The NAS has created a petition to “Stop the detention of people with autism and learning disabilities in ATU’s”
I have just signed it and urge everyone too as well.
There but for.....
Get family and friends to as well. 80,000 signatures needed to get a debate in Parliament.
I have already signed the petition
Already signed too. It needs reviewing badly. People are having their agency taken away to feed a cynical industry. I keep saying it but autism is a new, relatively untapped revenue stream. This is an industry now, and it's state-enforced, however some of these units are private. It's time that the criteria, conditions, and fashions that shape this issue are reviewed. Even if it was completely necessary for someone to be admitted, the conditions are deplorable. They are supposed to be treatment units, not centres for detainment and punishment.
The private companies are acting under a micro-economic model, whilst being part of the massive machinations of the Mental Health system. They are writing the rulebook, and not being regulated fully, as part of the system they profit from. They are free to be cowboys. Free to opportunity cost. Free to neglect.
The whole system needs review. If the state is making decisions on peoples lives, they need regulation and accountability. That's how it works.
Some of these situations could be avoided in the first place by aporopriate, adequate treatment or help.
My opinion is that autism is managed, not treated. If individuals, carers, parents, and guardians had more resources to learn strategies to cope. There would be less need for intervention. If you heal a cut, you don't need to buy plasters. Mind you no-one can make money then. That's the point though.
Signed. I ended up in a mental health hospital - which was a 2.5 hour drive away - run by the Priory Group. I was told if I didn’t go - by someone I had never met before, 30 seconds after meeting him - I would be sectioned. I was there for nearly a month. Whilst there I witnessed patients being forcibly restrained and given an injection.
Patients were not allowed outside the building unless the psychiatrist gave permission. I didn’t see the psychiatrist for the first 8 days. It was a secure unit and I was only allowed out after finding a member of staff willing to unlock the exit door. They took details of what I was wearing and said if I was longer than the allotted time, they would call the police.
Now I’m afraid to access help because I’m worried I’ll get locked up again.
I am really sorry to hear this Graham. It must have been a really harrowing experience. I worked in mental health services many years ago and it is depressing that things are still so bad.
Like you I fear the consequences of ever being caught up in the mental health system. How ironic that services designed to assist us at moments of great vulnerability actually make us feel unsafe.
I wonder if these institutions are more about making the people outside feel safe rather than the safety of the incarcerated.
Mental health services for autists appears to be directed by people so enamoured by their own theories of, ’Theory of Mind’, ‘Executive Function’, etc, ad nauseam, that they have forgotten their proper purpose and function.
I've never been a theta to anyone.
So true Graham. This has always been a huge problem in the care and treatment of people with mental health issues, and autistic people.
Here are some articles I have been reading on the subject.
TRIGGER WARNING: The content of these articles is often painful to read as they describe the abuse of vulnerable children and adults:
Ten Days in a Mad-House - Nellie Bly (1887)digital.library.upenn.edu/.../madhouse.html
On Being Sane in Insane Places - D. L. Rosenhan (1973)www.oulu.fi/.../AOH Terveenä epäterveissä paikoissa.pdf
Men with Severe Learning Disabilities and Challenging Behaviour in Long-stay Hospital Care: Qualitative study - Jane Hubert (2006) www.cambridge.org/.../core-reader
'Behind this Wall': Experiences of Seclusion on Locked Wards for Women - Rebecca Fish (2012) www.sjdr.se/.../
Children's Voices: A review of evidence on the subjective wellbeing of children in detention in England - Children's Commissioner (2017)www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/.../CCO-review-of-evidence-on-the-subjective-wellbeing-of-children-in-detention-in-England-2.pdf
Some of these articles are historic. It is so important to keep highlighting the abuses that are occurring today.
I will sign it (i need to find it first ) as someone who got multiple daily detentions in school for "disruptive behaviour" because teachers took away my coping mechanisms and stuff I had meltdowns and stuff, it made it difficult for me to cope and find stability , it sucks its still happening tbh
Thanks for the links. All too predictably demonstrating an inappropriate response by those who really should know better.
In my limited experience (this was first encounter with mental health services) the staff were doing their best. They are badly paid for a difficult job, with staff shortages adding to their stress, and resulting in a high staff turnover. The ward psychiatrist seemed to spend most of his time prescribing medication. The Occupational Therapists were the most helpful. but their time was so limited that their obvious effectiveness was seriously restricted.
To my mind, those with a mental health condition should be allocated an advocate who is able to liaise between GP, mental health and social services. An advocate able to draw on expertise - legal etc - at a regional office. With regional offices overseen by a truly independent body able to propose and influence legislation. Ideally regional and national offices should contain a percentage of staff with personal experience of mental health issues. I would also like the national body have the ability to criticise funding spending spent on pointless research, that could have been more usefully spent on frontline services. Unfortunately, the current ‘free market’ dogma precludes these sort of joined up, common sense proposals.