Far be it from me –

From The Independent Tuesday May 14 2013 – We need to change the way we talk about schizophrenia If we only ever talk about schizophrenia in the context of a violent murder, is it any surprise that the public think people with mental illness are dangerous?

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/we-need-to-change-the-way-we-talk-about-schizophrenia-8616022.html

 

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The Surviving Spirit Newsletter – May 2013

 
 
      Healing the Heart Through the Creative Arts, Education & Advocacy 
 
           Hope, Healing & Help for Trauma, Abuse & Mental Health
 
Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.  – Kahlil Gibran
 
The Surviving Spirit Newsletter May 2013
 
“Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.” Brian Tracy
 
Hi Folks,
 
Aahh…gratitude, and how to cultivate that when down and out from life’s troubles and our respective challenges with trauma, abuse and mental health. I know for myself it has helped me immensely when taking the time to acknowledge the good in my life despite whatever horrors, hurts and losses I have known – it is not an easy task for me at times. But the payoff is huge.
 
I always take time to reflect upon the good friends in my life who have stood by me no matter what…even when my post traumatic stress and depression issues were ravaging my mind, body and spirit – they didn’t waver in their support and I will never forget that and I am so grateful for their love and friendship. I think of all the wonderful people I have met since my ‘breakdown/breakthrough” back in 1993. So many of us have been hurt by life, but we found a common bond from our healing journey and shared experiences and now we have friendship that grew out of sorrow and suffering – not bad, so that too I am grateful for.
 
I am grateful to all of you in your advocacy endeavors and helping of others who struggle and who allow this newsletter to be sent to you…and thankful for the sharing that you do with it – Thank You!
 
So perhaps take a moment to think of what you are grateful for in your life….and let us be thankful for the wonderful shared resources in this newsletter.
 
I recognize that there are a lot of resources to look at and don’t expect anyone to be able to get to all of them – but in the age of “Tweeting”, instantmessaging and texting, etc…it is still nice to be able to take some time to read about others who are helping to make the world a better place. 
 
Speaking of resources, please do send them to us to share in future newsletters and from our website – and if I have forgotten to share your info, please ‘gently’ remind me…..
 
 
I was a guest on this show last night and we covered a lot of ground; music, creativity, martial arts, peer support – good and bad, trauma, abuse, mental health, meds, loss of children/alienation, hope, healing, and help and so much more – please check it out when you can. Here’s one response of many I received –
 
“Great job!!! I wish they would make all psychiatrists and treatment providers listen to the show”
 
Survivors World – Butterfly Dreams Talk Radio w/ Trish McKnight
 
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and Michael Skinner devotes his speaking and his work to bring attention to that very cause. Helping to see past the diagnosis and medications to what lies underneath that might have caused the traumatic events which haunt us with PTSD, Depression, Anxiety, and for some Dissociation and various types of Personality Disorders.
 
“We rely upon the poets, the philosophers, and the playwrights to articulate what most of us can only feel, in joy or sorrow. They illuminate the thoughts for which we only grope; they give us the strength and balm we cannot find in ourselves. Whenever I feel my courage wavering, I rush to them. They give me the wisdom of acceptance, the will and resilience to push on.” Helen Hayes
 
1] Wellness Works Initiative – Art, Poetry, Song & Video 
 
What is the Wellness Works Initiative? Peerlink, the National Empowerment Center, and the other Consumer and Consumer Supporter Technical Assistance Centers—the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse, NAMI Star Center, and the Family Cafe TA Center – are showcasing original creative work expressing what wellness means in our lives and for our communities.
 
We hope the Wellness Works Initiative will help raise public awareness about the importance of embracing a wellness-based perspective, in mental health services as well as our communities at large. We embrace a holistic approach and endorse the eight dimensions of wellness – Emotional, Financial, Social, Spiritual, Occupational, Physical, Intellectual, and Environmental – as proposed by Peggy Swarbrick and supported by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
 
I’m honored to be a part [“Walk With Me – music & lyrics and “Brush Away Your Tears”- live video performance] of the many creative artists, musicians and poets featured at this website – please do visit and be inspired
 
I’M NOT IMPRESSED WITH YOUR TITLE AND DEGREES
COMPASSION AND UNDERSTANDING DO MORE FOR ME
CAN YOU SHOW ME, SHOW ME YOUR HUMANITY
INSTEAD OF TALKING, TALKING DOWN TO ME
CAN YOU SIT WITH ME, CAN WE TALK A WHILE
AND THEN I KNOW YOU WOULD SEE ME SMILE
OH I KNOW, YOU WOULD SEE ME SMILE         Walk With Me © Michael Skinner Music
 
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”  Melody Beattie
 
2] Sound Therapy Radio “Be Kind to the Mind”
 
Sound Therapy delves into the intricate world of the creative mind, interweaving great music, lively guest interviews and insightful discussion.
 
Join host J Peachy, Lauren, June and Megan and guests as they share fresh, inspiring perspectives on creative expression, issues of mental wellness, health & disability, and offer alternatives in self-care and personal well being.
 
Join us every Tuesday at 7pm on CJSF 90.1 FM, and online at cjsf.ca. In addition, all episodes are archived. In addition, we broadcast video portions of our radio content on local community television, contact us if you want our program in your region.
 
“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” Marcel Proust
 
3] Where is the Self in Treatment of Mental Disorders? By John M. Grohol, Psy.D.
 
The focus for most treatment professionals is on a patient’s symptoms and the alleviation of symptoms. Few professionals delve into how a disorder — likebipolar disorder or clinical depression — changes our identity. Everything we know about ourselves.  Everything we thought we knew about ourselves.
 
That’s why this recent piece in the NYT Magazine by Linda Logan exploring this issue is so interesting and timely. [Link posted below]
 
Our identities as unique individuals with well-worn and familiar roles in life – mother, confidante, partner, employee – are quickly stripped away when a new label takes over: patient. Inpatient. Psychiatric inpatient. In all of society, there is almost no worse label that could be applied.
Mental health professionals across all professions – psychiatry, psychology, social work, etc. – should be more aware that this loss of self identity is a very real component of some people’s mental illness and subsequent treatment. It should be addressed as a regular component of mental health treatment, especially when the loss is acutely felt.
 
“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” Albert Schweitzer
 
4] Linda Logan , New York Times article – The Problem With How We Treat Bipolar Disorder [Long read, but well worth it folks]
 
How much insult to the self is done by the symptoms of the disorder and how much by the drugs used to treat it? Paradoxically, psychotropic drugs can induce anxiety, nervousness, impaired judgment, mania, hypomania, hallucinations, feelings of depersonalization, psychosis and suicidal thoughts, while being used to treat the same symptoms. Before getting to the hospital, my daily moods ranged from bad to worse, each state accompanied by a profound depth of feeling. The first drug I was given was amitriptyline (Elavil), which, in the process of reducing my despair, blunted all my other emotions. I no longer felt anything. It was like going from satellite TV to one lousy channel.
 
Over the years, I’ve talked to clinicians about why the self is rarely mentioned in treating patients who suffer from mental illnesses that damage their sense of who they are. If anything, it seems that psychiatry is moving away from a model in which the self could be discussed. For many psychiatrists, mental disorders are medical problems to be treated with medications, and a patient’s crisis of self is not very likely to come up in a 15-minute session with a psycho-pharmacologist.
 
5] Suicide Survivors Volunteer To Lead Prevention Effort Through Multimedia Public Forum Project – Aims To End Stigma, Shame, Anonymity
By David Crary, AP National Writer
 
Suicide survivors are leading a nationwide effort to prevent suicide through conversation and an end to anonymity.
They look intently at the camera, some impassively, some with smiles, all of them aware that they’ve just shared with an online audience a most personal story:Why they tried to kill themselves.
 
By the dozens, survivors of attempted suicide across the United States are volunteering to be part of a project by a Brooklyn-based photographer, Dese’Rae L. Stage, called “Live Through This” – a collection of photographic portraits and personal accounts.
 
6] Live Through This:Life on the Other Side of a Suicide Attempt   I am still seeking attempt survivors to share their stories for Live Through This.
 
“PEACE:  It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work.  It means to be in the midst of these things and still be calm in your heart.” Author unknown
 
7] American Association of Suicidology’s “What Happens Now?” blog: http://attemptsurvivors.com/
 
What happens now? | Exploring life after a suicide attempt or suicidal thinking by Craig A. Miller
 
This week’s post is by Craig A. Miller, who contributed a strong post earlier about the difference between not wanting to die and wanting to live. Here, he talks about moving forward. Visit Craig’s website at Thisishowitfeels.com.
 
“Why?” As a suicide attempt survivor I can’t tell you how many times I have sat with people and tried to give them an answer to that question. When doctors would ask I would become frustrated, because they should be the ones with the answers. When family would ask I would feel guilty, because anything I said was misinterpreted as blame. And when friends would ask I would just become quiet, because no one could ever really understand what I was going through. For all the years I struggled with suicide and all the times I sat with family, friends, and doctors trying to understand why, I was never really able to come up with anything that truly explained it. It wasn’t until I sat alone and tried to find the answer for myself that I was finally able to do so.
 
“One person can make a difference and every person should try.” John F. Kennedy
 
8] Bristlecone Project  David Lisak, Phd Speaker/Trainer/Consultant
 
We will send a messageWe were wounded. Now we thrive. We are your neighbors, your fathers, and your sons.
 
The Vision:  A mosaic of photographs and words that portray the reality of men who were sexually abused as children…
 
The Focus:  The present, not the past.  Who each man is. What defines him. What is the focus of his life. Each man will be portrayed through a series of photographs, a brief written portrait, and his own voice.
 
The Purpose:  To portray this reality – who we are now, living meaningful and dignified lives – to the many men who feel isolated and stigmatized by what happened to them. And to portray this reality to whole communities through the Bristlecone website and public exhibitions.
 
Participate Each man will be portrayed through a series of photographs, a brief written portrait, and his own voice. If you or someone you know might be interested in participating in this project, or for more information: Write to David Lisak at: david@davidlisak.com
 
bris·tle·cone – A high-altitude pine of western North America that thrives despite high winds, cold temperatures and thin soils. Bristlecones can live thousands of years, and so can be used to correct radiocarbon dating. Also used as a metaphor to describe the unique strength and will of the 1in6 men who were sexually abused in childhood.
 
[David is the real deal; I am honored to know him as a friend and a fellow advocate and proud to be a part [along with my dear partner, Mary] of this healing endeavor to help others.]
 
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
9] Mad in America  Mission Statement – The site is designed to serve as a resource and a community for those interested in rethinking psychiatric care in the United States and abroad. We want to provide readers with news, stories of recovery, access to source documents, and the informed writings of bloggers that will further this enterprise.
 
The bloggers on this site include people with lived experience, peer specialists, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, program managers, social activists, attorneys, and journalists. While their opinions naturally vary, they share a belief that our current system of psychiatric care needs to be vastly improved, and, many would argue, transformed.    http://www.madinamerica.com/writers/#bloggers
 
When “I” is replaced by “WE”, even illness becomes wellness.
 
10] The Key Update is the free monthly e-newsletter of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse  http://www.mhselfhelp.org
 
Here you’ll find the latest information on mental health and consumer/survivor issues. We include updates on important issues, linking you to news sources, funding opportunities and the most recent developments in the consumer/survivor movement. You’ll also find conference announcements and job postings from across the nation.
 
For content, reproduction or publication information, please contact Susan Rogers at 800-553-4539 x3812, 267-507-3812 (direct) or srogers@mhasp.org.
 
“To be ill adjusted to a deranged world is not a breakdown.” Jeanette Winterson
 
11] Words of Wellness
As part of our vision to foster wellness and recovery, the Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey [CSPNJ] Institute for Wellness and Recovery Initiatives offers this newsletter, Words of Wellness. This publication features information and resources to help people to achieve and maintain wellness. You can read related content, or access previous editions on our website, www.welltacc.org.  We are eager to share the information in Words of Wellness, and we’re very happy when you share copies of the newsletter with your friends and colleagues. Feel free to make photocopies. However, we put a lot of effort into this newsletter, and we would like to get credit.
 If you would like to photocopy the newsletter as is, or forward it to interested parties, we welcome that. You might also want to recommend that others subscribe directly or access the newsletter online.
12] Mental Health Humor Newsletter – Chato B. Stewart  http://blogs.psychcentral.com/humor/  
Chato Stewart is a husband, father and mental health advocate. He is an artist and the cartoonist behind the Mental Health Humor cartoons. He creates positive, provoking, and sometimes even funny cartoons! The cartoons are drawn from his personal experience of living with Bipolar Disorder. Mr. Stewart strongly believes that there is power behind humor. His motto is humor gives help, hope and healing. His goal and mission is to tap into humor and use it as a positive tool to cope with the serious and debilitating effects of mental illness.
Chato B. Stewart is a Florida board Certified Recovery Peer Specialist – A (CRPS-A). Chato is also the 1st place winner of the DBSA 2009 Facing Us Video Contest. In his powerful public service announcement, he tells his personal story of living with a mental illness through a montage of his cartoons. Adding to his little list of accomplishments is being part of the 2010 DBSA Stand-Up for Mental Health comedy night and being invited back for the 2011 Conference to be a Stand-Up comic in the show.
May Is Mental Health Awareness Month and we are drawing 31 Heroes and posting them each week.  You will get a few extra emails in May.  Please help us by Tweeting and sharing the heroes with your friend.  www.mentalhealthcartoons.com
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy – the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” Brené Brown
 
13] Your Voice in Sheffield Mental Health – a Magazine and Website for Service Users, Carers and Professionals [ United Kingdom ]http://www.yourvoicesheffield.org/
 
Please do check out this helpful newsletter and their website and our good friend Judith Haire’s article on EMDR –
Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing Therapy. It’s on page 11 via this link – No 67 Spring 2013 http://www.yourvoicesheffield.org/media/YV67final.pdf
14] And please note, we are also honored to share and sell Judith’s powerful book on her healing journey at our website/web store – “Don’t Mind Me” is the story of her dysfunctional childhood and teenage depression, her abusive first marriage and experience of rape and domestic violence, her terrifying descent into psychosis and her recovery.
15] Given it is Mental Health Awareness Month, we would like to share another one of our author’s book –
 
“Institutional Eyes by Denise Ranaghan
 
“Institutional Eyes” is an all-too-real account of a young woman’s struggle with mental illness and addiction. When author Denise Ranaghan was twenty-one and scarred from a lifetime of alcoholism and physical abuse, she fled her dysfunctional family for a hitch in the U.S. Army. Shortly after, she found herself deteriorating and unable to function in an adult world. Why was her sanity in jeopardy? And – WHY WASN’T ANYTHING HELPING?

At first Denise looks for quick and painless solutions; then, in rehab, she courageously begins to work her way through the problems of Borderline Personality Disorder, depression and substance abuse.

 
“One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.”  Friedrich Nietzche
 
16] MS – My Story  A Collection of Inspirational Voices Stories about Living with Multiple Sclerosis Edited by Liz Pearl PK Press 2012
 
“They never give up. They dream big and reach far. They think positively and believe faithfully. They love deeply. They demonstrate courage, determination and gratitude. They smile, laugh and sing. They rejoice and celebrate life. These are the inspirational voices of MS – My Story.”
 
Liz Pearl, M.Ed., is an educator and therapist specializing in psychogeriatrics and the expressive art therapies. She is the co-editor of Mourning Has Broken – A Collection of Creative Writing about Grief and Healing (KOPE Associates, 2004, 2007) and the editor of Brain Attack – The Journey Back – A Unique Collection of Creative Writing about Stroke Recovery (KOPE Associates, 2005), and Living Legacies – A Collection of Writing by Contemporary Canadian Jewish Women Volumes I,  II & III (PK Press, 2008, 2010, 2011).
 
To order a copy  http://at.yorku.ca/pk/ms-order.htm  Follow PK Press on Facebook   www.facebook.com/#!/PKPress
 
Link to PK Press http://at.yorku.ca/pk/ms.htm  Liz Pearl, M.Ed. Therapist /Editor Liz_pearl@sympatico.ca
 
“You can’t patch a wounded soul with a Band-Aid.”
 
17] Dr. Gabor Maté on the Stress-Disease Connection, Addiction and the Destruction of American Childhood – Democracy Now! – A daily independent global news hour with Amy Goodman & Juan González [article/transcript & video]
 
From disease to addiction, parenting to attention deficit disorder, Maté’s work focuses on the centrality of early childhood experiences to the development of the brain, and how those experiences can impact everything from behavioral patterns to physical and mental illness. While the relationship between emotional stress and disease, and mental and physical health more broadly, is often considered controversial within medical orthodoxy, Maté argues too many doctors seem to have forgotten what was once a commonplace assumption, that emotions are deeply implicated in both the development of illness, addictions and disorders, and in their healing.
 
Dr. Maté is the bestselling author of four books: When the Body Says No: Understanding the Stress-Disease Connection; Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do about It; and, with Dr. Gordon Neufeld, Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More than Peers; his latest is called In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction.
 
“I’ve always thought of wholeness and integration as necessary myths. We’re fragmented beings who cement ourselves together, but there are always cracks. Living with the cracks is part of being, well, reasonably healthy” Siri Hustvedt
 
18] Bring Your Life Into Balance: A free self-guided program for becoming a healthier, happier you
 
Stress or mood swings rock everyone’s balance from time to time. However, when too much stress, anxiety, depression, or worry interferes with your health, career or personal relationships, it’s time to make a change. No matter how difficult things seem, by learning how to harness overwhelming stress and manage your emotions, you can become healthier and happier, and have a more positive effect on those around you.
 
Daily life can seem like a never-ending ride, leaving you feeling frustrated, anxious, depressed, and unfulfilled. But it doesn’t have to be this way; you can get off the emotional rollercoaster. You can bring your life into balance by learning more about:
 
  • Stress and how to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
  • Why your emotions matter to you and to others.
  • What you can do to harness the energy of your emotions and make them work for you.
  • How you can become calm, energized, focused and more aware of yourself and others.
 
“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” Albert Schweitzer 
 
19] Dealing with Depression: Self-Help & Coping Tips to Overcome Depression
 
Depression drains your energy, hope, and drive, making it difficult to do what you need to feel better. But while overcoming depression isn’t quick or easy, it’s far from impossible. You can’t beat it through sheer willpower, but you do have some control—even if your depression is severe and stubbornly persistent. The key is to start small and build from there. Feeling better takes time, but you can get there if you make positive choices for yourself each day.
 
Recovering from depression requires action, but taking action when you’re depressed is hard. In fact, just thinking about the things you should do to feel better, like going for a walk or spending time with friends, can be exhausting. It’s the Catch-22 of depression recovery: The things that help the most are the things that are the most difficult to do. There’s a difference, however, between something that’s difficult and something that’s impossible.
 
“If a man comes to the door of poetry untouched by the madness of the Muses, believing that technique alone will make him a good poet, he and his sane compositions never reach perfection, but are utterly eclipsed by the performances of the inspired madman.” Socrates

A ‘gentle’ reminder that the Surviving Spirit is nonprofit 501C3 and your gift of time, talent or treasure is greatly appreciated.
 
Take care, Mike, Mary, Zsuzsi, Rachel, Cynthia Lynn & Mary Ann
 
 
ps. Please share this with your friends & if you have received this in error, please let me know.
 
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King, Jr.
 
                                               A diagnosis is not a destiny  
 
The Surviving Spirit  – Healing the Heart Through the Creative Arts, Education & Advocacy – Hope, Healing & Help for Trauma, Abuse & Mental Health
 
The Surviving Spirit Speakers’ Bureau
 
 
mike.skinner@survivingspirit.com   603-625-2136  38 River Ledge Drive, Goffstown, NH 03045 
 
@SurvivinSpirit Twitter  
 
“BE the change you want to see in the world.” Mohandas Gandhi
 

 

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Normalising The Experiences of Voices, Visions & Paranoia – Two Day Skills Based Workshop

 

Normalising the Experiences of Voices, Visions & Paranoia
Two-day skills based workshop delivered jointly by Paranoia Network UK , Hearing Voices Network, Sheffield, and the Institute of Mental Health .
(This workshop is targeted at all mental health workers, criminal justice personnel, third sector agencies and people who experience voices, visions and paranoia)
 
Venue
The Quaker Meeting House, 22 School Lane , Liverpool L1 3BT – 5th and 6th  September 2013
                                        Facilitators: Pete Bullimore and Chris Tandy
Workshop Content
Day 1
·         The problem with diagnosis
  • Making sense of paranoia
  • The three stages of paranoia
  • Making sense of ‘delusion’
  • Trauma and paranoia
Day 2
  • History of understanding voices and visions using a psychiatric perspective
  • The difficulty with diagnosis
  • Limitations of traditional therapy
  • The three stages of voices
  • Trauma and unusual experiences
  • Understanding voices and visions
  • Helpful approaches
Workshop Outcomes
Day 1
  • Gain a contemporary understanding of paranoia and other alternative beliefs.
  • Gain a critical understanding of current bio-medical constructs of paranoia.
  • Construct a collaborative understanding of paranoia with service users in a respectful, ethical and therapeutic manner.
  • Understand the potential connection between trauma and paranoia.
Day 2
·         Take a critical and thoughtful     perspective on traditional ways of understanding voice hearing and visions.
·         Understand the potential pitfalls of the claims made from other therapies.
·         Take a respectful and ethical approach to the experience of voice hearing and visions.
·         Understand the potential connection between trauma and voice hearing and visions.
·         Develop new ways of talking to and working with people who experience voices and visions.
 
Some quotes of previous attendees from these workshops:
 ‘A truly inspiring training experience. This gave me so many useful strategies ideas for working with voice hearers’
‘Gained a really good understanding of ways to work with someone with Paranoia’
‘The concepts of frozen terror and the trapped trauma model have made me revaluate how I work with people in practice’.
 ‘Excellent trainers who have the expertise of lived experience and working across a broad range of mental health practice settings’’
 
Costs (for both days): Full time employed £150, Part-time £60, Unwaged £30
 
Apply now: please email Karen Sugars karen.sugars@nottshc.nhs.uk 
 
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What Is Mental Illness Today?



Five hard questions.
4.30pm, Wednesday 15 May 2013
B63, Law & Social Sciences Building
University Park, University of Nottingham

Professor Nikolas Rose
King’s College London
Mental illnesses are one of the largest burdens upon the economy
and upon the NHS, but we still have very little agreement upon
what they represent or how best to provide for them. This seminar
will consider that knotty problem through questions which consider
some of the empirical, conceptual and ethical dilemmas they raise.
Admission free, all welcome.
Email michelle.fusco@nottingham.ac.uk
to confirm attendance.

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My Secret Past – TV Documentary on Channel 5

My Secret Past

Dragonfly TV are making a television documentary about mental illness for their Channel 5 My Secret Past strand. (A few previous episodes are available to watch on 5 on Demand).

The aim of the documentary is to bring personal issues with mental health out into the open to help people realise that it is something which people do have difficulty with, and that it doesn’t have to be something we can’t talk about openly. This is to be a sensitive documentary aiming to capture the realities faced by mental health service users, in order to help raise awareness of these important issues. Jon and Nicolette who are working on the programme are really keen to speak to anyone who may be interested in taking part in the programme by sharing their experiences with mental health.

Whatever your background and history of mental illness, if you feel able to take part Jon and Nicolette would really like to hear from you.
call 07802 604756.

 

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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
Editor-in-Chief.
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 rledger@wiley.com
Applications to arrive no later than 30 November 2012

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Review – Our Encounters With Madness

 ‘Our Encounters with Madness

Authors: (eds) Alec Grant, Fran Biley and Hannah Walker

Publisher: PCCS Books, Ross-On-Wye

Date: 2011

ISBN: 978-1-906254-38-4

Price: £18.00

Pages: 246

PAPERBACK

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,

University of Nottingham,

Nottingham UK

 

This review was published in the Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing

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Becoming Psychotic –

 

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.

 

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Abuse, Trauma and Dissociation: Understanding And Working Towards Recovery

Facilitated by Jacqui Dillon and Eleanor Longden
26th-27th November 2012, Carlton Hill Meeting House, LEEDS.
A rare opportunity to work with trainers with both personal and professional experience, awareness and skills in the understanding and treatment of complex trauma.
Demand is expected to be high so please book early to avoid disappointment.
The cost for two days’  training  (lunch not included)  is £190
A limited number of reduced rate places are available for those on a low income.  Please e-mail for more details
Payment is due 7 days prior to the event and cancellations under 10 days will be required to pay in full
To book a place, or for more information, please contact
Jacqui Dillon  jacquidillon333@aol.com (0795 163 5033)
Eleanor Longden  eleanorlongden@gmail.com (0782 455 3926)
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