Saturday, 8 September 2012

is the new mental health strategy more than just a fine piece of rhetoric?

I want to explore the new mental health strategy for Scotland in terms of its power and impact on the psychiatric system and mental health services.  To investigate its relationship to the mental health act.  The implications for human rights in psychiatric institutions.  How the strategy can translate into an action plan.  Where the voices of lived experience are on this continuum.  If the gulf between theory and practice is in danger of becoming a chasm.

It will mean looking at what isn't in the strategy.  And why this might be.  What has been included and for what reason.  The philosophy of the whole and the reality of the expectations.  The commitments, their order and content.  How the localities will be resourced and equipped to carry out the strategic aims.  Is it realistic, achievable and measurable.  And if so who will decide.

Above all, I will consider these things in relation to my own personal experience and story.  Of being a service user, survivor and carer.  Over 40 years of engaging with the psychiatric system and mental health services.  Experiencing recovery when it was just a word among peers.  And peer support in the midst of psychiatric incarceration.  Solidarity with others in the system who knew what it felt like to be forcibly treated.  Long before there was a national initiative or a place at the table.

I'm looking forward to the challenge of finding out if the new mental health strategy is more than just a fine piece of rhetoric.  More than an aspirational document.  And more like a template for action with a real commitment to change.  To bring about a transformation to the psychiatric system and the resulting mental health services.  While recognising and respecting the ongoing stories of the survivors.


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