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


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