Cameron’s alcohol strategy is missing the point – a guest blog from a recovering middle class alcoholic
Applications Are Invited For The Position of Associate Editor, Journal Of Psychiatric And Mental Health Nursing
We are seeking applications for the position of Associate Editor within one of the leading international
psychiatric and mental health nursing journals.
The Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing is an international, peer-reviewed publication
providing a forum for the publication of original contributions that lead to the advancement of psychiatric
and mental health nursing practice. It publishes papers which reflect developments in knowledge,
attitudes and skills, and integration of these into practice. Detailed information about the journal can be
found at www.wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/jpm.
The successful candidate for the position of Associate Editor will be recognized internationally for his
or her academic and research achievements and will have an impressive track record of publications
and presentations at conferences. The ideal candidate will possess the following skills and knowledge:
Sound scientific judgment
Broad knowledge of psychiatric and mental health nursing on an international level
Awareness of trends and standards within knowledge dissemination
Excellent written and verbal communication
Ability to work to tight deadlines
Previous editorial board and reviewer experience on nursing journals
The main functions within this role are: manuscript handling and quality control, strategic
development, and journal promotion. The post involves working closely with the Publisher and the
Applicants should note that this position requires a weekly commitment of time, with additional time for
meetings. The Associate Editor can be based in any international location. The successful candidate will
start work on the journal in January 2013, and appointment will be for a three year term. There is an
honorarium available for this position.
Applications should include a curriculum vitae, a short assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of
the Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, and an accompanying letter outlining the skills
you will bring to this position.
A description of the role is available on request. Please send your application, in confidence, to:
Rosie Ledger, Wiley-Blackwell, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK.
Email to email@example.com
Applications to arrive no later than 30 November 2012
Eliminating Female Genital Mutilation at home and abroad
It has been known for some time that Female Genital Mutilation ( FGM ) has been practiced in over two dozen countries with over 100 million living victims, mainly in Africa and the Middle – East but there is now plenty of evidence to suggest that immigration has spread the abuse to European countries including the UK where it is, of course, illegal.
Defenders of the practice insist that FGM is steeped in cultural and religious tradition in those countries where it is prevalent and is no different from male circumcision. Removal of female external genitalia is historically designed to reduce a woman’s libido and promote fidelity in marriage. Opponents point to the risks to health and the oppression of women’s rights.
It is estimated that some 2,000 British girls undergo FGM each year and London’s Metropolitan Police now have a dedicated FGM unit dealing with the practice. However, although it has been illegal since 1985, there has not been a single prosecution.
It seems that here in the UK, the emphasis is more on prevention than detection with significant educational efforts aimed at vulnerable girls and their parents. The same emphasis is now evident in overseas countries where children’s charities like Plan International are ramming home the message about the physical and longer term mental health risks.
Plan has adopted a 3 step process which appears to already be succeeding in countries like Mali, Kenya and Pakistan:
- The first step is that local health professionals educate communities about the obvious dangers to health as the result of infection and haemorrhaging etc.
- Secondly, a local champion against FGM is selected and developed so that each community remains on message when the Plan representative is not around. It is also vital that community leaders, teachers and law enforcement agencies provide their support.
- Finally, it is important to work with parents’ groups and children’s groups to raise awareness of what to do and who to go to if any child is threatened with FGM.
This three-pronged approach, adopted community by community, has resulted in whole areas being declared female genital mutilation free. Mali, where more than two-thirds of girls were previously subject to FGM, has made particularly strong strides just working from one village to the next.
Plan would like to see these methods adopted amongst those immigrant communities in the UK where some 24,000 girls are estimated to remain at risk.
I am delighted to welcome Jean Davison to my blog today. I have been
following Jean’s blog for some time, but only recently got round to reading her memoir: The Dark Threads. At the age of 18, Jean, like many intelligent teenagers, was confused about religion and other issues. Feeling the need to discuss these with someone who would listen and offer guidance, she went to see a psychiatrist. The result was five years in the mental health system, including two stays as an in-patient in an antiquated institution. This was the 1960s and ’70s.
I must admit that when I started reading Jean’s memoir, I thought it wouldn’t add anything to what I’d learnt by reading Jean’s blog. But I was wrong. It’s the detail that brings her story to life. The short, unmeaningful conversations that provided no basis to her being diagnosed with schizophrenia. The interaction with…
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‘Our Encounters with Madness‘
Authors: (eds) Alec Grant, Fran Biley and Hannah Walker
Publisher: PCCS Books, Ross-On-Wye
A common problem encountered by my mental health nursing students is their fear that they do not know enough about mental health and illness. This is exemplified by their expression of frustration with some of the key nursing textbooks – they often perceive that they don’t tell them enough about mental illness. To remedy this, they turn to the likes of the DSM and the ICD 10. They want to know what mental illness looks like. They want to know how to diagnose mental illness. They want to know what medication treats what group of symptoms. This fear is compounded when they encounter medics and some medically minded RMN‘s in clinical practice – they feel like they lack ‘the [medical] basics’. But there is a vast difference between knowing what mental illness is, and knowledge about mental health and illness. Knowing requires little more than a thorough reading and memorising of the aforementioned diagnostic guides. Knowledge is far trickier. Indeed, knowledge is perhaps only available through listening to – and more importantly, hearing – people and their experiences, their own narratives or life stories, their distress, their fears, hopes, aspirations, desires. ‘Knowing’ enables the formulation of such rich material into diagnosis, treatment or recovery plans, risk assessments – an undoubtedly important part of nursing practice. I would argue that it is a combination of knowing and knowledge that creates good, empathic, critical and thoughtful nurses.
This book contains a wealth of personal narratives, from a variety of perspectives, that can help create ‘knowledge’ in both student nurses and qualified practitioners. As one of the authors writes in the introduction, textbooks “are written on behalf of ‘mental ill-health sufferers’ by either specialists in psychiatric medicine or in various forms of psychotherapeutic modality” – yet these “fail to get over what it really means, or feels like to have or to care for someone with mental health problems, or suffer in response to abuse, in the context of a life. Formal accounts deal with human distress by proxy, and then to have a narrow focus on ‘illness’ or ‘disorders’ – labels often rejected by those in receipt of them”. Grant continues, “such ‘expert’ accounts often lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy: individuals who are onlyconceptualized, described and experienced by their readers in a one dimensional way – as just their illness, or just their disorder – are often treated as if that’s all they are, all of the time” (p. 3). This book provides practitioners, students, carers and – perhaps most importantly – people who experience mental health issues themselves with a multidimensional, emotional and emotive, and above all hope inspiring anthology of experiences. In this respect alone, it is a vital read.
Sections on the experience of receiving diagnoses and on the vivid, hugely personal experience of mental health issues are set alongside people’s varying encounters with the mental health system itself, and the staff who support it. Both positive experiences of staff and services are recorded alongside those that highlight the (sometimes vast) disjuncture that still exists between individual expectation, service ideology and the lived reality of individual’s journeys through the system. There are also a number of narratives exploring the experience of being a carer and on abuse and survival.
This is a phenomenal book that should be listed as ‘essential reading’ for students and professionals alike. Collections of individual narratives such as these are few and far between, and each story in here deserves to be told and heard, like all individuals’ testimonies and narratives. The ‘knowledge’ contained within these pages should be accorded the same status as the ‘knowing’ attainable through textbooks and other theoretical materials. Who knows the experience of mental health better than those who experience issues or fluctuations with their own, after all.
Charley Baker, Lecturer in Mental Health,
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Physiotherapy,
This review was published in the Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
India Knight so wrong to say ‘no stigma to depression’ and ‘everybody gets depressed’ – Time to Change
If you ask me what has been the most terrifying experience in my life so far I’ll say without hesitation, suffering an acute psychotic episode in my thirties.
This didn’t just happen. I’d grown up in a dysfunctional family, experienced depression in my teens following the death of my grandmother, gone on to marry an abusive man and experienced rape and domestic violence. When I found the courage to walk away I only took 4 weeks off work. I cried for most of that time and then returned to work and tried to carry on as normal. Bottling up my feelings did not help and my anxiety levels rocketed and some time later on a week’s leave, I found myself in a state of terror, alone in my house I felt on edge. I ate very little. I hardly slept.. I stayed dressed as I was so full of energy. My terror increased as I started to experience visual and auditory hallucinations. My imagination was in overdrive. I opened the back door to be physically knocked back by a rushing crimson and gold tornado hurtling towards me, such was the power of my mind. I saw all kinds of sinister meanings in the newspaper headlines and thought the editorial was about me. I imagined there was a nuclear war going on around me. I thought the house would explode the next time I opened the front door.
I hallucinated about a Fabergé egg fashioned in gold and filigree and black and one point this opened into two halves and I had the feeling I was at the mid point in something. During this hallucination I was on the phone and I suddenly started to sing Don’t Cry For Me Argentina while pivoting from foot to foot. I was on a high; the energy rush was amazing yet the extreme terror I experienced was suffocating. Some of the hallucinations were in brilliant colour and music played all over my body. Red and green waves of colour shimmered all around the room . I had regressed to a child like state. Yet I would lapse into fluent French or German. I thought the chimney was on fire and rang the fire brigade who came to check it and said it was fine. A friend phoned me, realised how ill I was and phoned a family member who came to see me and stayed overnight with me. The next morning my GP came to see me.
I was admitted to the psychiatric hospital later that day. For the first eleven days I refused all food and drink as I believed myself to be dead or in metamorphosis. My life was thought to be in danger and I was sectioned. The psychiatrist told my family he was saving my life rather than my sanity. Ironically I did start to eat and drink voluntarily almost immediately after I was sectioned. I was still catatonic and mute. My eyes were dead and there was no light in them.
Flames and fires featured a lot in my hallucinations . The energy rush of the psychosis was quite incredible, almost orgasmic, but in a sinister sort of way. Some of the imagery will stay in my mind forever –distorted bodies trapped in a huge net at the bottom of the sea, the collapse of an oil rig, of Siamese twins and severed limbs. I saw brightly coloured pictures and songs played n my mind particularly those by Marvin Gaye . I’d visualise extravagant Busby Berkeley musicals and sometimes the chattering of nonsense words in my mind became exhausting.
I was given a cocktail of anti psychotic and anti depressant medication which made me very sleepy
Every day in the psychiatric unit felt like a lifetime. It is hard to express exactly what it feels like to experience an acute psychotic episode. The underlying feeling is of sheer terror . I felt under constant threat and as though death was imminent at all times and at the end of a sequence of hallucinations, I always felt relieved that I was alive, if not alive and well
I had to stay in hospital for six long months and had six treatments of electro convulsive therapy (ECT) Of course at the time I was sectioned so had no say in this and it was afterwards I discovered that there is brain damage in every case.
My story has a happy ending. I did recover and have been largely free of medication for 12 years. Sadly I did develop cataracts as a result of taking Chlorpromazine, Amitryptyline and other medications (this was confirmed by the ophthalmologist who diagnosed my lens opacity)
I decided to write about my experience of psychosis in my memoir Don’t Mind Me which was published in 2008. I went back to the roots of my illness – my dysfunctional childhood and traumas in adulthood and revelations about my childhood have caused more than one member of my family to shun me, saying I have lied. I have told the truth. In any case I wrote the book to help others as well as myself and to inform mental health professionals and others wanting to gain an insight into mental illness and in particular psychosis. By speaking out I hope to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and to raise awareness of the devastating side effects of psychiatric medication.