Saturday, 24 November 2012

mental health act - forced treatment - sweeties from strangers

Again I find myself reflecting on the Scottish mental health act, its principles, the safeguards and their relation to forced treatment.  It's a puzzle as to how they all fit together and make sense.  How the safeguards can keep people safe when being forcibly treated.  And how a carer can be respected in the midst of disrespectful attitudes and practice.  I'm trying to get my head around it.

Is the act more about aspirations than actions?  By that I mean something to work towards rather than something that has to be practised.  But then surely it wouldn't be a legal document or passed by parliament.  It has to be more than just words on a paper or rules in a book, that hold no power in the psychiatric system where patients are under compulsion, to conform or play the game.  Of taking the drugs, or palming them, of going along with the labels, or seeming to, of getting along with the nurses and doctors, while secretly knowing that they've got it all wrong.

And then there are the folk who will not conform or play the game, of swallowing the pills or agreeing that they're mentally ill.  Who persist in wanting to be a free agent and responsible for their own destiny.  Which is not allowed in the 'place of safety', where risk and safety have paradoxical meaning.  As in, you're only safe if you hand over control of your life to a stranger in uniform.  And this doesn't make sense, especially to the mad or distressed.  For, weren't we always told not to take sweeties from strangers?




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