Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sam phoned early one morning last week.

The sun was shining on the cottages that he could see through a gap between the buildings from the courtyard where he had been having a cigarette before breakfast.

We both cried that this was the main pleasure he would get from that day and most.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Jane went to see the psychiatrist today with a friend. She wrote out an agenda of questions for discussion but he was bemused by it. He thought he ought to have all the answers but didn't have an answer to one of them. He seemed not to understand that they were points for discussion rather than direct questions of him.

He was frightened that he didn't have the answers.

He was even more frightened that he didn't understand the questions.

Jane was yet even more frightened that he didn't understand the questions.

He felt "got at" because of this ... but it was a genuine attempt to have a multi-disciplinary discussion. As the team leader, surely he should feel competent in this? Their ward rounds are described as multi-disciplinary team meetings. But he didn't feel confident. He could talk about medication, leave and risk assessments; anything else sent him into a panic or denial.

Consultant psychiatrists in the NHS are not used to being questioned or having to substantiate what they are doing. They expect deference and in return do what the ward staff ask of them.

It is four weeks since he suggested he wanted a second opinion for Sam. He has done nothing since then.

When Jane discussed this with him he suggested a name for the second opinion. We have Googled him and he is an expert in "Schizophrenia", in medication and in treatment resistance. He has written papers about the additional medication that Sam's psychiatrist wants to introduce. What is the point in getting a true second opinion from someone whose background is such that they are almost certain to support what Sam's psychiatrist intended to do in the first place?

We have been very polite with him so far. Perhaps it was good to have made him squirm a little today ...

Though on previous occasions this has often had negative outcomes.

Monday, March 01, 2010

I'm here at the computer to escape a TV programme. It is about a man whose father was killed by someone with serious mental health problems. In the news last week there was a murder of a boy whose elder sister was also injured with stab wounds. The accused is their brother who had a history of mental health problems.

These are desperately sad cases. One's heart goes out to all in the families. But I cannot bear to watch this programme as the advance publicity gives the impression that people diagnosed with schizophrenia will be demonised as wild and dangerous people. Perhaps it will be more balanced but the main media view is that people suffering psychosis are dangerous to society whereas in the main they are more dangerous to themselves.

If the programme looks afresh at approaches to supporting people with mental health problems that may be positive ... but I fear the outcomes from such programmes are likely to be more negative.

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