Blogs shared in bulletins On (not) being believed - Louisa Harvey remembers harrowing moments of mental distress and suicadality. Possibly triggering for some readers, this is a very beautifully written blog. Perceiving a will for change - From a series of life events including the discovery of the 'Only Us' campaign, Nicky Hayward learned that, 'paradoxically, our weakness can be our greatest strength, and that together we are stronger' Peer modelling as a tool for disabled people - 'Peer modelling' comes out of creating environments that are conducive to people taking self-initiative and supporting each other Equality and diversity - What about Human Rights? - Sarah Jay, equality, diversity and human rights lead in Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV) Reflections of a good - best interest - decision - Ged Carney is a Recovery Practitioner at Autism Initiatives. Ged shares his personal reflections on supporting people with mental capacity issues Using Human rights in mental capacity advocacy - Myan Warrell is a Multi Specialist Advocate at N-Compass Do patients who hear voices have the right to refuse medicine? - Shirley S Wang on the international movement that raises fundamental questions about what it means to be mentally ill Why professionals must admit to the dangers of psychiatric drugs - Marion Brown describes the long-term suffering caused by prescribed psychiatric medication, the action that she and others are trying to take – and how therapists can help Drop the language of disorder - Peter Kinderman's reaction to the DSM-V Art is telling the truth unapologetically "The Wound is the Place Where the Light Enters You" ~ Nicky Hayward explores 'Crazywisdom' 17 steps for recognising warning signs of suicide - you never know when your help might be needed says Anna Borges Poor working conditions affect mental health workers state of mind - Many are not earning enough to live and face a range of employment relations problems, writes Elizabeth Cotton 'Pychiatry interrogated', a book review - Dr Phil Hickey, who regularly blogs on an alternative perspective on psychiatry's so-called mental disorders, shares his thoughts on the book edited by Bonnie Burstow I wish I had been told this - Julian Wood shares his experience of using spiritual practices and insights Pushed to the brink - how DWP benefit assessment practices contribute to the deterioration of claimants’ mental health, causing an increase in suicidal feelings Are the mental health crisis teams in crisis? Joy Hibbins runs the Suicide Crisis Centre, which was set to support people who do not access other services or have disengaged from them. Lately, huge numbers of people who would normally contact the mental health crisis teams have been contacting Joy's organisation instead. Because the crisis teams take too long to get back to people - if at all Dublin based doctor Ivor Brown says the drugs don't work. He would never prescribe antidepressants to anyone Psychologist Jay Watts says society's focus must shift towards valuing survivor experience Managed care models are hurting the UK’s mental health system - The cultural paradigm lying behind the UK’s mental health system is rooted in neoliberal political and economic theory. This blogger's argument is that it is essential that this model is countered and mediated by a wider, more inclusive socially oriented group-relational understanding of how we live and interact together Drug companies don t sell drugs, they sell lies about drugs says Dr Gotzsche who just published a paper about the topic Whatever happened to the new relationship with people and communities? - There is much to welcome in the reboot of the Five Year Forward View. National Voices’ previous advice has been: this is a good if imperfect plan, stick with it...But something is missing Towards an alternative and holistic framework for wellbeing and mental health - Anand Pattni, Survivor Researcher NSUN member Anne shares what she calls her 'crazy cartoons' in a regularly updated online blog Negative emotions are key to wellbeing - This blog is a few years old but the point is makes remains worthy of interest I had my 21st birthday in a psychiatric hospital - Terry Conway remembers a life changing experience I will not “recover” until the world recovers - a blogger rages against recovery Social care is in cataclysmic crisis - Now we must find a solution says Peter Beresford The expert strikes back - Stephanie de la Haye explains why she is resigning from CQC's expert by experience programme Work won't set us free - blogger Jonathan Hume believes that 'the claim that work improves health is a lie' What’s Wrong With You? Nothing. What Has Happened to You? Something - Michael Cornwall thinks that 'It’s a tragic shame that emotional suffering has been categorized and treated by the medical profession just like it is a physical injury or physical disease' A fierce intellect and a pioneer activist - A compasionate activist, author, artist and comrade, Robert Dellar (1964 - 2016) touched the lives of many, writes Ruth Hunt The politics of suicide - Ian Mash and Anne Cooke are concerned to see suicidality interpreted by the government as being solely 'a mental health problem' and not a reaction to life traumatic events. This blog was written because suicide prevention was prominent in the Prime Minister's mental health speech on 9 January How local councillors could cure the doctor-induced epidemic of mental sickness - NSUN member John Kapp proposes a way to roll out mindfulness approaches instead of medication based treatments The BMA comes out on psychoactive drugs - a blog by NSUN member Daryl Brown, whose site, Sterilizing the Mentally Ill, is growing into a campaign. You can view the site here The gap between theory and practice in mental health treatment - Duncan Purslow Any notions that power shifted massively to patients in 2016 are a fantasy worthy of a snow globe, take it personally from me - from Simon Denegri 30 December The importance of language in preventing the neutralisation of innovative ideas - this blog explores ways in which a vast majority of people contribute, without always realising it, to the propagation of the medical model...and how being more aware of our vocabulary could help society on the way to adopting alternative approaches. This is the second part of NSUN member and blogger Gary Sidley's 'struggle for mental health reform'. The first part is also online, on Gary's site 'Tales from the Madhouse' A mental health survivor's journey - From social isolation and hardship leading to Rampton Hospital, Paul turns his life around and becomes an active peer supporter passionate about sharing knowledge and experience in mental health. My response to a defender of psychiatry - Philip Hickey, PhD, reacts to a blog by Jessica Gold, MD, a psychiatry resident at Stanford University; the post is titled Inpatient Psychiatry: Not all Needles, Drugs And Locks The Work, Health and Disability Green Paper: Magical thinking or evidence-based policy? Blogger Jenny Morris attempts to expose the fallacious unilinear causal relationship that is being claimed between health and work and which also attempts to deconstruct exactly what the DWP is proposing Against the '1 in 4' statistic - a blogger says why she rejects the now familiar statement My Baby Psychosis and Me...and its Mind Media Award Going against the tide - Nicky Hayward reviews 'a disorder for everyone' an event which took place on 15 October 2016 What happened to you? - Dr Sarah Carr writes on trauma informed approaches to mental health care Are we allowed to be human? A psychologist reflects on the possibility for professionals with their own experience of mental distress to 'make their voices heard in calling for this to become a general part of mental health service culture' Austerity and Psychocompulsion: Talk at Mental Health and Welfare Reform Conference Liverpool 5 November 2016 'I did nothing to warrant this behaviour': a British woman resident in Australia speaks up about restraint and enduring years of abuse Me and mental health - the first installment of this anonymous column on cityblog 'Thank you Ken Loach' - a review of I Daniel Blake Mental Health Day at the Barber Institue - an account from Duncan Purslow BBC Black mental health documentary fails to name racism - Raza Griffiths and several Kindred Minds members reacted to the BBC documentary 'Being Black going Crazy'. The BBC responded. both complaint and response are included Benefits as a Human Right - John Martin writes on Human Rights and the DWP Reclaiming challenging and reviving survivor research - Emma Perry writes on the role of the Survivor Research Network, 'how the network can reach out to survivor researchers across the country who might be working in isolation and how to think about capacity building in order for survivor researchers to develop skills and continue to generate experiential research knowledge' Please don't call us difficult to engage - Joy Hibbins, founder and director of Suicide Crisis, reminds all that 'We cannot simply label people as “difficult to engage” and somehow categorise it as the problem of the patient. We have a huge responsibility when providing services and part of that is to ensure that we do all that we can to help a person to survive' Co-production: Whiteness, Mental health and Diagnosis - Molly Carroll reflects on her experience of the Advanced Studies Seminar with The Collaborating Centre for Values-based practice in Health and Social Care, St Catherine's College Oxford. Simple guide to how to be a good psychotic - Independent activist group Recovery In the Bin (RITB) share advice on how to avoid a diagnosis A message to men who experience eating disorders - Nick Watts takes the occasion of Mental Health Day to speak to his peers on the website 'men get eating disorders too' Relationship is everything - A punter's review - Nicky Hayward attended the ISPSUK CONFERENCE (7- 8th September 2016) 'I felt someone finally cared who I was beyond the diagnosis' - Nicky Hayward reflects on an arresting talk at ISPSUK CONFERENCE Two experts by experience reflect on their role as Community Navigators - Jackie Hardy and Anjie Chhapia have been involved in a project aiming at reducing loneliness Dad your cruel criticisms still haunt me - a woman writes an open letter to her father The dehumanisation of work and its impact on workers mental health - This is the first in a series of articles entitled Surviving Work in the UK, produced by Surviving Work in partnership with LSE Business Review and LSE British Politics and Policy. Unkindest cuts: reflections on destruction and resilience in LGBTQ community-based mental health support - By Stephanie Taylor-King (National Survivor User Network), Sarah Carr (Middlesex University, London) and Taz Edwards-White (Metro Centre, London) Restraint must be an absolute last resort - NSUN member Suzie Billingham calls for a culture change within mental health services. In other words: a review of searching for a rose garden - by Nicky Hayward is a straight-talking conversational-style writer, mental health commentator, blogger and activist. They call this 'help' - Otto Douglas is a university graduate whose psychiatric incarceration opened his eyes to a previously unknown world — a world in which human rights abuses are openly perpetrated against others as a matter of course. Having come to realize what a threat coercive psychiatry poses to ordinary citizens around the globe, Otto is now passionately devoted to the cause of securing and protecting the fundamental human rights and freedoms we are all entitled to. Hearing voices, living fully - Claire Bien, M.Ed., is a writer and grant writer at The Connection. She is also a voice hearer and formed the Hearing Voices Network support group at Yale-New Haven Psychiatric Hospital. Her memoir, Hearing Voices, Living Fully: Living with the Voices in my Head, was published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers in 2016. Mystery Shopper on Section 2 of Mental Health Act - PatientfromHell shares her experience of a recent stay on a mental healthward. The aim of PatientFromHell’s blog is to provide an insight into her difficulties which will hopefully enable staff working within the NHS and other organisations to understand more about Autism and Mental Health and to share her experiences with those facing similar challenges. You can read more of PatientFromhell's blogs here. The relevance of wellbeing to future research - By Duncan Purslow, SRN member and a former service user with Birmingham mental health services Why anti authoritarians are diagnosed as mentally ill - Bruce Levine finds hat ' most psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals are not only extraordinarily compliant with authorities but also unaware of the magnitude of their obedience. ' - shared by Mad in America in 2012. The government wants you to think you're mentally ill. You're not - Brendan O'Neill, editor of Spiked, reflects on the nature of the interest which those he calls 'officialdom' appear to have in our mental health. 52 small steps to happiness - Vittoria De Meo is a Motivational Speaker (Engage*Empower*Inspire), an Advisor to West London Mental Health Commissioning Board and a member of our leadership group Mad Alliance (where 'mad' is a tongue-in-cheek acronym for 'making a difference'). Recently, she attended a presentation by an author who just published a book on happiness. Vittoria shares her enthusiasm about the writer and the book. Doctor induced addictions - Bob Johnson went to listen to anti psychiatry activist and journalist Robert Whitaker, who was invited by the Chy Sawel organisation to make a presentation. The speech covered a recent history of doctor induced addictions. Bob Johnson shares his notes. Peer Supported Open dialogue and West Midlands Listening Event: a comparative review - Emma Perry attended the Peer Supported Open Dialogue Conference as well as a listening event in the West Midlands. Both occasions provoked reflections on whether things are shifting (or not) in the mental health world. Stephen Fry loses respect of mental health survivors due to insensitive comments - Stephanie Taylor King wonders how the man who used to be perceived as one standing up to the establishment, and, more importantly, be a respected voice in the mental health survivor movement, could have come up with such inacceptable comments concerning those who live with the memories of childhood abuse. Open letter to Stephen Fry - Dolly Sen. Dolly Sen is a writer, director, artist, filmmaker, poet, performer, playwright, mental health consultant, music-maker and public speaker. She has 8 published books since 2002; has taken on performance roles at The Young Vic, the Royal Festival Hall, and around Europe; undertaken a poetry tour; won a poetry award from Poet Laureate Andrew Motion; directed two plays and several TV films; and performed spoken word at City Hall and Oxford University. Do we as people who use services now have a voice? - Anne Beales. A major figure in the mental health survivor movement, Anne was Director of Service User Involvement at Together for mentaql Wellbeing for 10 years before retiring in March 2016. Workfare coercion in the UK: an assault on persons with disabilities and their human rights - Anne Laure Donskoy - "I am a survivor researcher and consultant living in Bristol. This is my submission to Tina Minkowitz' campaign for the absolute prohibition of forced treatment. I took a different slant, that of the use of psychiatry on claimants in the UK. I am not an expert but I felt that a lot of what has been said has been lacking in making the link with international human rights standards. So at least that's a first attempt." 'Baby, me, drugs and ECT' - Nicky Hayward. 'Having been referred to a local Mother and Baby Unit after I nearly lost my own baby eighteen years ago, and having also helped support immediate family members experiencing psychosis, I had some understanding of the predicament of the two women who were the subjects of My Baby, Psychosis and Me (part of the BBC's recent In The Mind season).' 'It's a Taskforce report, after all' - Alisdair Cameron, NSUN Trustee, Launchpad Team Leader and major contributor in the emerging Newcastle mental health collective, has written a witty and insightful blog on the recent mental health taskforce report we were contacted online by Gary, who writes about struggling with addictions: 'after around 3 years of social marijuana and alcohol use and abuse, I suffered from severe psychotic mental illness: very oppressive depression, extreme paranoia about my condition, very poor sleeping, fake enthusiasm, self isolation, hopelessness, attempted suicide etc, which continued for around 7½ year'. You can read Gary's story and view the website he's launched here The not so secret life of the manic depressive - ten years on...and how it might have been - Nicky Hayward reviews Stephen Fry's 2016 BBC One programme Staff understanding of recovery-orientated mental health practice: A critical note of caution? - 'In the UK, mental health services are increasingly becoming focussed on the promotion of ‘recovery’...however the concept of 'recovery' is complex and not easily defined' says Andrew Shepherd on a blog posted at the Mental Elf ‘I’d Rather Die Than Go Back to Hospital’: Why We Need a Non-medical Crisis House in Every Town - by Anne Cooke, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and regular contibutor to 'Mad In America'. This blog focuses on Drayton Park women’s crisis house in North London, which offers an alternative to hospital admission. LGBT mental health - collection of articles to mark LGBT History Month 2016 The definition of parity of esteem needs to be expanded says Paul Wilson 4PI: A Framework for Involvement - by Alison Faulkner: Alison is a researcher and consultant in mental health working from lived experience of mental distress. She has worked with NSUN on a consultancy basis for some years now, latterly on the 4PI standards. She also writes a column in the magazine Mental Health Today. “She’s looking for she’s mummy…” - by Nicky Hayward: Nicky is a straight-talking, conversational style writer, relatively new on the scene of ‘lived experience’ writing and commentary. Coming from a family destroyed by mental illness she eventually discovered, through all she'd survived and copious reading, that she isn’t alone in having reservations about the ‘mental health care’ system. "I had Postpartum Psychosis - I'm a great Mum!" - by Andrea: 'In the midst of dealing with the shock of being struck by a devastating illness out of the blue, recovering from childbirth, learning how to be a mum for the first time & fighting day to day for my recovery, I had yet another fierce obstacle to overcome…stigma'. "Sprits in the furniture and home made Christmas tree" - Nicky Hayward returns with this blog on the festive season and how unspoken tension can be part of family gatherings. 'Understanding Bipolar Disorder' - a review - Nicky Hayward offers an insider's perspective on this report by the British Psychological Society. The x-men (and women) theory of 'mental illness' - Paul Wilson wonders whether "the ‘mentally ill’ are a new and improved species evolving from within an old and failing one – Homo Empathicus?" It's not all about the money! - a joint effort between two authors, Nicky Hayward and Dr Stephen Weatherhead Some hard truths revealed about the Experts by Experience new contract - our guest blogger prefers to remain anonymous Negotiating today's Welfare system demands superhuman skills - Peter Beresford speaks out about the demoralising complexities of the UK welfare system. Peter is is professor of citizen participation at the University of Essex and emeritus professor of social policy at Brunel University. He is chair of Shaping Our Lives, the national disabled people's and service users' organisation and network.