Legal Status

Mental Health Act 1983

Health and Social Care Act 2012

Psychiatry as it is in the UK is psychopharmacologically blunt, limited and innaccurate in medical science terms. Semitherapeutic, half disabling but enormously powerful with it in the courts of law. A massive sledgehamer to crack yer nuts. A CPN once said to me that "we have to wait for a few boring old farts to die off before things really change". I have nothing against Trethowan for example, but a Peer of The Realm who suffered from negative spiritual influences, rather than a lifetime of ingesting Big Pharma's neurotoxins had his (and his wife's) skull trepanned instead. Helmholtz resonators maybe but that could be good metaphysics theory.

After thirty-seven years of what used to be called "Care in the Community" I'm still left out in the cold socially to some extent and permanently misunderstood by a few people it seems. When you are diagnosed with a SMI you tend to associate with like minded people. There is definitely a camaraderie among MH service users but there's a pervasive mindset of being left out of much of social and economic activity. Like living a real life but in the passenger seat.

I used to love my work building recording studios, designing the acoustics and installing the electronics. I also used to maintain and repair the electronics in studios. Maybe I could have spoken up for myself better at the start of my psychiatric treatment. I can't work these days because of auditory hallucinations and concentration problems. Importantly however I find noone in psychiatry culpable. There is absolutely no malice in any of them and they are thoroughly professional. As I have said though the pharmacology does need further R&D. Better with medication than without generally but it's a trade-off. Some of the physical side effects can be horrendous along with mental problems like the "normalised thinking" reinforcement of habitual stereotypical ideation. Thought lacks subtlety, I call it the "chemical strait jacket" effect. It's also worth pointing out that often times non-compliance with a treatment regimen often results in hospitalisation with no choice of refusing medication. Then maybe a Community Treatment Order to take meds before you can leave hospital. Non-compliance with a CTO puts you straight back in hospital.

On leaving hospital, especially after admission for psychotic illness, you might be subject to an "Aftercare Section 117" of the Mental Health Act. This basically means that you are not considered a responsible adult and need a "Care Coordinator" often a CPN or Occupational Therapist. The instrument used is the Care Plan Approach which you do have some influence in the formulation of. I had my "Section 117" lifted but this, it seems, is highly unusual. It's probably still not "Reliable Witness" status restored and definitely not clearance to sit as a Juror in a Court of Law. It's the legal basis for living among other psychiatric out-patients in a parallel culture, invalidity. Things are improving these days with second generation antipsychotic drugs, called "atypicals". If a young patient is diagnosed early enough then treated with one of these newer drugs perhaps they could return to work and normal life. The old drugs (phenothiazines) that I was treated with for many years and residual symptoms didn't enable my return to work.

So what is there by way of compensation in life for the SMI sufferer? That depends entirely on how life is lived. With the level of support that's available in my country there is no reason to suffer on a prolonged basis if you're honest and obey the laws of society. Residual auditory hallucinations can be annoying sometimes but I've made peace with mine.

©2020 Andrew Batty