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...... it's for everyone

         "It is quite possible  - overwhelmingly probable, one might guess - that we will always learn 
           more about human life and human personality from novels than from scientific psychology."
           NOAM CHOMSKY Language & Problems of Knowledge

       Click for Contents  

 

 


HONOUR THE DEAD  HONOUR THE LIVING   NO MORE MURDER
 "war" means:
Millions displaced, killed and starved to death
Racist attacks and other terrible reprisals worldwide
Remember Afghanistan 
at the peace rallies around the world for Iraq
Click on
NOAM CHOMSKY for comment
also Aftermath-11-September-2001 discussion board
Global women against war - invest in caring not killing
website at http://womenstrike8m.server101.com

 

 


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Scroll down screen to the index of this website. Click on individual items.
Use arrow buttons at the top left of screen to move back and forth from webpages and links.

Why Mental Magazineuk / Campaigning Events
WAR
The Man in the White Suit & Guardianship
/
MENTAL HEALTH LAW & POLICIES"Being Bonkers"
Protest Against the Draft Mental Health Bill
Bettina Moore (RIP) / Ann OíNeill (RIP) / Pete Shaughnessy (RIP)
Friends Remembered
Janet Cresswell in Broadmoor  
Independent on Sunday campaign
Joseph Heller (RIP) & Catch-22 /
NOAM CHOMSKY/
Tim Berners-Lee & the World Wide Web /
MMuk Yahoo! discussion board
Contact Mental Magazineuk

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Campaigning news/events....

"CRIME & ILLNESS"
FREE debate at the Institute of Psychiatry, London 
Wednesday 19 March, 6pm
at the Institute of Psychiatry
Jointly organised with Spiked online 
more details....

"ARE WE ALL MENTALLY NOW?"
FREE debate at the Institute of Psychiatry, London
Wednesday, 19 February, 6pm
Jointly organised with Spiked online
Click for full details

"DOES SCHIZOPHRENIA EXIST"
FREE debate at Institute of Psychiatry, London
Wednesday, 29 January, 6pm
details of  debate 
result of debate

PROTEST AGAINST MENTAL HEALTH BILL

Reform of 1983 Mental Health Act
(consultation closed 16 September 2002)
Click to SIGN ONLINE PROTEST PETITION 
See Maudsley Debate  2001 that REJECTED White Paper proposals

For details of Press Release, Draft Bill, media comment
go to mentalmagazine discussion board messages: 
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mentalmagazine/message/1331
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mentalmagazine/message/1360
 See also Contents of Mental Magazine uk
 

 

 

The draft mental health bill containing proposals to change the 1983 Mental Health Act was issued for consultation, 25 June-16 September 2002......
In July 2001, the Government's  proposals (in the White Paper) to change 1983 Mental Health Act were rejected in the debate at the Maudsley Hospital

10th Maudsley Debate - Thursday 5 July 2001 6-7.30pm. Refreshments from 5.30pm.
MENTAL HEALTH LAW REFORM?
Motion: "This house welcomes the implementation of the Government White Paper on Mental Health"  
A discussion on whether the new Government White Paper on Mental Health heralds an improvement or deterioration in the treatment offered to people with mental health problems.  Given that the care received by those with psychiatric problems in England is already inferior in quality, and more authoritarian in approach, than in comparable European countries, this is a most important question.  
Robin Murray, Prof of Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry at The Maudsley
FOR - 
Tony Maden, Prof of Forensic Psychiatry, Imperial College London
Chris Burford, Consultant General & Community Psychiatrist, St Ann's Hospital, Tottenham
AGAINST -
Andrew Johns, Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist, South London and Maudsley NHS Trust
Paul Bowen - Barrister, Doughty St Chambers, London
Discussion Chaired by Tom Fahy, Professor of Forensic Mental Health, GKT School of Medicine

The motion was defeated by 112 votes to 2.
Personal review by Danny Sullivan:
    The 10th Maudsley Debate was held on Thursday July 5th 2001 on the topic of mental health law reform. A lively audience of service users, psychiatrists, and health care professionals including the President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists attended the debate, which was chaired by Professor Tom Fahy. Before hearing the arguments of the speakers only 2% of the audience supported the motion and the implementation of the Government White Paper on Mental Health with 61% opposed and a substantial 37% undecided.

Professor Tony Maden of Imperial College opened the debate arguing for the motion. He put forward that the Mental Health White Paper ensured that 'difficult' patients received treatment rather than punishment, and that the government's interest in public protection was valid.

Paul Bowen, a barrister of Doughty St Chambers, opposed this, pointing out that the White Paper severely constrained liberty, expanded the class of people subject to coercion, and breached the Human Rights Act.

Next Dr Chris Burford, a consultant at St Ann's Hospital, Tottenham, supported Professor Maden and the motion. He spoke of changes in psychiatry and the difficulties of 'revolving door' admissions; he suggested that the White Paper provided a framework for treating vulnerable people who otherwise missed or evaded treatment.

Finally, Dr Andrew Johns a consultant of forensic psychiatry at the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, concluded by noting that the White Paper coerced both patients and psychiatrists. He rounded up the debate by reiterating the estimation that 5000 patients would require detention in order to prevent a single homicide by a person with a mental disorder.

After comments and questions from the floor the audience was able to vote on the motion again. It turned out that still only 1.5% supported the implementation of the White Paper. However the number of those opposed had increased to 90%. The speakers opposing the motion had evidently convinced the majority of those undecided before the debate, whose number dropped to a mere 8.5%.
End of report by Danny Sullivan.  This report is on the Institute of Psychiatry website: 

More information about the Mental Health Act on Mental Magazine uk...

_______________________________________

"RIGHTS NOW" lobby of Parliament  Tuesday, 10 December 
more information....

 

 

 

DEMONSTRATION OF DISABLED PEOPLE
AGAINST THE NEW BENEFIT PROPOSALS
MONDAY 16TH JULY 2001
outside Houses of Parliament

The following is the press release from DAN
(Disability Action Network) for the demonstration:

The government is once again attacking disabled people forcing yet another layer of bureaucracy on
us. It is also accusing disabled people in receipt of benefit of stealing £7billion from the
treasury. We challenge Alistair Darling to say what he would do with the £5billion he proposes to save.

DAN (Direct Action Network for disabled people) is calling for an end to this old style bashing of the most vulnerable and socially excluded in our society and wants the government to open up real dialogue with the movement about how to remove the real barriers to work for disabled people.

THE REAL BARRIERS.

1.    END CHARGING

Charging working disabled people for services that put them on a level playing field creates inequality in the workplace acting as a disincentive to work.

2.    NO POST CODE SERVICE

Disabled people are prevented from moving to another area to find work because they have to be reassessed all over again by a new Local Authority. This can take years before they can construct a care package that supports them in employment. The government could save money and time if disabled people could move their care packages from on local authority to another.

3.    NO MEANS TESTED BENEFITS

Benefits are supposed to meet the extra costs of being a disabled person in a society that doesn't fully address their right to participate. By means testing these benefits the governments provides a poverty trap, which for some people is too deep to get out.

4.    ASSESS SOCIETY NOT US

The government should make a commitment to assess its progress in making society inclusive to disabled people rather that blaming and reassessing us. We call for a national audit on progress made. Given the national shortage of doctors in the National Health Service why waste Doctors time in this fruitless, uneconomic, resource draining assessment.

LET US KNOW THAT YOU'RE COMING!

It helps us to know how many people are coming to support this demonstration but also if you can't come that we have your and your organisation's support. 

We want to work with you on this.

Telephone Cassie or Johnny on 0121 247 4424 or e'mail us

3rpeople@tinyonline.co.uk

OR  Contact Rosemary at Mental Magazineuk  
SEE ALSO Red Disability campaigning site at www.reddisability.org.uk

 

 

 

bullet.JPG (1011 bytes) Everything affects everybodyÖ..

I have created Mental Magazineuk because I believe we need an open forum that deals with every aspect of health and social care and allows free discussion and information sharing between people with different perspectives and experience.  All the issues in Mental Magazineuk are discussed on the Yahoo! Noticeboard & Discussion Group attached to this site.  You can read the all the messages currently on the board without signing up as a member of the board.  Join the group if you would like to contribute and/or receive all messages sent to the board automatically in your personal email inbox. 

I am Rosemary Moore and I live in Surrey, England. Since my motherís death in a mental hospital 19 years ago I have seen an increasing deterioration in services for vulnerable people in hospitals and in the community, to the extent that services scarcely exist and what is provided often creates and exacerbates mental and physical problems.

The same shortcomings in the mental health services that led to my motherís death continue. One of the most serious is the practice of distancing relatives and friends from the patient so that there is no one independent of the statutory services to advocate for the patient.

At the time of my motherís death, my brother was a detained patient in the same psychiatric unit. >From the age of 21, over 30 years ago, he has been treated (with medication) for Schizophrenia. And, in 1987 - after jumping out of a hostel window in Putney - he became paralysed from the waist down. I have continued (unsuccessfully) to try to see that he receives appropriate care from the statutory services and, since 1994, I have also tried to help our sister who suffered a mental breakdown.  In June 2002 my sister was admitted to this same  psychiatric unit, her last admission being six years ago, which has confirmed the escalating deterioration in services.  The increasing amount of self-harm, suicide and violent incidents are dealt with either by indifference or damage limitation exercises.

At the moment - like many other friends and relatives of patients - I am providing, as best I can, the care and attention that should be available from the statutory services - and most of the time I am in conflict with the statutory services - which leaves my relatives totally dependent on me. If I were unable to look after them and fight for their rights, they would be at the mercy of a dysfunctional care system. My aim is to see the statutory services improve so that my relatives and all vulnerable people are able to live safely and happily within their communities, receiving appropriate help, as of right.

Rosemary Moore, July 2001
updated July, December 2002
updated March, 2004

 

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bullet.JPG (1011 bytes) The Man in the White Suit
I have chosen this as the logo for Mental Magazineuk
because the story behind this image shows that it is very often vested interests that prevent progress. The figure of the man in the white suit is taken from the poster advertising the1951 Ealing comedy of this name. The film starred (Sir) Alec Guinness as a chemist, Sidney Stratton, who thinks he has discovered a formula for an indestructible fibre and has a white suit made from the material. The bosses of the textile industry try their best to suppress the formula as do the factory workers and others who think they would be affected - such as an old washerwoman who says, mournfully, to Sidney: "Why canít you leave things aloneÖwhatís going to happen to me and my bit of washing now?" But the film ends happily - it turns out that the formula is flawed and as Sidney, in his luminous white suit, is cornered by the mob pursuing him, the suit starts to disintegrate and Sidney is left standing in his shirt and underpants. There is laughter and the mob disperses.

One such "white suit" is Guardianship in the 1983 Mental Health Act, which runs through the entire Act and can be used for any mentally disordered patient at any time, whether in hospital or not. It also places a legal responsibility on an individual and/or social services department to see that the patient receives appropriate assessment and care at all times.

Over the years there have been many attempts to destroy this power - particularly by the Mental Health Act Commission with the recommendation to "beef it up" by attaching an additional power to "treat" patients in the community. This would have turned Guardianship into what was proposed by the White Paper issued just before Christmas 2000 - an order enabling the statutory services to forcibly medicate patients outside a hospital.  (NB: a public debate held at the Maudsley Hospital on 5 July, rejected the White Paper proposals for changes to the 1983 Mental Health Act by 112 votes to 2 - more details...)

Although Guardianship has survived in its original form in the current mental health act, there has been a uniform reluctance to use it (usually on the grounds that it is "toothless") from social services departments, doctors, hospital managers, and mental health tribunals. There has been a similar resistance from the legal profession, professional bodies and mental health charities and the Mental Health Act Commission.   Guardianship which safeguards any patient inside or out of an institution -   will be scrapped in the proposed new mental health legislation.
Go to the Mental Health Law page to read the truth about the 1983 Mental Health Act.....

The draft Bill with the proposals for a Mental Health Act to replace the current Act was issued by the government in June 2002 and was open to consultation until 16 September 2002.  More...

Rosemary Moore, July 2001
updated July 2002

 

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bullet.JPG (1011 bytes) Bettina Moore (RIP)
I launched this website on 18 December 2000 in memory of my late mother, Bettina Moore, who died just three days before her 65th birthday. She had suffered a nervous breakdown three and half years previously, and spent the rest of her life in and out of our local psychiatric units. On 15 December 1984 she threw herself down the fire escape stairs of the Abraham Cowley Unit, Chertsey, Surrey, and died very soon afterwards from multiple injuries. This website is dedicated to her, in remembrance of her life and work and in thanks for the inspiration she gives me. I know she would be very pleased to be remembered and to know that her story would be helping other people.   My mother's page is still in preparation.  In the meantime, you can read one of her poems - "Irrefutable Truth" on the MMuk message board.  
A "Friends Remembered" discussion board was set up on 14 September 2002 (the day of the march protesting against the government's plans to bring in new legislation) to commemorate those we have lost in the mental health system. 
My mother's name was among those that appeared on a banner prepared by Symon Price, displayed at the Mental Health Alliance lobby of Parliament on 23 October 2002.

Rosemary Moore, July 2001
updated December 2002

 

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bullet.JPG (1011 bytes) Ann OíNeill (RIP)
I never met Ann but when I joined the ukSurvivors discussion board in June 2000, I saw earlier messages of condolence about Ann, who had been a contributor to the board.  
Ann was a qualified nurse whose employers would not allow her to continue to work as a nurse because of mental health problems. She had many serious complaints about what happened to her in hospital, appeared to have very little support in the community, and was extremely fearful of the threatened legislation which would force some patients to be medicated "in the community". It is clear from reading Annís messages to the board that she was desperately looking for help; it is equally clear that apart from genuine concern and liking for Ann, the others on the board were at a loss what to do both when Ann was writing messages to the board and after her death. As with my motherís death, Annís suicide was the result of common failings in the care system, and in Annís case the failure of the so-called "user movement" to give any realistic help. The ukSurvivors discussion board is the best known UK "user" outlet on the Net. The membership includes a high proportion of people who actively promote the "user" message of empowerment and patient autonomy. Many of the contributors are employed either directly or indirectly by statutory authorities or one of the large charities or earn their livings as "user consultants". Two are Mental Health Act Commissioners.
Ann's first message to the ukSurvivors message board was on 1 March 2000.   On 24 May 2000, Tina Coldham posted a message telling the members that Ann had committed suicide two weeks earlier.

Ann OíNeill is one of so many people who, through no fault of their own, live in terror and misery, and die needlessly. Ann and the many others like her must not be forgotten.  I believe that Ann's fears about the threat of compulsory medication in the community were groundless. Read why on the mental health law page.
A "Friends Remembered" discussion board was set up on 14 September 2002 (the day of the march protesting against the government's plans to bring in new legislation) to commemorate those we have lost in the mental health system. 
Ann's name was among those that appeared on a banner prepared by Symon Price, displayed at the lobby of Parliament on 23 October 2002.  

Rosemary Moore, July 2001
updated December 2002

 

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 bullet.JPG (1011 bytes) Janet Cresswell in Broadmoor

After spending 27 years in Broadmoor, Crowthorne, Berkshire - a high security mental hospital -  on Tuesday 8 July 2003 Janet Cresswell was transferred to Thornford Park, a medium secure mental hospital, also in Berkshire.  Janet was 45 when she was sent to Broadmoor, she is now 72.

On 9 June 2002, the Independent on Sunday newspaper started a mental health campaign focussing on the proposed changes to the Mental Health Act.  Janet was featured in its first story and she has been referred to frequently in subsequent stories.  

(This also tied in with a programme broadcast on UK Channel 5 on 23 July 2002 which also featured Janet.  See "INSIDE BROADMOOR"  message on mentalmagazine discussion board for more details.)

Go to  www.independent.co.uk and put "Janet Cresswell",  "mental health campaign" or "Broadmoor" in the "search this site" box to find all stories.
For stories and letters Sunday, 14 July go to:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mentalmagazine/message/1422

Feature on Janet Cresswell, 16 June: 
http://www.independent.co.uk/story.jsp?story=305773
The article refers to information on this website but does not mention Mental Magazine uk itself.
For background about Janet Cresswell, read THIS page, go to archives (messages) on the mentalmagazine discussion board and look in the Files section of the mentalmagazine discussion board for more articles by and about Janet Cresswell.  Read Janet's acclaimed play "The One-Sided Wall" performed in London's Bush Theatre in 1989 and the interview with Janet in the London Evening Standard that explains how the play came to be written.  

Writer and performer Nikki Johnson contacted Janet after seeing an article in The Sunday Times in 1987, and together they wrote "The One-Sided Wall" which is the story of how Janet came to be in Broadmoor and has stayed there.

There is no evidence that Janet is suffering from any form of mental disorder - and in an ITV
This Week programme broadcast in 1991 about the inappropriate detention of many women in two of the Special Hospitals - Broadmoor and Ashworth - called "Insane Justice". Dr Chandra Ghosh said of Janet: "It's very difficult to decide why she was put in a hospital and in fact what psychiatric help she could have been offered.  It's obvious that she hasn't been offered any help.  All we've done is actually locked her up." The programme also stated that a Mental Health Review Tribunal had said she must leave the hospital nearly four years previously.  

Nevertheless, the hospital wrote telling me that Janet is suffering from "classic symptoms of a major mental illness"

Although I have known about Janet Cresswell since 1987 when -  I read the Sunday Times article, I only contacted her in May 2000 after seeing her name published in the Department of Health November 1999 Report of the Expert Committee into the Review of the Mental Health Act 1983. Janet was listed as one of the people who had submitted comments about the proposed reforms. (See Maudsley debate on 5 July 2001 and News about the consultation on government proposals in the Draft Bill.) 

I have visited Janet many times in Broadmoor and have a large number of letters from her mostly handwritten, as well as the stories and articles I have published on the net. Since May 2000 I have been corresponding with her doctor, the hospital authorities, the Home Office, her MP Glenda Jackson and another MP who is on the Health Select Committee, Eileen Gordon, and the Mental Health Act Commission.  In May 2001, I had a personal meeting with Janet's Responsible Medical Officer (RMO) and have also visited the ward she is on and talked to the staff there. 

(Before I set up this website) on 7 September 2000, I sent a message about Janet to five Internet mental health discussion boards. You can see this - the first message - and other messages about and from Janet on the MMuk discussion board.  You can also find the "user survey" she conducted from within Broadmoor in 1993 and other stories and articles in the Files section of the noticeboard.  These include "What's New?" her thoughts on the proposed changes to the 1983 Mental Health Act - in her view all the new legislation will achieve is to remove the necessity for clinicians to invent a mental disorder to warrant detention.

Janet is detained under the 1983 Mental Health Act and is therefore being held illegally since the authorities can provide no information to substantiate that she is either a danger to the general public nor that she is suffering from any form of mental disorder.

The misapplication of the 1983 Mental Health Act is, in my opinion, why our mental health services are so appalling.  You can read more on the page dealing with mental health law and policies.

The following article is reproduced from the Sunday Times colour supplement of March 1987 - "A Day in the Life of...."   This feature still appears and is always the last page of the magazine.)  
Like me, writer and performer Nikki Johnson read and kept this story and contacted Janet.  They went on to write "The One Sided Wall".

The story reproduced below was written by Janet Cresswell who at the time of the article had been already been an inmate of Broadmoor for 10 years, having been sent there in 1976 at the age of 45.  This article is to be repubished by The Sunday Times in September 2003, one of a few selected from the many pieces published over the years.  The reason it came to be written is that Janet read "A Life in the Day of Delia Smith" (the tv cookery guru) and thought her life was more interesting!  

Janet Cresswell, sent to Broadmoor 10 years ago, describes what its like to be an inmate

A LIFE IN THE DAY OF
Janet Cresswell

Janet Cresswell, 55, was sent to Broadmoor 10 years ago for wounding a psychiatrist in protest at authorities' refusal to investigate the cause of her psychiatric problems. She was born in Bushey, Herts and went to Watford Grammar. She worked as a secretary and married an architect In 1956, but divorced seven years later; they have one daughter

The doors open and the lights go on at 7am. I don't get up then but wait for those who want a fag (they have to be washed and dressed to warrant a light) to get out of the way in the wash room. I could never understand the point of getting up at all if there was nothing useful to do, but those at Broadmoor feel differently. I bless my neurotic mother whose cigarette cravings made me a non-smoker since the age of seven.

After breakfast at eight my friend and I play Scrabble: it helps pass boredom time while medication is dispensed. Another friend goes through the Times and Telegraph crosswords and passes them over when she's finished. It puzzles me that there is so little outcry against psychiatric medicines - I have needed three gynae operations to counteract the drugs I was forced to have some years ago. What a funny National Health Service it is that pays money for having babies in an overcrowded society, gives free heart transplants, sex changes and psychiatry, but charges at a premium for dentistry and glasses.

When 'All work areas and school' is called over the Tannoy we assemble until our escorts are ready and the nurse on radio control has signaled we can move. Chaos reigns until we are at work. I am in the sewing room, but not because I can sew. When I am not employed replacing buttons for kitchen overalls or turning up nurses' uniforms, I perform some other form of handiwork acceptable to the institution. Before I came to Broadmoor, for stabbing a psychiatrist in the backside, I regarded myself as useless at handiwork. After 10 years I still feel I am useless at it but now accept that Broadmoor does not want me to do anything I am good at.

After lunch I make a pot of tea for the ward and sometimes get a reprimand for giving some to the old ladies who reside in the dormitory. They wee improperly but I think it is cruel to deprive them of a hot drink on that account. Time passes quickly here although there is little to show for it. The pace of nothing consists of a round of social and games events which take precedence over work, last on the list of priorities after visits to the hairdresser's, private visits, school, group therapy and anything else that can be conjured up. The summer is more regimented than the winter as we are made to go en masse into the garden, often for hours on end, with nothing to do. Security is so paranoid that even knitting is prohibited there. Rainy summers, therefore, are not unpopular with many.

Once a fortnight, we women are driven to revolution point when volunteer men come over for a chat. This is called a games evening, and the women have to attend - even those in bath chairs. This is one of the few forced social events and a case for women's liberation. However, as the issue is a trivial example of arrogance towards human rights, we do not complain too bitterly. Most of us realize that the social functions are more to justify staff employment than entertain us.

I don't believe in religion, but was surprised that one visitor, whose aim was a spiritual world and getting me out of Broadmoor, was banned from seeing me. Frankly, I can think of nothing worse than a spiritual world, except a medical one, but my visitor was of the opinion that if I could believe in something then some group would get interested in me and get me out. He felt that individuals did not have a chance. One or two friends did make approaches to the Home Office. I didn't think I would be in Broadmoor 10 years and am resigned to never having justice at all.

We have mounds of official visitors round from various parts of the empire. Guessing who they are is a game that has palled with such repetition. The police bound in like football teams, magistrates look tweedily well-dressed, health visitors clean and well-spoken, social workers and psychiatric nurses are usually a mixed, scruffy bunch, frequently clutching plastic bags as though on an outing to Brighton, while doctors, MPs and reps from the Home Office and DHSS are shown round in small parties escorted by what is termed 'the hierarchy'. One wonders what they have come to see.

One day there were 20 social workers from Hackney - I can recall no business firm which can manage with so many of its personnel missing on a day's outing. Last week there were four different parties here, including a batch of Japanese, complete with cameras and an interpreter. I wondered aloud if they were here to boost the British tourist industry and one patient rushed up to them to ask who they were. 'Doctors' was the reply.

Mug shots are renewed each time we change hairstyle, or every five years. One woman was recently photographed in each of her five wigs, but my hair grows so quickly that I merely have mine taken at the statutory time. So determined am I to conform to Broadmoor's description of me that I make myself look as awful as possible without actually drawing attention to myself. I screw up my nose ever so slightly and lift one side of my mouth to produce a sort of hare-lip effect. l am quite convinced that, in the event of my escape, my blown-up picture would precipitate the most anti member of the public to co-operate with the police.

One recent escapee, a friend from the room next door whom I miss enormously, has a gentle face and her photo on television gave the reverse impression of the description given of her. Looking far more manic, the MP who appeared on BBC raved that killers should not be allowed on outings from Broadmoor. I quite agree with him, but realize his definition of who is a danger to the general public is somewhat exaggerated. My friend hopped off from an outing when reaching the underwear section of Marks & Spencer. While the police were looking for her I wondered if she was having breakfast at Fortnum's. The question of outings is a tricky one, the policy of mixing hard-luck cases with the hardened ones is difficult to explain.

The notice board in the corridor has inherited one more bit of paper, this time the tennis draw for the female wing. We've not played tennis for years and the sudden enthusiasm is difficult to fathom. The fellow who has arranged the draw has made three to appear in the finals - perhaps he is changing the game to pig in the middle.

The library van comes over (from the male side) once a fortnight - it has been out of action for some weeks - and books on prison life are well read. Charriere's Papillon and Ranco remind us that Devil's Island has been closed as a penal colony and things here could be worse. Solzy-whatshisname's Gulag and similar amaze me - how did he maintain that writing style through thousands of pages? How similar are the thoughts of prisoners east and west. I have just finished a book sent to me from the States which compares psychiatry under Hitler and in America today. It's interesting reading and I wonder who I dare lend it to.

I pass the time playing cards, reading, knitting and so on. I am rarely sad to get locked up again at 9pm. I don't have night sedation, issued just beforehand. I have a clear conscience and mostly the only things that keep me awake are the floodlighting the builders have erected outside and also the flashing of the nurses' torches and their heavy foot-steps as they come round on their night inspection.

(c) Times Newspapers Ltd, 1987.

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bullet.JPG (1011 bytes) Joseph Heller (RIP) & Catch-22
When Heller died, from natural causes in 1999, I felt as my brother did about Princess Di Ė now Iíll never meet him! I first read his novel when I was about 19 and thought then it was one of the best books Iíd ever read. Later, when I became involved with mental health campaigning through trying to help my relatives, I saw the novel as explaining exactly the dilemmas of the treatment and care of the mentally ill in westernised society. Throughout the novel there is a theme of questioning what sanity/insanity is, and one passage in particular defines the "catch-22" of mental illness. That is: you canít be treated for mental illness unless you ask for help yourself (someone else canít ask for you) but if you say youíre ill, youíre not, youíre swinging the lead! There are variations of this but it all leads down the same road Ė help is only given conditionally and the conditions are set by the givers. The person needing help - and anyone trying to advocate for them eg relatives and friends - are always put at a disadvantage by a "catch-22". Of course the other catch is that mental illness is sometimes used as a get out or a means to obtain advantage - some people, like Yossarian, are using mental illness as an excuse. But then everyone gets tarred with the same brush.

This is the passage from the novel, about bombardier Yossarianís attempts to get himself out of having to fly combat missions, which he could do if he was deemed crazy. But he had to ask to be grounded himself and say it was because he was crazy - so he couldnít beÖYossarian, asks the doctor:  (For more go to the Catch-22 Fan Page.)

"You mean thereís a catch?"

"Sure thereís a catch," Doc Daneeka replied. "Catch-22. Anyone who wants to get out of combat duty isnít really crazy."

There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that concern for oneís own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didnít, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didnít have to; but if he didnít want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.

"Thatís some catch, that Catch-22," he observed.

"Itís the best there is," Doc Daneeka agreed.

(from Chapter 4, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller)

FOR MORE:  Go to the Catch-22 Fan Page

 

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bullet.JPG (1011 bytes) Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky is an American Professor of Linguistics who also writes and lectures on US domestic and foreign policy. As far as I know, he doesnít comment specifically on health and social care but his basic message is about human rights and is, I think, entirely relevant to health and social care. For example, taken from Chronicles of Dissent, interviews with Noam Chomsky by David Barsamian (1992 AK Press, Stirling Scotland) Chomsky says:

"Any form of authority requires justification; itís not self justified."

This comment applies, I think, to all of us.  I have used it as my banner quote for the 
Justice for Mental Patients
section of this website.

Chomsky also says in Language & Problems of Knowledge:
"It is quite possible - overwhelmingly probable, on might guess - that we will always learn more about human life and human personality from novels than from scientific psychology"

A good website to get an overview of Noam Chomsky and which includes a discussion forum where you can communicate with Chomsky himself is at http://www.zmag.org/chomsky/index.cfm.  

Go also to the MMuk discussion board for several messages that include Noam Chomsky's opinions on the 11 September tragedy.  (You will find these messages by entering "Noam Chomsky" in the Search box.)

October 2001

 

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bullet.JPG (1011 bytes) Tim Berners-Lee & the World Wide Web
Thanks to the humane and unselfish inventors and developers of the Web and Internet, we now have an incredibly effective and democratic way of accessing and disseminating information. A vast amount of information is easily accessible and email makes it possible to communicate almost instantaneously across the globe, with as many people as one would wish, for the cost of a local phone call. There is enormous potential to use the medium of the Web to establish genuine consensus on universally shared concerns. Yet from what I have seen as a member of various health and social care discussion groups (like the one attached to this site) most people communicate in "cyber ghettos" - selectively and conservatively within self-defined parameters. Hopefully that will change in time.

Tim Berners-Lee has made the democratic dissemination of information possible. The only tribute that can be paid to him is to acknowledge that. Here is an article from The Sun, August 16 2000 that rightly says - this is the man who changed the world forever.

A book has just been published about Tim Berners-Lee -
How the Web Was Born by James Gillies and Robert Cailliau (Oxford Paperbacks £8.99)

How the Englishman Tim Berners-Lee wrote the programs that run the world wide web, and why he gave them away.

Rosemary Moore, July 2001

By EMMA SHRIMSLEY
The Sun  16/8/00

Day the wwworld changed forever

You may not have heard of Tim Berners-Lee. But ten years ago he changed the world.

timberner.JPG (15300 bytes)Tim is the unsung hero who invented the world wide web. In the decade since the launch of his global communication system, tens of thousands of businessmen have used it to become millionaires. But amazingly, Tim has made hardly a penny himself. The London-born physicist was a software engineer at Cern, a laboratory in Geneva that investigates the tiniest particles of matter, where he dreamed up the Web.

Modest

He proposed a system that would link documents across the Internet, allowing people to share knowledge. Tim wanted it to be free, open and global. He has fought to ensure the Web is never privately owned. No caviar or Porsches for Tim, 45. who now lives In Boston, Massachusetts, with American wife Nancy and their two young children. He drives a 17-year-old VW Golf and earns a modest academic salary as head of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which tries to set and maintain technical standards on the Net.

Born in East Sheen, South West London, Tim was introduced to computers at an early age. His parents, Conway and Mary, worked on the first commercially-built computer, the Farranti Mark 1.

Derek Pennell, his Physics teacher at Emmanuel School, Wandsworth, remembers Tim as one of his best pupils ever.

Tim built a computer himself when he went on to Queen's College,. It was a crude contraption of spare parts and an old TV set, but it was a labour of love. After, graduating with a first class degree in theoretical physics, Tim started work as a software engineer.

He took a six-month contract at Cern in 1980 where he created hypertext a principle fundamental to the way the Web would work.

He wrote some software called Enquire which enabled him to highlight words in one document which would then direct him to other documents. Tim did not take the idea any further until after he returned to Cern in 1984 after a break on other jobs. He realised that everyone could benefit from his way of organising and sharing knowledge.

And so. in 1989, Tim sat down at his computer and polished up his Big Idea.

In his own words, his plan was for "all the Information stored on computers everywhere to be linked - a global Information space."

Silly

Naming his creation was no easy task. Informesh? No that sounded too much like Info-MESS. The Information Mine? No, the Initials spelt TIM and that seemed big-headed. He settled on World Wide Web - WWW for short. Pals told him it was a silly name because WWW takes longer to say than World Wide Web. But World Wide Web it stayed and Tim went public with it. As his project spread across the Internet like wildfire, he changed the lives of people everywhere.

In less than a decade the World Wide Web has grown to more than a billion pages on just about everything.

So next time you use it, remember who to thank.

 

 

 

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