MARY O'HAGAN

Showing category "Users" (Show all posts)

Outrage at compulsory treatment because they got the 'wrong man'

Posted by Mary O Hagan on Friday, December 28, 2012, In : Compulsory Treatment 

On Boxing Day the West Australian reported that a man fitting the description of an escaped patient from Graylands Hospital in Perth was detained at the hospital, given antipsychotic drugs and suffered an adverse reaction which landed him in the general hospital. Click here to see the report. The return of an escaped psychiatric patient or an adverse drug reaction do not usually make the news, except that this time the authorities got the wrong man. The state’s Minister of Mental Health exp...
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Democratising Psychiatry

Posted by Mary O Hagan on Thursday, December 2, 2010, In : Psychiatry 

Twitter delivered an announcement this week from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RNZAP) proudly stating it had appointed a ‘consumer and carer representative’ to its governing body. The Australians have the irritating habit of tethering consumers and carers with each other in the same way that the song proclaims, ‘love and marriage go together like horse and carriage’.  We all know ‘consumers’ and ‘carers’ are two distinct stakeholder groups whos...


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Two Accounts of Mental Distress

Posted by Mary O Hagan on Thursday, November 18, 2010, In : Lived Experience 

Many years ago, soon after I got out of the mental health system I applied to see my hospital notes. They arrived, two inches thick, inside some tidy brown folders.

I was shocked. I knew that the psychiatrists’ main interest in me was my psychopathology. I knew they found me frustrating, because their treatments didn’t work and I kept coming back. I knew they were irritated when I questioned their expertise.  But what I don’t know until I read my notes is how little regard they had for...


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The end of compulsory treatment

Posted by Mary O Hagan on Tuesday, November 2, 2010, In : Compulsory Treatment 
Western culture places a high value on freedom of the individual. We only justify the removal of freedoms when citizens transgress or are regarded as not fully human. Since the eighteenth century enlightenment, rationality has become the pinnacle of full humanity. People seen to lack rationality are easily denied full human status and full human freedoms; among them are slaves, women and mad people.  

There is a growing international movement to abolish special legislation allowing compulsory ...
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The values of peer support

Posted by Mary O Hagan on Saturday, October 23, 2010, In : Peer Support 

In the last two years I’ve been involved in two reviews of peer support and peer led responses in Canada – one for Ontario (click to download) and the other for the whole of Canada (which has yet to be released by the Mental Health Commission of Canada).

Services run by and for ‘mad’ people have been a small but growing part of the landscape since the 1970s. Peers have supported each other informally since they were first thrown together into the lunatic asylums, and probably even be...


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User/survivor leadership

Posted by Mary O Hagan on Tuesday, October 12, 2010, In : Users/survivors 

Click here to find the full article. 

The international mental health user/survivor movement has been around for nearly 40 years. It started as a protest movement but it has over time become more absorbed into the mental health system. The movement has created leadership opportunities in its independent activities, and the idea of leadership in one’s own recovery, but the policy of service user participation in mental health services has failed to deliver consistent participation, let alon...


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The beliefs that drive services

Posted by Mary O Hagan on Wednesday, October 6, 2010, In : Services 

The mental health sector, like any other, is crowded with bureaucracy, politics, standards, indicators, jargon, gossip and other day-to-day diversions. In this atmosphere it’s difficult to disentangle oneself enough to burrow down and explore the bedrock of beliefs the mental health system is based upon. These beliefs drive our thoughts and feelings, our behaviour and our systems, but we are often barely aware of them.

Occasionally I get the time to dig down into these bedrock beliefs. I d...


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Psychiatric Drugs: The two stories

Posted by Mary O Hagan on Saturday, September 25, 2010, In : Treatments 

Psychiatric drugs are controversial. There’s the good story and the bad story. In his book ‘Anatomy of an Epidemic’, Robert Whitaker puts it like this: ‘There is a famous optical illusion, and depending how you look at it, you either see a beautiful young woman picture which tells of a revolutionary advance in the treatment of mental disorders. Or you see an old hag picture which tells of a form of care that has led to an epidemic of disabling mental illness.’

When I used mental he...


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Is the mental health system crazy?

Posted by Mary O Hagan on Saturday, September 18, 2010, In : Employment 

People with major mental distress often suffer multiple personal, social and economic losses. Our personal loss of power and self-esteem does not so much derive from the condition itself, but the attitudes we and others have towards it. We may feel shame. Those around us may feel pity and fear. Our paid helpers often reinforce these responses by pathologising our experience. Once our personal losses have taken hold, a cascade of social and economic losses tends to follow, such as isolation, u...


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Thinking about suicide

Posted by Mary O Hagan on Monday, September 13, 2010, In : Suicide 
Welcome to my first blog.

David Webb is a friend and colleague as well as a survivor of many suicide attempts. He has recently written 'Thinking About Suicide: Contemplating and comprehending the urge to die.' 

The book is based loosely on David's PhD, the world's first PhD on suicide written by someone who has survived it. It is not an academic book, though David does have a cerebral approach to the issue. He writes of the absence of interest in first person accounts in the suicidology literat...

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Watch this space...

Posted by Mary O Hagan on Sunday, September 12, 2010,
Regular blogs coming very soon.
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