Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Comments by catchercradle

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  • I first looked at a Mental Health First Aid site here in UK yesterday and no surprise, none of the problems with the approach were flagged up on the website. In fact I didn’t manage to find any specific information about the approach on the website – something that would make me reluctant to take the 8 hour course.

    Five years ago I took early retirement from the NHS after many years working as a mental health nurse. Sadly in the NHS the reliance on medication seems to be increasing rather than reducing. Before they got rid of them all, I spent 10 years working at a therapeutic community where use of medication was minimal. I later worked at another in-patient adolescent unit which was not a therapeutic community and there I saw just how much drugs were a part of treatment in mainstream psychiatry. (And this was in a unit where the medical staff in charge always refused drug lunches unlike the adult units nearby!)
    I now work as an aromatherapist and do one evening a week with adolescents in a project aimed at reducing attendance at Accident and Emergency departments with self harm. Others in the project work with psychotherapy/counseling, cooking, money management and other life skills etc. I contrast this with the last unit I worked at where touching the young people was only allowed if restraint or patching up after self harm were needed!

    And that last was in a unit where they refused to use the term BPD, referring instead to complex PTSD. which was inevitably the case.

    An anecdote involving a psychiatrist I worked with during my training sums up my thoughts on the phrase, “personality disorder.” A junior doctor was presenting details of a new admission and as ever included BPD as a diagnostic possibility. The consultant’s reply was, “Well when it comes down to it we all have personality disorders. What is actually wrong with him?”

    I do still think that despite their horrible side effects psychiatric drugs do have a place but they should be the exception rather than the rule. Sorry I have been a bit rambling but there are so many points in what you have written that strike chords with me.