Brexit and Mental Health

brexit

Brexit, like it or not is a reality. 54% of the public voted in a referendum for us to leave the EU. I watched with despair as events unfolded and was almost praying for us to stay in as I feared that a Brexit decision could really send my End Of Terror situation spiralling out of control. Post-Brexit, if I believed in restricting people’s liberties for thought crime and nowt else and I had the power as a psychiatrist, then maybe I’d be sentencing 54% of the population for section detainment in mental hospitals for making a completely irrational decision in voting, a decision I believe that long term will make the entire UK suffer, economically, politically and more importantly, to End Of Terror, within the mental health system.

Why the big fear, you may ask? Firstly, one of the core components of EU membership is that EU citizens have access to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. This court, although I’ve never used it personally, acts as a safeguard for human rights. I’ve always dreamed of getting over to Strasbourg and felt that it would be one of the only places in which to get justice for End Of Terror. I will never realise that goal. But,many good things have come from Strasbourg over the years and indirectly it has safeguarded all those unnecessarily under the cosh, detained in UK mental health institutions. One piece of legislation that has been delivered through the presence of the EU Human Rights Court, is our own country’s Human Rights Act (1998). This Act came into being under the supervision of the Tony Blair government and basically enshrined EU Human Rights legislation into British Law.

I have always felt that the Human Rights Act is incompatible with the Mental Health Act. The fundamental freedoms it enshrines are usurped once the Mental Health Act is invoked. I have constantly tried to argue a Human Rights case for myself, even in the Mental Health Tribunal Courts, quoting the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights and referring to Strasbourg and indeed the Human Rights Act. Most debate, however, falls on deaf ears, and the tribunal courts tend to favour the misplaced incorrect mindset of Mental Health Workers who generally claim that the Mental Health Act is more important than any human rights legislation and overrides it. Treatment against consent is my main bugbear with the Mental Health Act and any fool can see that this is incompatible with virtually all that Human Rights laws suggest.

Brexit has created not just deep divisions in society, but also a pre-Revolution like political fallout. Both major parties – Labour and Conservative, are quarrelling within their ranks and their infighting is spilling over into a tense political anarchy, spreading like wildfire across the Nation. Brexiteers are abandoning their pre-referendum promises and also withdrawing on the whole from their ideology, as they resign from political decisions, themselves surprised that they duped the British voting public so wonderfully. I need not mention the falls of Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, Michael Gove, all leading campaigners for Brexit, who have all not quite stood up to their vision. The reality is that there is a great political awkwardness lying in the immediate future for those decision-makers that have to actually go ahead and invoke Article 5o of the European Constitution and officially make the UK no longer an EU member. These shirkers will rear their ugly heads at some distant point in the future to carry on their warped visions and lies.

It was already a major part of David Cameron and the Conservative Party’s plans to terminate the Human Rights Act and to replace it with a UK Bill of Rights. The Human Rights Act was a Labour policy and is loathsome to rightist politicians. It is a safeguard that protects and restricts Conservative policies. Perhaps a tonic to Cameron as he resigned in the wake of Brexit, was that Britian leaving the EU would enhance the powers of those opposed to Human Rights legislation as the people of this country would no longer be able to challenge the UK government in Strasbourg, thus consolidating more power in Westminster. However, the Brexit fallout is not all rosy for the mental health system and those who rely on the comfort of human rights. Theresa May is our new unelected Prime Minister, avoiding even the vote selection for leader of the Conservatives from within the party ranks. At End Of Terror we have already pleaded with Theresa May to sort out the situation with Mental Health and Policing in South East Wales. She was home secretary for the vast duration of the period when the police and mental healthers stepped up their violent pursuit, culminating in them opening fire on me with a taser through the letterbox at home (see articles on Police Brutality and Mental Health). I tweeted Theresa May but like David Cameron, she just completely ignored End Of Terror, a response that we are well used to seeing from policymakers and the powers that be, in general. Theresa May is dangerous to Mental Health as she has some radically twisted views on human rights and wherever possible has exercised her parliamentary powers to vote against any form of human rights that would protect people within the Mental Health system. I just hope that now she has reached her zenith of power, in being Prime Minister, that perhaps she has the responsibility to change her views. She promises a better Britain for all and I pray she delivers this FOR ALL, and not just the privileged few.

It’s not all bad, perhaps, for mental health detainees. I’ve pondered Brexit substantially and one of the possible benefits could be that due to the falling pound, the departure from the Common Market and tighter budget restrictions there could be a corresponding fall in budget expenditure for mental health and policing. Mental Health spending was supposed to reach parity with Physical Health spending and this goal is far from being realised and is very distant on the horizon. I think that in a shrinking economy with less access to European markets, psychiatry, whose total reliance on Big Pharma with its almost pure dedication to pharmaceuticals, may be forced to tighten its purse strings. A lot of psychiatric medicines are produced abroad and imported into the UK. With the pound demolished and the exchange rate to Euro and indeed dollar damaged, the cost of bulk buying mental health medicines from abroad could almost double in real terms. Tariffs on European imports will further exacerbate these costs. Will we see a move towards non-pharmaceutical interventions in mental health? Will the oft-neglected talking therapies enter fashion? Will the taxpaying public support rising pharmaceutical expenditure, on drugs that are very iffy at best and have no scientific or medical foundation?

Looking towards the Mental Health Review Tribunal Courts, any change in Human Rights legislation could alter the way that they work. Most people are not aware that the current status quo has been changed slightly in favour of patients at Tribunals due to the Human Rights Act. At present the onus of responsibility in the courts for burden of proof falls upon the detaining authority to prove that ongoing detention of an appealing patient is warranted. Any loss of human rights laws could lead to a reversal of this situation thus making the patient’s job of appealing against section detainment even more difficult. Already the courts decisions are heavily weighted to rule against patients, with only approximately 5% of appeals resulting in success for patients.

An interesting point to note and one that I have already touched upon in a previous article – Immigrant Doctors on the NHS – Will there be fewer foreign doctors and therefore psychiatrists as a result of Brexit? I do not believe that positions of such power and responsibility should be allocated to immigrants in psychiatry. I do not feel that foreigners truly understand the nature of our society as they have not been nurtured in it. I would welcome fewer immigrant psychiatrists. However, on the flipside, I think that fewer foreign mental patients, nurses and cleaners could be detrimental to mental hospitals as it would essentially reduce the complexity of the usual rich biodiversity of nationalities they contain. I’m sure foreign patients such as the Italian Allesandra Pacchieri might be glad not to be in the UK mental health system, most certainly after her terrifying ordeal here.

Research is one area of society dependant on Europe and its links with universities across Europe, sharing their studies and cross-funding. Already the science of mental health is most imprecise – it is a pseudoscience at best. The lack of research as a consequence of Brexit will leave us ever deeper in the dark ages of this medieval-like system of torture.

On the whole I think that Brexit produces a new, more isolated society with fewer safeguards in place that will lead to more suffering for mental patients and an increased government reliance on the oppressive system that mental health provides. Isolation and a warped power sense triggered the rise of Nazism in 1930s Germany. Remember that post WW2, one of the mechanisms set up to prevent the incidence of Nazism from ever reappearing, was the creation of closer international co-operation via the European Union. It mustn’t be forgotten that one of the first groups of people Hitler tested the concentration camp system upon were Germany’s mental patients. Often it is in times of crisis that mental patients’ suffering is at its most acute.

Brexit Britain, cast adrift from continental Europe, will be a lonesome island, its asylums even lonelier, darker, more eery than ever. Big Pharma is too far embedded to disappear and I fear that the new government, most certainly outside of the European safeguard mechanisms, will further erode human rights making an easier triumph for the fascist powers that control mental health and perpetuate modern day psychiatric slavery.

Interesting internet articles:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/29/eu-referendum-mental-health-vote

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Rights_Act_1998

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Court_of_Human_Rights

http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/

 

 

 

End Of Terror Under Attack – Repression Inside Talygarn

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The authorities – local mental health workers and Gwent Police – are not happy with End Of Terror exposing their misdeeds. When I first started the website there was an immediate clampdown and I was ushered off into the Mental Health system. I later understood why my then Doctor, Dr Darryl Watts, was unhappy about being published on the internet as he had been convicted of child sex offences. It is convenient for the authorities to mask their repression and cover up End Of Terror. I think it important though, to expose this hidden system to the world and I certainly, over the years, have taken much refuge in the fact that End of Terror exists. It is a crutch of support to me.

2015 was a horrific year for me. I was taken into the hospital on no fewer than four occasions. It took me out of my undergraduate university studies at Cardiff University and set my life back again. After nineteen years in the mental health system it came as no real shock and i am used to dealing with the State disrupting my life. It is an asset to be resilient and to forge on with life plans in spite of the constant mental health harassment and its infringement upon my liberty.

During the last hospitalisation I was detained from July 2015 through to November. I was sat at home, minding my own business, doing work on the internet for my music business and out of the blue Dr Basu turned up with the police and a magistrate-signed warrant to remove me for assessment. I had done nothing whatsoever and was just carted off and incarcerated. Basu proceeded to give me the maximum dose of CloPixol Depot injection, something to which it has been proved I am allergic to. I had two stints on the secure PICU (Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit) Beechwood, St. Cadoc’s, Caerleon, for dissent on Talygarn Ward, Griffithstown County Hospital, Pontypool, where I was detained for the bulk of my stay.

My notoriety as a patient precedes me on Talygarn and on the ward I have some formidable enemies, usually within the nurse management structure. People who are constantly vying for their own selfish climb up the ladder whose disdain for patients is most cruel. I name Keith Sullivan, deputy ward manager, Jayne Hughes, former ward manager and Paul Hanna, Deputy Nurse Manager, to be among the most appalling of these ladder-climbing despots. They spend their days in a twisted Machiavellian power struggle, never hesitating to have a pop at patients using any means at their disposal to make their victims’ stays in hospital less comfortable. They are the antithesis of good nursing and miss the fundamental point that they are there to serve the patients’ needs. These are the prison warders whose radical oppression of patients and their rights truly epitomise the struggle within mental hospitals – the very examples of why there is such a divide between staff and patients.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_Yayz5o-l0

One of the scariest movements within mental health hospitals is the inevitable ban they seek to impose on smoking. Anti-smoking lobbies have successfully campaigned across the board of the NHS for smoking to be restricted. Due to the enforced nature of sectioning, where patients are detained against their consent, smoking is still, on the whole, allowed inside mental hospitals. Smoking is one of the few things you can actually do to while away your time and most mental patients are heavy smokers. It upset me to see during my stay on Talygarn, that the inside smoking room had been closed and patients had been relegated to the garden area. It is one step closer to the achieved goal of a complete ban. Lighters were confiscated and the nurses had to be called to light your cigarette. This is one undignified way of removing patient’s human rights, but not the major subject of this article. I dread to think what it will be like in the future to be detained and forced to quit smoking instantly. There will be uproar within the services and most patients will struggle to come to terms with the ban.

Since the advent of mobile phones, patients have found new ways of staying in touch with the outside world during their incarceration. Although some parts of the system do deny access to mobiles eg.PICU, most acute wards allow patients to use their phones, although they often confiscate them at night and refuse patients the use of their chargers. This leads to a clandestine smuggling operation for patients whereby contraband chargers exchange hands on the ward so that everyone can top up their battery. Nurses spend their days lighting cigarettes and searching bedrooms for hidden mobile phone chargers – hardly constructive medical care?

Smart phones with internet are especially useful and to maintain social media accounts and have internet access is a godsend, especially to me. I have been able to update my EndOfTerror from within the confines of the establishment and being able to reach out to followers gives a certain empowerment. Being locked away from society is lonely and frustrating and although not freedom, internet access allows a certain maintenance of your outside life. Messages of encouragement from friends and family are invaluable to your disrupted mindset and as a patient the therapeutic value of support on the outside is immeasurable.

Resisting as ever, during my stay, I was actively tweeting on the @endofterror timeline. It’s rather difficult to do full blog posts from a mobile phone and tweeting is a handy alternative, even if the tweets just serve as a personal reminder of incidents once one gets back to the outside world. I regularly study social media activity of mental patients during detainment through online mental patient friends and although often disturbing in content I know that I am not alone in seeking solace through social media use during a section. Each individual has their own methods of reaching out.

The Indian Dr Basu and his underling, the Iranian Dr Al-Hasani, were being particularly virulent in their disdainful treatment of me. They simply failed to recognise me as a human being with human rights and used the treatment against consent to the maximum. They frustrated me by denying me any leave at all and I was forced to resort to criticising their actions on twitter. They were both monitoring my twitter use and the End Of Terror website and threatened me saying that I was not allowed to post anything about them or their names. This infringes upon my freedom of speech and expression and I simply refuse to bow down to fascism and change my policies of exposing the fault-lines of the mental health system. Prior to hospitalisation Dr Basu had been stalking me online and although he denies this, I caught him, through analytic software, studying my Linkedin and invading my personal space on the web. This adds to my conspiracy theory of how the actions of psychiatrists are preordained and not rooted in healthcare. My enemies will pursue me despite me having good health. The voice of dissent will be punished by the system and EndOFTerror is a nightmare scenario for my pursuers.

I started using the smartphone camera to take some visual images of the hospital surroundings. Most people fortunately never get to view the bare oppressive inside walls of a psychiatric hospital so it helps in exposing the realities inside. One night in the smoking area, where we were jovially listening to some music, I took a photo of some fellow patients, with, of course, their permission. I posted this photo on my personal networks (not end of terror). The psychiatric nurses and doctors who were glued to my social networks, looking for an excuse to pounce, did just this. They cited privacy rules and said that I had broken confidentiality rules and mobile phone policies and they confiscated my Iphone. I was up in arms. I said I would delete the offending photo but could not see what harm I had done. In the real world I am always updating my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with all my escapades. Why should this be any different during a stay in hospital?

After many complaints the nurses came to a compromise and returned the mobile phone but they decided to do this with a twist and use an experimental policy. This experiment was horrendous to me and signified the extreme measures of state repression that little Hitlers within mental health services are prepared to use. I was allowed ten minutes of access to my mobile phone per shift and this access was to be supervised by a nurse. They wanted the inner workings of End Of Terror and were prepared to intimidate me into revealing my personal use of the internet. Nurses were quite uncomfortable with doing this and many expressed this to me. However, there are nurses who just relish the sort of power this experiment brings and jump at the chance of subverting patients’ rights. I found that my internet use was to be closely scrutinised and used in ways to justify my mental illness. Everything I did online found its way into my notes and was judged as mental illness. It’s just a total invasion of privacy and when you hear about internet repression in far off places such as China, to see this obsessive monitoring occurring in the UK just proved to me the State’s obsessiveness with surveillance.

Pretty soon, the ban on my phone use became compounded. I am a translation student at Cardiff University and use social media and the internet to maintain contact with a host of international friends and business associates across the world. The nurses started to complain as they could not understand my social media messages when I spoke in a foreign language. Therefore I was banned from speaking foreign languages and banned from internet contact with anyone outside of the UK. It is bad enough being prevented from studying your Translation degree, being forced to mss key lectures and examinations while you are subjected to the human experimentation of mental health. These authorities were now dictating to me that use of foreign language was a mental illness. I was being treated for my education skills and prevented in every way possible of exercising my study mindset. I found this to be ignorant, racist and typical of a stupid mentality. Why should my ways be changed to suit my captors?

Is it mentally ill and evil to contact people in the outside world and to use foreign languages? I was disappointed with the recent Brexit vote that demonstrated a democratic dislike for the EU and its foreign characteristics yet inside the mental hospital I witnessed some of the sickness of the system and how ignorant people could be. Right wing tendencies and oppression are key to the success of the mental health movement and where people have the right to exercise their power, I feel they often abuse this power, typical of the little Hitlers that so plague our fragmented society. Be it a police officer with a trigger-happy taser or a racist nurse, these people love mental health systems and what their roles in society entail. I feel sick that people can actively monitor my personal correspondence – most of the time it being innocuous contact with friends and family. I was forced to submit and to be honest dreaded my ten minute sessions on the phone. In a locked ward surrounded by cameras monitoring your every move, with your body given up to non-consensual mind-altering drugs, not being able to set foot on the grass or go to the pub for a pint, or even walk to the local shop, I felt that the monitoring of me could not possibly extend any further. Why does psychiatry have to be so intrusive? Do they really need to know every last detail of a patient? If they ever did anything useful with the information then I might be able to understand the medical necessity of information-gathering. However, the information is always misused and leads ultimately to further oppression.

Eventually, the whole charade cracked. While the nurses were running around lighting cigarettes, hunting down mobile phone chargers and peering over my shoulder at my Facebook messages, they obviously neglected their key role and jobs – that of nursing. An unmonitored patient slipped away to his room and hung himself with his dressing gown belt. Priorities should be given to prevent suicides and it is a nurse’s role to stop this happening. Suicides are sad affairs for all witnesses. I’d been close to the dead patient, sorting him out some tobacco and keeping his spirits high as he came to terms with his own incarceration yet he had gone ahead and done what he intended. All I did during my ten minutes of mobile phone usage that day, was to post an RIP message on my Facebook to my personal friends. It asks you how you feel on Facebook when you post a status. I was feeling sad about the suicide and posted so. Whenever somebody dies who I know, I tend to do a simple RIP message on Facebook. In the modern world of social media, many do this and I believe it is a key way of us dealing with grief as a society. The nurse who was monitoring me freaked out, tried seizing my phone and although I did post my status, I was reported to senior staff and my phone was permanently confiscated. Senior management were called to endorse this ultimate ban and despite my protests, Nursing manager Perry Attwell confirmed that my social media usage was not to be tolerated and the phone would remain in the possession of the Trust.

I do not know where monitoring and surveillance in society will ultimately lead but remember that the insides of mental hospitals where there is a captive population are very often where the most disturbing ideas in society are first trialled. Oppression begins in mental hospitals and they serve as a mirror to the realities and horrors of the real world.