Thursday, October 12, 2006

There was a television programme on UK television's Channel 4 "Dispatches" earlier this week.

In this Dispatches, an undercover reporter spent six months in three separate NHS Trusts that care for the acutely mentally ill in hospital.

Unfortunately we missed it but Nell saw it. We discovered later that Sam had seen it also and had been disturbed by it - though he thought it told it like it is.

"They don't care about you," he said. "The doctors and the nurses. They don't care."

Britain's Mental Health Scandal

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

It was World Mental Health Day yesterday.

We managed to get overnight leave for Sam. Over lunch and in the afternoon we went to a wonderful event at a nearby town relating the arts and mental health. Sam enjoyed it despite being a bit up and down. It didn't matter if his behaviour was a bit strange at times because he was in an environment where that was understood and not looked down on.

In the evening thee was another event - a "Mad Cabaret" - that Sam also enjoyed. It did get a little too much for him so we went for a walk outside and he calmed quickly, then we went home.

I'd been worried that all the excitement might be too much for him and could have sparked a psychotic episode but he really enjoyed being in active situations where he could do something purposeful and just enjoy himself.

It was good too that the media did seem to have more items relating to mental health yesterday.

Monday, October 09, 2006

I was waiting outside the door.

They leave you there.


I was picking up Sam.

The dood opened.

No - not Sam, the consultant.

He swept past and didn't acnowledge me. Well he didn't even look at me to decide if he knew me. Perhaps it was assumed I would be a lesser mortal.

He was wearing a very sharp suit. I used to have to wear a suit for work at times. It is a power trip. I wish I'd had one as swish as his!

For the next meeting I think I must get out my suit again.

As he walked up the drive to the office a patient who had been allowed out for a cigarette called to him.

"Hello Dr Smith."

I heard no reply but looked round.

Dr Smith continued walking, head down.

"See you at the meeting on Wednesday!"

Wednesday is when they have ward round. One hour to discuss the whole ward.

Still he didn't look round.

Another human being had called him by name - politely, appropriately. And he just walked away ignoring the polite and friendly attempt at conversation.

After all - these people are mad. You don't talk to them do you?

The young man who had called to the doctor came to the door. It was time for him to return.

"Are you a social worker?"

"No I'm Sam's dad. I'm taking him out."

His face brightened from one of suspicion. I was no longer the enemy.

"Oh Sam's all right. It's the drugs though. He shouldn't have taken the drugs.

"It's horrible in here you know. It's full of criminals and drug dealers."

(That's just what Sam says! Though the ward manager denies it!!)

"I try to help people in here."

(That's what Sam says too.)

"But they tell me just to look after myself."

He was let in. I was ignored.

Another patient having a cigarette on a bench across the lawn called to me.

"Do they know you are there? Press the buzzer again!"

I gave him the thumbs up sign.

The only people who had treated me like a human being so far were the patients - and in a very kindly manner.

The only person I'd seen treat them like human beings was me.

But this is a psychiatric hospital.

It's mad in here!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

This might be a useful link.

If they link to me it must be comprehensive!

It does look like a good selection of links and the main site could also be useful. I'll try to put a link on the sidebar.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I started to write about Sam's weekend stay
- but you've heard it all before.

I started to write about the emotions, what it feels like
- but that has become harder now.

I started to write about the things that matter to us
- but I guess we need to sort that ourselves

Otherwise we won't be here
- to love one another
- to support Sam
- to make it better for all the others.

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