Memorandum submitted by the Rutland Healing Group (MH 3)
1. In the second reading of the Mental Health Bill in the Lords on Tuesday, 28th November 2006 the minister of state, Department of Health Lord Warner said:
"It is clear that there is now scope for some patients to be treated under compulsory powers but to live in the community, not in hospital. For suitable patients, supervised community treatment meets the need for a framework for their treatment and safe management in the community, instead of detention in hospital."
The Rutland Healing Group welcomes this change, as do many other charities and groups concerned about improving mental health services. Lord Warner continues in his learned way that:
"Supervised community treatment is a new, modern and effective way to manage the treatment of patients with serious mental health problems. It will allow patients, so far as possible, to live normal lives in the community. This will reduce the risk of social exclusion and stigma associated with detention in hospital for long periods of time or with repeated hospital admissions."
This has proved and will continue to prove, we pray, to be true.
2. However we are concerned with the loss of rights that CTO's may bring. Still the Lords, as other members of the community, fail to recognize that mental health patients have human rights and should not have to fight for their survival. Lord Warner says patients will be given "the ability to apply to the county court to displace the nearest relative if they believe they are unsuitable". Why should patients have to go to court? Should not it be the social workers, doctors and relatives who have to go to court to prove a patient does not have capacity. In the 21st Century Rutland Healing Group, made up of users, past-users, carers and professionals, believes we have free-will as humans to choose health treatment. Nowadays there are many therapies and remedies far better than anything the NHS can offer that can actually heal mental health problems. No-one needs to be forced onto drugs anymore.
3. The Lord Bishop of Manchester points out that "The Bill seeks to strike a balance between the rights and autonomy of patients and the safety of both patients and the public." The Lord Bishop recognises how this Christian country should be governed by Jesus' authority and we should: "treat others as we would wish to be treated" Luke 6:31. Nobody would wish to be deprived of their freedom especially if they were ill. Doctors should be encouraged to seek the will of the patient rather than be given the opportunity to disregard it. The Rutland Healing Group looks to the government to give mental health patients the same rights as any other patient. How can anyone determine someone does not have the capacity to decide? If someone wants to end their life what right do relatives have to stop them? In fact the patient should be given every help to improve their life with counselling, homeopathy (Aurora Mur is brilliant for suicidal feelings) and centring prayer. If this does not work then euthanasia should be allowed rather than pyschiatric drugs with the most dreadful side effects that only makes the situation worse.
4. Rutland Healing Group has noticed in many cases patients have been persecuted because of religious beliefs. The Lord Bishop indicates: "Compulsory detention and treatment should be based strictly on mental disorder and should certainly not be used for the purpose of social control." This very often is the case and we, as users and past-users, look to the government to protect us from this. Many service users have been deprived of their freedom because of their behaviour as evangelists. Relatives and professionals feel threatened by someone's 'high' behaviour as they minister to others, preach the gospel and lay on hands for healing. Surely in the 21st century the public should be protected from this as mental health professionals should not be 'guardians of public safety'.
5. We ask the government to recognize the needs of public safety and agree with Lord Bishop of Manchester that "Those who are untreatable but are believed to pose a serious risk to other people should be dealt with under criminal justice rather than mental health legislation." The government, the public and the media should stop mixing up violence with mental health the two are separate.
6. "The Government have decided not to include a provision for advocacy services in the Bill" this is a concern for Baroness Morgan of Drefelin as for the Rutland Healing Group. One of our services is to help with independent advocacy which is provided on a volunteer basis. Many patients turn to help from the mental health advocate because they receive non-discrimanatory treatment to prevent avoidable distress and suffering. We support patients in ward-rounds in hospitals, revues in the community, court-cases and give supportive and counselling care. This should be encouraged by the bill and the government should recognize the extreme benefit of the professional use (as advocates, group co-ordinators, nurses, trainers and teachers of good mental health practice) of users and past-users. Baroness Meacher supports the RHG view that:
" The Royal College of Psychiatrists rightly points out that patients' choice and participation in their own care are central tenets in the new NHS. In a crisis, however, patients may not have the capacity to exercise their autonomy. Advance statements, setting out both what a patient wishes to occur and what treatment they would refuse in the event of being detained and lacking capacity, are gaining currency as useful and empowering tools for service users. In my humble opinion, the Bill needs to make provision for those statements."
7. We should be less pre-occupied with crisis intervention and more focused on what we can learn from our past mistakes. As Baroness Morgan made clear: "I am concerned about the ethical position with regard to the use of treatment without specific or potential benefit to the patient for the purposes of control." Rutland Healing Group has been helping the PPI Forum for the Leicestershire Partnership with some research into the efficacy of homeopathy. Ms. Elizabeth Maitland chair of the RHG has been cured by homeopathy and recognizes its great benefits because of lack of side-effects and its ability to deal with emotional trauma due to shock, fear, grief and stress. She says "Homeopathy has no stigma and I can now go through a difficult time in my life and have no fear of the dreadful torture of pyschiatric drugs or hospitalisation because homeopathy always sorts out the problems in days". Ms Maitland has done extensive research into homeopathy and discovered it is a cure for mental illness. Allopathy (NHS Medecine) gets rid of the symptoms and drives the mental illness in; while homeopathy, in a controlled and gentle manner, acclerates the symptoms and gets them and root of the illness out of the system. The body learns to cure itself. "It is brilliant and is a gift from God" she says. All the plants are pure and uncontaminated and given by Jesus "as a healing for the nations" .
8. This nation has to wisen up to the fact that pyschiatry is dangerous. As Baroness Morgan says: "But let no one be under any illusion: the most common cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 34 is suicide." The Rutland Healing Group is concerned about the lack of autonomy that CTO's may bring. People commit suicide because of lack of control over their life. We believe if we have CTO's as is suggested this may double the trouble we have already with suicide. Already if the statistics are known most suicides are committed by overdosing on psychiatric drugs and many people agree that some of these drugs actually cause suicidal feelings (look at reports on Seroxat in particular). "Each year approximately 380 detained patients die in care, and about a quarter of the deaths are termed "unnatural"; that is, they are suicides, occur in suspicious circumstances and so on." Lord Patel of Bradford has reported. This is because of patients being termed 'without the capacity' to be in charge of their treament. They are dehumanised, forced unaturally and against their will to take drugs. This is what causes them to suicide. The RHG hopes the world and our government will recognize this now and take steps to prevent these suicides by forbidding compulsion.
9. In his oral evidence to the Joint Committee that scrutinised the 2004 draft Bill, Dr Tony Zigmond, the vice-president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said,
RHG proposes that the government takes courage into its hands and disposes of compulsion within this new Mental Health Act. People will still be forced onto drugs by the NHS depend on it. But it will be with words, comforting, loving and encouraging words by people who seem to care. Surely the government can see that in the 21st Century humans are capable of acting in God's image. They are as able to talk a person into the right treatment as to force them. Two thousand plus years after the resurrection of Christ surely we can let Him take control and give humanity 'free-will of mental health'. Believe it ...IT IS POSSIBLE.