Saturday, 3 September 2011

September Newsletter.

Dear Friends,

Please find the reminder and invitation to our monthly FEEL meeting, taking place as usual on the 3rd Monday 6.30-8.30pm, the 19th of September at LARC 62, Fieldgate Street, Whitechapel E1 1JS

There's two birthdays to celebrate this month and in two months FEEL itself counts FOUR years of activity!!! Time to celebrate our achievements.

We might have not changed much in the stiff, ultra-branded MH system that blood-feeds on the loonies, but hopefully some people might have seen some light at the end of their tunnel and started questioning their actual health, the care they receive and the quality of life that is rewarded as high fidelity members of the 'special club' of the insane.

Might collective and unconditional research bring effective solutions to good mental health and defeat the money making interests of big-pharma and the likes that have been reigning in the system for far too long

Some more info and dates for your diaries to follow.

Thank you for reading.

Best wishes,


Saturday the 3rd of September, today...
It's time to celebrate The Liberty Festival, an annual event that praise the contribution of disabled people in London's culture - is held at London's Southbank Centre and National Theatre. Follow the link

CoolTan Arts’will be offering guided Largactyl Shuffle walks (45 minutes each) across the Southbank site, explore the psycho-geography of the Southbank and find out more about access for disabled people within built architectural spaces of the 1950s. In conjunction with the Liberty Festival and the 60th Anniversary celebrations of the Festival of Britain, we will look back at the treatment of people experiencing mental distress in the 1950s, when the anti-psychotic drug Largactil (Chlorpromazine) was invented, contrasting the 1950s to the present day.
Join this exciting walk, explore the inside and outside of the Southbank site, including the Royal Festival Hall, Hayward Gallery and National Theatre, and discover the history of disability and mental health through the Largactyl Shuffle. Look out for bright orange CoolTan Arts’ balloons. If you can’t find the walkers,
please call CoolTan on 0798 565 8443.

Monday the 5th of September Friends of St Clements are meeting for the monthly meeting at Mile End Hospital, mental health unit, ask at the reception for directions. Starts at 4.30pm. A promising agenda for an interesting meeting including the proposal for the sensory room in the hospital premises.


Professor Harrington is calling for evidence in order to complete his second review of the WCA. This is particularly important to us as this year he will be reviewing parts of the test that are relevant to people claiming ESA on mental health grounds. The MHRN will want to submit evidence so please send us your views and experience of the WCA. The deadline for this evidence is 16 September 2011, so we have plenty
of time but we want it to be as thorough as possible. Mail

Those of you interested in blood being spilt from Atos may like this.The General Medical Council is investigating 12 Atos docs for malpractice in benefits assessments. Article on The Guardian


Hi everyone,
I'm trying to let as many people as possible know about the 2 national protests both of which will now be led by TUC at Lib Dem and Tory party conferences.
-Lib Dems Birmingham September 18th
-Tory party Manchester October 2nd. 
We want to try to make these as big as possible. As TUC haven't quite got their leaflets up and running please find attached  the one we're currently using. Details of transport are at We're currently asking TUC about providing accessible transport.
Please can you pass this information onto anyone else you know who may be able to come.
Linda, DPAC Ph. 01926 842253


The kissit! XX Campaign against psychiatric assault
The 'kissit! XX Campaign' was an active force in challenging abuse in the mental health system. It now exists as a permanent website archive. Aidan Shingler, one of the major movers behind this campaign, now
undertakes campaign  work through writing, art work and performance. An eight-part film he produced, 'Exposing psychiatry - Only Smarties have the Answer', which highlights the issue of psychiatric assault through puppetry and barbed humor, is available on YouTube. Links to each part of this film are available here


In a few days your MP has to vote on the biggest proposed changes to our NHS since 1948. keep the pressure on


Volunteer Centre Camden (VCC) is looking for befrienders to meet with isolated Camden residents with mental health issues. VCC particularly welcomes people with personal experience of mental health issues. You will be matched with one person, meeting up weekly for a couple of hours over a 6-month period. You will decide together what activities to do; perhaps you could go for a bike ride, have a coffee, go for a walk and much more. Some people may just need the company at home. Training workshops take place in September and you will receive supervision once you are matched. If you would like to know more, please contact Diana
Young at Volunteer Centre Camden on 020 7424 9990 or email


A really exciting special edition of Asylum is about to go to the printers. Subscribe now to make sure you get your copy. If you are in the UK a year’s subscription (4 editions) costs just £15.00 including postage and packing so this magazine is really great value and a must for anyone interested in challenging traditional ideas in mental health. More details here Phone: +44 (0)1989 763 900 or Email:  to order your copy now. Minimum order (£7.00)

The Guardian 27th august 2011: Rehabilitating RD Laing (article here) He's been unfashionable for decades, but in an era of big-pharma and proliferating diagnoses, is it time to reassess?


Critical Perspectives on User Involvement

Critical Perspectives on User Involvement, edited by Marian Barnes and Phil Cotterell, is due to be published by Policy Press of Bristol in November 2011. Sarah Yiannoullou (NSUN) and Stephanie McKinley (SLaM)  take a critical look at "current models of service user involvement and their impact on well-being and recovery".

The full price of the paperback version will be £26.99, but online discounts will be available and we hope to get copies to at cheaper rates to sell to NSUN members.
PB £26.99 ISBN 978 1 84742 750 2 HB £65.00 ISBN 978 1 84742 751 9
20% discount available at Policy Press £21.59.


The next two London meetings of the Survivors History Group will be from 1pm to 4.30 pm on Wednesday 28.9.2011 and Wednesday 30.11.2011 at the Together office, 12 Old Street, London, EC1V 9BE. Everybody is welcome. Food is provided.


Meet at LARC 62, Fieldgate st, Whitechapel 6,30-8.30pm


Friday, 12 August 2011

Fight Benefit Cuts Conference - Don't Get Mad Get Political - Friday 19th August 12.00-4.00pm

On Friday 19th August, from 12.00-4.00pm the Network are hosting a half day meeting to get more organized in fighting the Cuts to our Benefits. And their solicitor Ravi Low-Beer will be talking about the Resistance Network's push to seek a Judicial Review of Government actions in the Courts.

It's at Students Union Bar, Goldsmiths Student Union, University of London, Dixon Road, London SE14 6NW (Near New Cross Gate and New Cross Rail stations)

Do come along if you can make it. Or just spread the word if you can't.

Attached are A4 and Half A4 versions of the Flier /Poster which can be printed out. And there are images for the web.

And as for Mad Pride, did we mention that the truly legendary Edgar Broughton Band are appearing on October 8th at the Ivy House in Nunhead in South London? Out Demons Out - no less! Check out the remastering on YouTube of Demons - and Steve Broughton's amazing drumming.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

August Newsletter.

Dear Friends,

We hope to find you well and that the past few days of riots and destruction have not affected you or your close ones too much.
My thoughts go as well to those that have to endure life close to war places and destruction constantly; those that lose their lives and youths while fighting it.
Isn't life supposed to bring joy and happiness to ALL the people?

Certainly things could be better and easier from health, to politics and education.
Here Thomas Goetz describes how easy those medical tests and results could be. For personal experience more than often I find that professionals don't particularlywant you to be an active participant in your health choice. Keeping them unclear seems to be much more convenient.

The film "Thank you for smoking" comes to my mind as well and wonder if the crap will ever end?
Weapons, drugs...

The Speak Out Against Psychiatry which took place on the 27th last month brought many survivors and activist together and the picnic that followed was well attended too. Profound stories that only people that have first hand experience are capable to understand in full. Rage and willingness to join forces for a change of this damaging system. No need to riot, but time to get louder perhaps.
Please, read John Hoggett review below and to follow among other comments to the original article on The Guardian:

FEEL fully supported the event and we also took the chance to create a banner of our own to bring along. See Sarah holding it here:

Next Monday the 15th FEEL is meeting for the regular monthly gathering. Come along if you can.

Please find here to follow some news and surveys:

John Hoggett review of the Speak Out 27 July 2011 We had about 40 people; a rag bag of Survivors of Psychiatry, radical carers, some psychologists, a recently qualified psychiatric nurse, some old time anti-psychiatry protesters and some young proto activists.
We heard stories of gross psychiatric abuse both from several decades in the past and happening right now. We heard about forced treatment with damaging drugs, people being told they would never work again (it still happens to a lot of people, but so does people being forced into jobs before they have had any real help), we heard about someone dieing because their physical problems were written off as mental distress, we heard about forced ECT on an elderly woman who no one wanted to try an understand (they only gave up on the ECT when it did not work), we heard about a community treatment order in place now on a woman who had never been a danger to herself or others (she was bravely telling us about it and how she is forced to take the medication she does not want). We heard many more disgusting examples of psychiatric oppression.
We heard about the few really good NHS units and the excellent work they do.
Then we heard from some young people who had come a long way to the demo who had been detained under the mental health act in the last few years and forcibly drugged. The services made matters worse. They probably got diagnosed with schizophrenia. Then they discovered the hearing voices network, found a group, met a great psychologist. They are coming to terms with their experiences, learning to live with hearing voices and working though the traumas that caused their distress. They look like some of the most confident and sorted young people I have had the privilege to meet.
Then we heard about a man who organised a rota to look after a woman who was having a breakdown (she would probably have been considered psychotic). They sat with her for about two weeks, some people helping her more than others. Finally, with no professional support, she got her self back together. She organised a party, invited all the people who had abused her and caused her breakdown and one by one she went round and told them what she thought of them. Then she went back to South Africa where she came from to take part in the Anti-apartheid struggle. This is real Care in the Community. What the state so often provides is tranquillizers and neglect.
If these people can recover from extreme distress with appropriate support and understanding, where no medication was needed, and where it made things worse when it was forced onto people, then it makes a no sense to talk of biological imbalances or state the medication is the best and most appropriate form of help.
All the people on here making comments about imbalances of the brain, the need for drugs, how modern drugs are not that bad, how anti-depressants work for the severely depressed even if they dont' work for the mild and moderate, or anyone saying that elderly people need drugging to keep them quiet instead of trying to understand them, or anyone saying that uppity children should be drugged with a cocaine substitute to make them compliant is regurgitating drug company propaganda.
As for CBT, it is one form of social support and some people like it (a friend found the CBT and psychosis unit at the Maudsley really good) and some do not , but going for a walk in the park with your severely distressed friend and quietly sitting with them while they decide if they want to trust you is also intense social support. Saying one form of help if better than another is a marketing ploy - what matters is how helpful the distressed person finds the helper.
Mental distress is fear and confusion, usually moral confusion caused by being treated badly by those you thought you could trust (hence all those studies, which mainstream psychiatry ignores showing that the severely distressed have suffered traumas like sexual assault and family violence).
Mainstream psychiatry is a job creation scheme for well paid professionals while the poor get Fitness For Work Tests and threats of cuts to benefits. An awful lot of people do not get better but with proper understanding and support they could.
You're either with us or against us


The Department for Work and Pensions has commissioned Professor Malcolm Harrington to undertake a second Independent Review of the Work Capability Assessment.  A call for evidence has been launched to help Professor Harrington develop the Review. He will then make recommendations to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, which will be laid before Parliament in the form of a report before the end of 2011.
 I have been asked by the British Psychological Society to lead their response to this consultation, and I would like to include the views of as many SLaM service users, carers, and staff as possible.  The consultation is aimed at those who have information that is relevant to how the Work Capability Assessment is operating and what further changes, if any, are needed to improve the process.

If you would like to contribute to this response to the consultation (send us a mail if you wish to receive a copy of the PDF, please fill in the online survey by following this link:

The deadline for contributions is 17th August 2011.

Many thanks in advance for your response.
Claire Price
Claire Price  CPsychol
Employment & Social Inclusion Manager
South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust
Maudsley Hospital, Main Entrance Building
1st Floor | SE5 8BB Telephone: 020 3228 3221


Subject: Re: Sustainable communities and health care survey

I am student at Kingston University pursuing an MA in Design for Development. My focus is on sustainable community development.

I am conducting this survey as part of my final project, with the aim of exploring how members of the Tower Hamlets immigrant community can help each other to improve knowledge and access to health care. The community will be invited to use their connections to share information about the UK health system and the best ways to access services.

The aim of the project is to explore how members of the Tower Hamlets immigrant community can help each other to improve knowledge and access to health care. The community will be invited to use their connections to share information about the UK health system and the best ways to access services. 


The objectives of the project are to strengthen the migrant networks of Tower Hamlets and to come up with communication tools to clarify to the community their rights to health care and ways to access it.
We will do this first by trying to understand the reality of Tower Hamlets’ migrant community and then by working together to find opportunities and to define possible solutions that will help migrants get the right information about health care. 
The survey will help me gain a better understanding of the community's vision of the health care system. Your response could make all the difference!

Here is a link to the survey:

I’d love to get in contact to possibly ask more questions or to follow up with your reply. If you are happy, please provide your name and email address to Carlos Fierro,

* Please feel free to pass the survey along your friends.

This link is uniquely tied to this survey and your email address. Please do not forward this message.

Thanks for your participation!
This is to announce a really exciting conference in Liverpool at John Moores University on 10 November 2011 entitled ‘Psychosis and Spirituality: Inner journeys in a time of transition’. This is a unique collaborative event between Spiritual Crisis Network, International Transpersonal Association and LJMU and it promises to be a really great day for promoting new understanding in this area of mental health.

Bookings and further details available from

Please book early to take advantage of reduced ‘early bird’ rates.

Also this is to publicise a great looking book from Courtenay Young: more details>

First Contacts with People in Crisis and Spiritual Emergencies

By Courtenay Young Available for purchase here
<> @ £15.99

Best wishes,

Spiritual Crisis Network



The link below is a survey on the impact of changes from DLA to Personal Independence Payments. Visit the link and get involved!

Just to let you know the book A HISTORY OF PSYCHIATRY (from the era of the asylum to the age of prozac) by EDWARD SHORTER 1997 actually says how great medication is and thinks 1950’s largescale prescribed drugtaking (without social side of therapy) were the ‘good old days’…yuk.




St Clement's Needs Your Support

St Clement's Hospital has been a part of our community since the people of the East End raised the money for it to be built.  It has lain empty for years, but will soon by sold by the government to become housing.  We believe that if it is to be housing, it should be for affordable housing, which the community control.  The East London Community Land Trust aims to return the building to the community, by owning the land, so that the community can take charge of the future of St Clement's.  Community land ownership, is one way of providing affordable housing, because the cost of land is not included in the cost of selling houses (just the bricks and mortar), and land is the biggest part of the cost of a house, but more importly it will hand the destiny of this part of our community, back to the people who live here.

It costs £1 to join, you can join online at and pay us the £1 later - but we feel that given some of the tactics the competing developers are using (claiming widespread community support when nobody has heard of them, and so on) mean that we need to show that the communities of the East of London back community controlled land rather than the usual 'regeneration' which amounts to building yet more speculativ housing for the wealthy and buy-to-let markets.


Dear Colleagues,

Please save the date for Forum meeting to discuss Hackney Migrant Strategy and the council’s response to the draft of the strategy in your dairies on 1pm to 3pm, Friday 30 September 2011 at Hackney CVS conference hall.

Please disseminate this info for better attendance.

Please confirm your attendance for refreshments and let me know if you need further information.  

Best wishes

Ali Aksoy
Director & Refugee Health Worker
Hackney Refugee Forum (HRF)
We are hosted at Hackney CVS
84 Springfield House
5 Tyssen Street
London E8 2LY

Tel: 020 7923 1962
Direct Line: 020 7923 8185

Follow us!

Meet at LARC 62, Fieldgate st, Whitechapel 6,30-8.30pm


Friday, 22 July 2011

July's Meeting

Dear Friends,

We had a nice and cozy meeting this week as a consequence of the ever changing weather conditions and the Autumn-like pouring.

Present: David K, Myra, Pia, Martin, Sergio, Brian, Nat.
Apologies from Sarah, Eamer and Sheila.

Here the highlights of the meeting:

-The SPEAK OUT AGAINST PSYCHIATRY was discussed and most of the present confirmed attendance. It was raised the question of why it has been picked the RCP and not the Institute of Psychiatry. Maybe that will be the next one?

-On Saturday the 23rd there will be a banner making session at LARC to prepare for next week demonstration. Anyone that is willing to give an extra hand or has got some suggestions to offer, please come along from 6pm.

-Cooltan Arts to host a film premiere of a documentary on Wed the 20th.
I have participated to event and it had a well attended reception.
Mad Culture portrayed with its originality and brilliance :)

-Cooltan Arts to hold their monthly Largactyl Shuffle Legacy Walk. Meeting at 12pm at the entrance of the Hackney Museum. If you can't find the walkers on the day, call CoolTan on 07985658443
The walk is organised as part of this year's London2012 Open Weekend Supported by the Centre for Better Health.

-Back on the theme of protests, David suggested to make some planning for the agitprop to hold by the ELNHSFT (mental health trust) on occasion of the AGM on 15th Sept. After a little discussion on the acronyms the conversation there has been a very good brainstorm on actions that can be taken in order to stress more and more what SU want and need when being treated. The Trust can be lobbied and participants of next week Speak Out could be invited.

-David discussed the plan for the event on November 18th "Stigma & Racism in mental health". He has invited Ronald Littlewood Professor of Anthropology and Psychiatry Department of Anthropology and Department of Mental Health Sciences, University College, London. Co-author of the book  Alien and Alienists.
We should still have plenty of time to plan this event.

-We had a wonderful contribution from Pia, which shared how she finally managed to change her consultant, as she wished, after a very long struggle. Politics go that a consultant is attached to a specific GP and the only chance patients have to choose a different specialist is if they change their GP. Some consultants even have the monopoly of entire surgeries (Pia had to skim five GP surgeries before finding one that is serviced by a different consultant than her former one). How's that possible?

Change of consultant is a recurrent problem that SU face. Very often personality clashes or just the over patronising, controlling and authoritarian attitude of some shrinks, cause unnecessary frustration, hostility and anger in already vulnerable people.
The result is conveniently used by the professionals to prove on paper that the person is unwell and needs assistance because of unsound mind. Rights of opinion of the patients are not respected, neither considered.

Is this a way to treat or cure people or all they aim to, and have fun in doing it, is to trigger more frustration in patients?

Do you? Can you? Could you take it?
I don't! Specially when these people are being paid to see us, spending time uselessly.
Well done Pia!

-We recently had some mails from medical students that wish to interview SU. I suggested we invite them to our August meeting, so if anyone is willing to answer some questions or arrange an appointment get ready for it.

-Brian also raised the issue if professionals should or not be members and participate to our meetings.
Mixed feelings was the result after the conversation.

-Core Arts is exhibiting a SU collection "Forget Who You Are" at The V&A Museum of Childhood, in Bethnal Green.

The works explore how experiences from childhood can have a lasting influence on adult creativity and artistic practice. The artists, poets and musicians used imaginary worlds and unusual scales to explore their own childhoods.The exhibition will run untill the 16th October.

-The next meeting of the Survivors History Group will be on Wednesday 27.7.2011 at the Together office, 12 Old Street, London, EC1V 9BE. Since the "Speak Out Against Psychiatry" clashes on the same day and several people want to go to both the SHG  meeting will start at 12pm. At about 2.30 there will be a food break. Those who wish to go to Belgrave Square will have time to eat before they leave. It takes 45min to reach the RCP.
Frank Bangay will conduct people across London. At 3.15pm, the Survivors History Group will re-convene for those who wish to be at that.

Fingers crossed next Wed the 27th will be a nice and sunny day.
Get you placards ready and be prepared for a day to remember.

Thursday, 14 July 2011



Subject: Protest - Speak Out Against Psychiatry
Venue: Outside Royal College of Psychiatry - 17 Belgrave Square, London, SW1X 8PG.
Date: 4 – 6pm on Wednsday the 27th July 2011
Contact: John Hoggett – 0118 941 5144,


A group called, Speak Out Against Psychiatry are organising a protest outside the Royal College of Psychiatrists between 4pm and 6pm on the 27th July. They believe that psychiatry causes more harm than good and they are inviting people to come and tell their stories of how psychiatry has badly effected their lives.

Speak Out Against Psychiatry believe that the care of severely mentally distressed people is a disgrace. On the whole people get diagnosis, drugs and if they live in the community, what is often a patronising chat with a social worker once a fortnight. This often results in people being pensioned off for life, living a life of drug numbed misery. From the beginning of the development of modern medication it has been known that although the drugs often quieten symptoms, as they are major tranquillisers they flatten all emotions, they also make it less likely that people will recover.(1)

What people who are mentally distressed need is compassionate understanding and intense social support. Sadly this is far too often lacking in the present medication based system which is strongly influenced by multi-national drug company lobbying rather than research into what actually works.

There have been many small experiments and successful units around the world that have helped people experiencing extreme mental distress resolve their problems with either low use of medication or not using any medication at all. These have often proved to be cheaper than conventional treatments offered by mainstream psychiatry. Yet they have not been taken up.

One example is the Open Dialogue method used in Western Lapland in Finland. They have the best outcomes in for first episode psychosis in the world, with about 80% of participants being back at work or training within two years. Only a third of participants ever use medication and only a fifth are on medication after five years. These results should be the envy of the developed world yet it is mainly ignored. (2) (3)

Electro-Convulsive Therapy is still used, although many people think it has been banned. There being ample research to show it is dangerous and just about useless. It causes brain damage and memory loss and any improvement in symptoms goes after a few weeks. People who are severely depressed need a lot of care and understanding yet time and again this is not found in psychiatric hospitals. (4)

Psychiatrists main activity is diagnosis, yet most service users do not find diagnosis helpful. What they do find helpful is talking to people about their lives and their symptoms yet psychiatric training can stop staff talking to people about their experiences. They are actively discouraged about talking about the voices that people diagnosed with schizophrenia often experience yet this has been shown to be helpful.

Most people who have extreme distress ha ve experienced immense personal trauma such as surviving child sexual assault or family violence. This is true for most diagnosis, yet psychiatrists ignore the evidence and prefer to talk about unproven brain disorders and imbalances in neurotransmitters. In one study two-thirds of people diagnosed with schizophrenia had suffered physical or sexual abuse, yet mainstream psychiatry ignores this, or if they do enquire they have little idea of how to help people. This does society a disservice as by ignoring the causes of mental distress as they are not prevented in future generations by feeding into other areas of social policy. (5)

There is a rising number of children that are being dangerously diagnosed and drugged for behavioural problems with absolutely no attempt to find out why they are behaving in a distressing manner. Diseases like ADHD have no scientific basis and drugs like Ritalin are known to cause problems in children. There are other ways of helping children with behavioural problems and the parents and teachers who are struggling with the children in their care that do not use dangerous and potentially addictive medication, yet they are not commonly used in the drug company dominated NHS(6)

Recently there has been the scandal of elderly people drugged up on anti-psychotics because nursing staff either did not have the skills to deal with people experiencing dementia or because of under-staffing. (7)

The skills people needed to help people who are mentally distressed are not on the whole taught in psychiatric colleges. While we recognise that some practitioners are doing excellent work, and there are some outstanding units in the NHS mental health service the common practices and mainstream culture of psychiatry is a mess.

Founder member of Speak Out Against Psychiatry, John Hoggett, became concerned about the dangers and inadequacies of psychiatry over twenty years ago when he befriended a young man who had a diagnosis of schizophrenia. His friend was on two and a half times the recommended dose of an injected tranquillizer called Haloperidol and yet he was still hallucinating and very disturbed. He saw a nurse once a fortnight for his injection but otherwise had little contact with services yet he was barely coping in the community. The drugs had serious side effects and had little, if any, benefit. He had been living like this for years and wanted to come off his medication.

His friend wanted psychotherapy but his psychiatrist was mocking of the idea yet Mr Hoggett found that using some simple counselling skills he had learnt on a phone line training event helped his friend considerably.

His friend came off his medication suddenly because he hated the effects. He then had a relapse and was detained under the mental health act. Mr Hoggett thinks that with proper advice on coming of the medication and with adequate psychological help his friend was likely to have avoided the relapse.

Recently Mr Hoggett accompanied another friend with multiple diagnosis, including schizophrenia, to see his psychiatrist to ask for psycho-therapy. He was told that the therapists in Berkshire NHS Healthcare Trust do not like providing therapy for people who have experienced psychosis as, “It could make it worse”. As there is an International Society for the Psychological Treatment of Schizophrenia and other Psychosis who list about one hundred books on the subject on their website he can only assume that the local therapists are badly trained. So he helped his friend find therapy through a voluntary agency on an IAPT contract (IAPT – individual access to psychological therapies). The voluntary agency said they did not treat people who had experienced psychosis but Mr Hoggett's friend had several other diagnosis he could use, and so he got the help he wanted, which he found extremely useful, unlike anything provided by Berkshire Healthcare NHS Trust. (8)

Another of the founding members worked as an advocate for people detained under the mental health act. He noticed that psychiatrists generally made no attempt to understand what the patients were going through, preferring instead to explain their experiences as symptoms of an illness that would go away once the they agreed to comply with medication. Once patients were admitted to the hospital, they often became angry at having their freedom taken away, and frightened by the enormous power that professionals suddenly held over them. This fear and anger was always attributed to the “symptoms” of their illness, rather than to the frightening situation that they found themselves in.

1. Investigative journalist, Robert Whittaker's site, Mad in America, about the dangers and limits of psychiatric medication:

2. Article on Open Dialogue:

3. Account of Open Dialogue:

4. Article on Electro-Convulsive Therapy:

5. Oliver James article in The Guardian on personal trauma links to extreme mental distress:

6. Article on ADHD and stimulants:

7. Article on elderly people prescribed anti-psychotics:

8. International Society for the Psychological Treatment of Schizophrenia and other Psychosis -

Visit the event page on Facebook

July Newsletter.

Dear Friends,

Welcome to FEEL's July Newsletter. You will find a few nice and interesting dates for your diary for this month and beyond: from art exhibition, film premiere to a chance and right to protest at the Royal College of Psychiatry in London.

As always our wish is that services for the mental health sufferers will improve to the standards that people individually need, not to some "fits for all, fix them all" that some professional conveniently find and use.

The protest SPEAK OUT AGAINST PSYCHIATRY on 27th July will give a chance to SU to speak and soften the patronising role that majority of professionals have been leading up to today. Mistaking individuality of patients for some form of illness, the obvious failing of bringing people to a state of normality has only wasted lives and resources in most of cases, leaving an army of disempowered & dis-abled, while the enriched parmaceuthical companies BUY their leading seat in the mental health ladder.

Join us for our next monthly FEEL event, happening next Monday the 18th of July to discuss this and other matters. The agenda will be worked out on arrival: if you have any concern that you wish to be discussed we'll make sure to dedicate some time to it.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Quest for Personalised Health

Interesting Article on the Journal of Chinese Medicine
There is still lot of skepticism about ancient Oriental philosophies and remedies in majority of population, but this is simply due to pure ignorance of both Western professionals and their patients. As more and more people are experimenting alternatives to conventional medicine, I am confident that Eastern methods of healing will find the way to be appreciated as they should all around the globe.

Quest for Personalised Health: Exploring the Emergent Interface of East Asian Medicines and Modern System Sciences  13/06/2011  

A cutting edge 'Quest for Personalised Health: Exploring the Emergent Interface of East Asian Medicines and Modern System Sciences' conference took place in London over the weekend. Organised by Volker Scheid with Bridie Andrews and Jan van der Greef, it brought together systems biologists, physicists, sinologists and Chinese medicine researchers and practitioners. The speakers were top drawer - Prof. Denis Noble (Professor Emeritus and co-Director of Computational Physiology), Nathan Sivin (Professor Emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania) and Prof. Andrew Pickering plus a host of experts in systems sciences, Chinese medicine and the interface between them.
    In what was at times a confusingly disparate two days, one main theme seemed to emerge, and that was how best to handle complexity. The early excitement surrounding the genome project was based on the expectation that having identified the 30000 genes in human DNA, manipulation of individual genes would lead to dramatic new solutions for human disease. It is now apparent that this reductionist approach simply isn't working, and that it is the interaction of genes within the human organism, mediated by higher level systems and a host of environmental factors, that determines health and disease. The attempt to track the complex way this entire system functions has led to overwhelmingly indigestible amounts of data. Concurrently, the pharmaceutical industry has hit a wall with fewer and fewer new drugs produced  at ever greater cost. The single bullet approach appears to be nearing the end of its useful life at the same time as it becomes apparent that it delivers less than it has claimed. If reductionism is therefore too limited, and complexity too overwhelming, how can medicine move forward?
    One answer may be to learn from Chinese medicine - as long as it is approached with respect and an open mind. One key feature of Chinese medicine - at the level of best practice - has been its skill in managing complexity. Traditional diagnosis incorporates a wide array of information beyond the relatively narrow confines of disease category whilst the medicine - especially herbal medicine - handles an array of complex prescriptions, each composed of  several complex ingredients combining synergistically, often in known ways. How does it cope?
    First, Chinese medicine is characterised by the recognition that there may be a variety of possible solutions to the same problem. Different doctors are much more likely to prescribe different prescriptions of herbs or acupuncture points for the same patient than they are to come up with identical prescriptions, and yet although it is recognised that some solutions are likely to be more effective than others, there is no one single 'right' way to respond to an individual patient.
    Secondly, Chinese medicine is able to flexibly interweave treatment at the level of the disease, the presenting pattern and the individual, thus spanning a range from the more reductionist to the more complex and variable. It is perhaps the pattern recognition aspect that offers the most to systems sciences, and fascinating work is being done on exactly this by those such as Professor Jan van der Greef and Jan Schroen from the Sino-Dutch Research Centre for Preventive and Personalized Medicine, both of whom presented at this conference. Pattern differentiation can be seen as the integrating factor between the relative reductionism of disease identification and the relative complexity of unique individual presentation.
    Thirdly, Chinese herbal medicine offers a kind of modular approach, with an arsenal of base prescriptions (many tried and tested over centuries) which are then tailored and modified for the patient by the addition and subtraction of ingredients or by flexible combinations with other prescriptions. Of course it would be naive to think that Chinese medicine handles this approach without disagreement and contradiction. Prof. Yi-Li Wu showed how Sheng Hua Tang (Generating and Transforming Decoction) was misused in late Imperial China by practitioners who applied it as a one-size-fits-all treatment for postpartum women, despite the fact that it was designed to warm and move blood stasis and was therefore potentially contraindicated (and harmful) for women suffering from heat and deficiency. Her presentation also raised the more complex question of how and when Chinese medicine practitioners should prescribe unmodified formulas, modified formulas or entirely different formulas.
    It is hard to do justice to the range of presentations at this conference, several of which took me to the edge (and beyond) of my ability to handle systems science, biology and physics. And the range of presentations - from the history of qi in ancient Chinese philosophy to the weaknesses and potential pitfalls of Chinese medicine research - threatened to overwhelm at times. But it was hard to escape the feeling that these discussions were taking place at the cutting edge of 21st century medicine.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

June' 3rd Monday.

Dear Friends,

This is a little update following our monthly meeting this week. It has been a very dynamic evening with lots of positive feedback from last event at St John's and some new and fresh ideas to look forward to as well. Warm welcome to Brett, Jake and Caroline that joined us for the first time. Other present: David K, Myra, Sarah, Brian, Charly, Eamer, Nat. Apologies from Tony and Sheila.

The benefit reassessment has been discussed: the Mental Health Resistance Network, specially Dave Skull, deserve great praise for the hard work being done to educate people on their basic rights being trampled on by the British Government.

Dave Skull and COIN (Community Options Involvement Network) have worked hard in producing a easy to read document for people from the moment they receive the "calling letter".

David Amery has also sent us an updated document to the one distributed on the night of the 10th, with the and mental). The need to create a working group In East London that might duplicate the work that the MHRN are doing was discussed. If anyone is free and willing to get on board please let us know or contact the MHRS directly on

Charly informed us on the next Your Day Your Say event to take place on the 4th of August on the theme of Complementary Therapies. Being this one of the main issues FEEL campaigns for, Charly has invited us to participate to it with a stall. Everyone was also encouraged by Charly to take part to COIN, which is the body that plans the upcoming YSYD events. Next meeting is on the 4th July, 3-5pm at Albert House, 62 Roman Rd.

Jake has invited us to the forthcoming screening of Healing Homes the documentary of an inspiring method of recovery practiced in Sweden. The screening will take place at LARC on Mon the 27th June 7-10pm and there will be a chance to debate the current psychiatric system and its faults.

Current economic crisis eventually is affecting any field and big pharma is included, as last week article on The Guardian showed.
Now,  more than ever it's time for service users to speak up and out about what best helps in their condition, if they do know, and be suspicious of those professional that don't allow to be challenged: they are only wetting their pants because they don't have answers to give you and intimidating you keeps you on your old rotten boots, securing their salary. A real professional listens to you.

Jake has also told us about the SPEAK OUT AGAINST PSYCHIATRY event which is organised for the 27th July 4-6pm in front of the Royal College of Psychiatry. Police has been informed about this and it will be a fun and peaceful protest with the aim to make friends with the professionals unless they have all sold their souls to Big Pharma. Discontent in patients and carers can not longer be ignored. Banners will be prepared sometimes soon. Get in touch if you have any queries and you wish to get involved writing to Committee members are very much welcome.
All FEEL members demonstrated enthusiasm and support for the SOAP's initiative.

David has been contacting Roland Littlewood to invite him on a future FEEL event on the theme of STIGMA & RACISM. It was discussed weather or not having more official speakers, when with such hot topic more people could participate contributing from the floor. Approximate date is for mid November at Kingsley Hall.

Some agit-prop was also suggested by David to take place on the 15th of September in front of ELFT headquarters at the East One building, during the trust AGM.

We received some feedback from Patricia, correcting the wrong statement I sent out in the last mail. Apologies to Patricia were sent.

From: patricia howlett

Hi & thanks for the newsletter.
I wanted to correct wthe point accredited to me @ the St Johns meeting.
I said:
The CCHR was an American-based organization who were campaigning against the use of psychotropic drugs.
Their campaign dvd available free The Marketing of Madness spoke of the excessive use of medication including the drugging of children. Not "children in America" as you printed. This has been, and currently, is excessive in this country and others around the globe!! I was a teacher in special schools for years and so have first hand experience of this.
I also spoke of the DSM which diagnosis shyness in children as "social affective disorder" which they now have a drug to treat.
The reason I referred to CCHR was due to their extensive publications & research to uncover the truth not that I am, nor promoting Scientology as this is where this work began.
Even the best of loonies have some great accomplishments!!!
I would appreciate it if you could print a correction, either just to put the truth of what I said straight, or if you want, to desseminate the full information of my contribution as above.Thanks.
One Love,

Thank you all for reading and sharing with us lots of tremendous important info.

Best wishes,

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

June Newsletter.

Dear Friends,

We wish to thank all of you that helped and got involved in
FEEL event in support to the MHRN (Mental Health Resistance
Network) last Friday the 10th.
Thank you Ms Angela for letting us access a church smelling of
fresh flowers; to the Madlark for entertaining us with their music
and for supplying the sound system, to Ms Ann for offering her
BSL interpreting, for the wonderful performance from Frank & Sophie and to all the expected and unexpected speakers.
All really appreciated!!!

The MHRN are ruthlessly continuing their campaign against the
welfare benefit cuts, meeting in South London about once per
month. Anyone that wishes to get in touch with them, please
send an email at

Mike informed us about the Slice of Life in London project
an idea started by Kirsty Hall and Furhan Iqbal aimed at
helping young unemployed people with mental health problems.
Visit their blog 

Marion shared some views of the projects happening in
Ealing and invited anyone interested to get in touch with
them at or 07896811226

Patricia raised the issue of the drugged American children,
allarm sent out by the campaigns of the CCHR

John invited us to the projection of the documentary Healing Homes
Mon, June 27th 7-10 pm at LARC, 62 Fieldgate St, E1 1ES
This film by Daniel Mackler explores a non-medical approach to
mental illness which has had a lot of success in Sweden
An open discussion will follow the viewing. Free admission

Another invitation from John is to participate to the Speak Out
Against Psychiatry an original protest of this kind
to take place right in front of the Royal College of Psychiatry
on Wed, 27th July, 4-6pm to make our voices heard and
demand a change in a damaging system as psychiatry is

Some more discussion will follow at our FEEL meeting next
Monday the 20th 6.30-8.30 at LARC. Please join us if you can.

To follow a few other bits of information that might interest some of you.


Radio interview with Catherine G Lucas Founder, Spiritual Crisis Network Tues 14 June 4pm GMT, repeated Sun 19 June 3pm GMT, talking about her new book and the SCN Visit and click Listen Live

SCN new blog:
SCN monthly meeting on Fri 17th June, 7-9pm at the Buddisth Centre, Roman Road



This is to let you know about significant developments in local Soteria Network groups around the UK. Firstly a new local group has started up in Brighton over the last few months, and there is now a Soteria Brighton webpage on our website, under the 'local groups' section here. If you would like to get involved with the Brighton group there is a form that you can complete (which can be accessed through the Soteria Brighton page) on which you can indicate how you would like to be involved.
The other local group which is continuing to develop is Soteria Bradford, who are starting to run workshops for people who are interested in volunteering to work in their project as well as others who are interested in the Soteria and Windhorse approaches. The first workshop will take place on Saturday 2nd July. To find out more about this workshop and to book a place, please click here.
Thanks for your continuing interest in the work of the Soteria Network.

With Best Wishes,
Soteria Network.


CoolTan Arts Midnight Largactyl Shuffle  
Saturday 18 June 2011, meet at 23:45pm for 12:00 midnight start
Meet at Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG (main entrance on Holland Street)
Night time is the time for the Outsider, the sleepless, the restless, and the wanderer. Charles Dickens, an avid nightwalker, asked: “Are not the sane and the insane equal at night as the sane lie a dreaming?” Join us in the footsteps of past and present nightwalkers; learn about artists and writers who have made moonlit London their own. We will also be celebrating the summer solstice, marking the shortest night of the year, with a look at the magic of pagan midsummer.

Participate in this unique procession from the ‘powerhouse’ Tate Modern to the home of contemporary psychiatry, the Maudsley Hospital.
Walkers meet at 12:00 midnight at the main entrance of Tate Modern and finish the walk in the wee hours of Sunday at the Maudsley Hospital, where you’ll have the possibility to rest at the chapel for a few hours. Feel free to bring sandwiches, tea, coffee for the route (no alcohol please).
Walk leaders wear orange high-vis jackets and rucksack. If you cannot find the group of walkers, please call us on 0798 565 8443.


Royal College of Psychiatrists launches new website to help people return to work after mental illness

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has launched a new online resource offering information and guidance about returning to work after a period of mental ill-health. The Work and Mental Health website is divided into four main parts, and is aimed at workers, carers, employers and clinicians.


Hi People

find attached e versions of fliers / posters for the two events CREATIVE ROUTES have happening for the CAMBERWELL ARTS FESTIVAL -
a Spontaneous Celebration of the Summer Solstice in the Bardic Tradition - Open mic Poetry and Acoustic Music -

Special guest poets and performers - would be performers more than welcome - come early and register to perform to avoid disappointment -
a special 'one off' revival of the popular POET'S COMMUNION events that we used to run regularly in the sadly demised 'ART' bar in Camberwell and which there is a demand to bring back as a regular function - keep watching this space for more details - we will be back -

MONDAY 20TH JUNE-  8pm until Midnight

these events are being staged as part of the Camberwell Arts Festival -
for more info on the events and CREATIVE ROUTES  call  - 077 577 15035 or go to -

Featuring local ambient industrial noise merchants the mighty AMPERSAND-
Poet SIBYL MADRIGAL accompanied by highly respected multi instrumentalist improvisational musician ALEX WARD
Quirky and original singer songwriter DAVE RUSSELL
Original poet / performer FRAN ISHERWOOD
Eccentric 'theatre of the absurd' duo LE DONNE

And highly regarded singer musician CHRIS LEEDS who will - with the support of various musical friends- treat us to some of his amazing music that incorporates elements of folk , blues, country and gospel in an astounding blend -

Same info as above re Camberwell Arts Festival / CREATIVE ROUTES

All buses to Camberwell Green -
Camberwell Green. - (both events)


Dave Skull

Meet at LARC 62, Fieldgate st, Whitechapel 6,30-8.30pm


Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Osborne’s heartless cuts

The shocking impact of Osborne’s heartless cuts on the disabled 

“Although 4,000 of the most vulnerable disabled claimants will be exempt because they need help through the day or night, most ill and disabled people will be forced to move into cheaper accommodation, often outside the area where they live.” 

Read full article here

Database Update

Several weeks ago in the attempt to put a bit of order in our mailing list and clear up all those wrong mails that sometimes bounce back, we have asked you to identify your preferences in terms of frequency receiving our mails and locating yourself geographically.

We would like to thank all of you that replied, and we appreciated the ones that offered a word of support and encouragement for our work. Weird the reaction of others: we understand if you feel overwhealmed by too many mails, just pop us a note and will stop bothering you; don't get MAD! ;)

If you do wish and are happy in receiving our news or perhaps wish to circulate information about your group
or organisation, please do send us a mail at any time to

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Events & Invitations

Next FEEL event is being organised for Friday the 10th June, 7-9pm. We are being allowed to use St Johns Church of Bethnal Green, how blessed! Lingo will be contained for the respect of all :o)

Please note that the front of the church is being renovated and the scaffold is covered in red canvas. In case you are feeling lost, please note that the way IN is still via the main gate in Cambridge Heat Road.

Double Attack on Our Mental Health

• Service Users claiming Income Support or Incapacity Benefit will be switched to Income Support Allowance & may loose £27 a week.

• East London community mental health services are being cut by £14.6 million with a loss of 97 posts. This will include Tower Hamlets, City & Hackney and Newham boroughs and doesn't stop there.

Meet with Mental Health Resistance Network to plan our fight back!

Among the speakers there will be:
George Paton: spokeperson from UNISON;

David Amery (Housing Link) will offer information about the benefit reassessment procedure;

Dave Skull will update us on the work done by the Mental Health Resistance Network and the Legal Action they are working on. No time to wait and see...

Last week events, a week long protest, the Hardest Hit March and the news coming from Birmingham encourage people to get involved in the decision of their own fate, rather than wait and see... Even share and spread the info is a bit of action.

Articles here:

Here a few other events to look forward to:

- Wed 25th May: TheSurvivors History Group meets for the bi-monthly appointment for the Survivor Historians and Survivor Researchers meet. It meets at Together, 12 Old Street, London EC1V 9BE (1-5 pm)
(ask at reception)

- Sat 28th May - MAD PRIDE - 'A GATHERING OF NUTS IN MAY'- (8pm- late) @THE GROSVENOR - 17 Sidney rd.STOCKWELL SW9 OTP- (Admission: £5 / £2 Concession). Another fundraising event set up in aid to cover the costs of the work being carried out by the campaign of the
Mental Health Resistance Network. Live music, poetry and performance

- Wed 27th July - SPEAK OUT AGAINST PSYCHIATRY (4 – 6pm) outside the Royal College of Psychiatry, 17 Belgrave Square, London, SW1X 8PG 4 – 6pm on the 27th July 2011 outside the Royal College of Psychiatry A chance to "influence" the ones that decide what's good for our mental health

- Fri 11th November 'Alternatives Within and Beyond Psychiatry'. A conference organised by the Soteria Network to take place in Derby. It will have some influential international speakers which work and write in the mental health field.


Sunday, 8 May 2011

May Newsletter.

Dear Friends,

After the Easter break, the Royal wedding/Bin Laden mise-en-scene and the May Bank holiday, things seem set to gradually get back to the regular routine. The whole period reminded me of the Christmas season, when many, if not most of the services come to a stand still and people in need of assistance are kept on hold.

In a few hours, on Monday the 9th, the National Week of Action Against Atos Origin will start.
This is a week long of protests and events that are set to take place all around the UK, outside the offices and testing centres operated by Atos Origin. Here the list of a few locations:
More last minute updates on Facebook

'This testing system has already led to people with terminal illnesses and severe medical conditions being declared fit for work and having benefits cut. GP’s are ignored in favour of decisions made by Atos Origin’s computer', the source says.
Obviously inventing a job full of rewards for ATOS workers, organise a grand wedding for the Royals and support wars in other continents are the key points of progress in the present society. What's the use in supporting society's parasites or keep them ALIVE?
There's rumors that say that ATOS workers are trained at Auschwitz's standards.
Nice blog here:

Myra reminded us of the next Friends of St. Clements meeting, which is on tomorrow, Monday the 9th, 4.30pm. Post-graduate Unit, Small Meeting Room,Ground Floor(ask at reception), Mental Health Unit, Mile End Hospital, Bancroft Road, E1

We, FEEL members, together with the Mental Health Resistance Network, are also organising a new event sometimes in June. More news to be shared soon. If you can join us on Monday the 16th of May @ LARC, 62 Fieldgate St, London E1 1ES (6.30-8.30pm) for our monthly meeting, please do.
On Saturday the 14th of May from noon onwards there will be a gardening day at LARC: any volunteering hands are welcome for a bit of healthy for the body and grounding for the mind work. Ask for Joyce.

Wishing you a good week ahead.

Thursday, 21 April 2011


ADMISSION £5 / £2 concessions.


The S E London MAD PRIDE group are staging another fundraising event for the MENTAL HEALTH RESISTANCE NETWORK a coalition of individuals and organisations with concerns around mental health issues , which MAD PRIDE are affiliated to, for their campaigning activity to raise concern about the government ‘moving the goal posts’ for qualification to sickness benefits, especially as it will impact on people with mental health issues. This follows from the success of their recent fundraising event at the Montague Arms.

We fear that the new ‘work test’ that has been criticised as flawed and inappropriate for people with mental health problems will be used to force vulnerable into inappropriate employment which could worsen their mental health problems or being moved on to lower level ‘Job Seekers’ benefits and then being put under pressure to show they are taking steps to seek work and accept unsuitable employment that could have a detrimental effect on their condition.

Monies are needed for this vital campaigning activity to ensure that the voice of people with mental health problems – who have traditionally been marginalised, will be heard. We would urge people to come to the event and support our cause and enjoy an evening of top quality acts – all of which are offering their services free in support of the campaign, in the process.

Artists to be featured are: