monday 11 August 2008 the first 'Introduction to WRAP - Wellness Recovery Action Planning' workshop was held in the Rothes Halls, Glenrothes, Fife, facilitated by Chrys Muirhead and Eric Nicol, Recovery Impact Worker with Turning Point Scotland.

    June 2008

    WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Planning) Facilitator Training

    Chrys Muirhead completed the WRAP facilitator training in Edinburgh, delivered by Stephen Pocklington, Copeland Center, and Rona McBrierty. It was an opportunity to share with others, develop relationships and hear about this user led self management tool. Further information about WRAP is on the Recovery page.

    April 2008

    Celebrating Recovery! conference does what it says!

    Celebrating Recovery at Elmwood College on 10 April 2008 was attended by over 120 people, from Scotland and England. Taking part were Chrys Muirhead, conference organiser and Convener PS Fife, opening speakers Prof Phil Barker and Poppy Buchanan-Barker on their Tidal Model of recovery and reclamation; workshops from Ron Coleman, Moira Gillespie and Tommy Black, Greater Glasgow Mental Health Network, Edinburgh Crisis Centre, Horsecross Community drama group, Falkirk District Association for Mental Health with final address by Susan Archibald, disability rights activist and vote of thanks from Simon Bradstreet, Scottish Recovery Network Director.