Are you a relative or friend of someone who is experiencing mental

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					                  SUMMER, 06 – No 8

   Are you a relative or friend of someone who is
experiencing mental health difficulties? Then Tayside
Carers Support Project may be able to support you in
some way. We are a voluntary organisation offering a
    free and confidential service across Tayside.

Tayside Carers Support Project is managed by National Schizophrenia Fellowship
(Scotland). The specific aim of the project as the name suggests is to cater for the
needs of families/friends of those with a mental illness. The diagnosis does not have
to be schizophrenia - any mental illness qualifies for help from the project.

Our staff consists of me, Cathy Hamilton – Project Manager; Jane Withers - our
Carers Involvement Worker; Vicki Paterson - our Angus Carers Support Worker; and
Sarah Cox - our Carers Support Worker for Perth & Kinrosss. Last but by no means
least if our Administrative Assistant Kate Robertson who has her finger on the pulse
and does more than her fair share of supporting us all to keep the project ticking

We try to promote good mental well-being for the relatives and friends. It is
important to remember that the relatives/friends are people who also have needs,
and who are often feeling emotionally drained and physically unwell themselves. If
their needs are not met, then they cannot keep supporting their relatives in a positive
and meaningful way.

What we offer is home visits if needed, practical advice on coping, emotional support,
telephone support, information leaflets and books, and access to local support groups.
When we use the word ‘carer’ we mean anyone who has any kind of relationship with
someone who suffers from a serious mental illness. Carers do not have to be living
with the person who is experiencing mental health problems; they just need to care
about him or her. A carer is still a carer whether their relative is in hospital or not.
Even neighbours can be carers.

Latest news: Dundee hosted a Conference on 20 May 2006 with the theme being
Recovery. (Report out soon.)The two new support workers are busy making contact
with the Community Mental Health Teams and GP Surgeries to do presentations about
their roles as Carers Support Workers. Perth carers will soon be enjoying therapeutic
massage in their Support group. Contact Sarah Cox for information about the
Perth Support Group and the Aberfeldy Support Group: 01738 562475.

Vicki is pleased to announce the opening of an outreach resource facility at the
Abbey Health Centre (Health Education Room), East Abbey Street, Arbroath on
Friday 12th May from 10am-12pm and every second Friday thereafter. This
facility will give Carers the opportunity for one-to-one, informal, confidential support
and information with myself, - no appointment necessary initially. For more
information please contact Vicki Paterson on 01241 437214.

If anyone is interested in any of the other groups in Dundee we hope you would
                    Cathy Hamilton for info on: 01382 305712.

     HAPPINESS MANIFESTO (taken from BBC programme
          ‘Making Slough Happy’

Do these for two months and see the difference they make!
1. Get Physical
Exercise for half an hour three times a week

2. Count your blessings
At the end of the day, reflect on at least five things you’re grateful for

3. Talk time
Have an hour long uninterrupted conversation with your partner or closest friend
each week

4. Plant something
Even if it’s a window box or pot plant. Keep it alive!

5. Cut your TV viewing by half

6. Smile at and/or say hello to a stranger
At least once a day.

7. Phone a friend
Make contact with at least one friend or relation you have not been in contact with
for a while and arrange to meet up.

8.     Have a good laugh at least once a day

9. Every day make sure you give yourself a treat
Take time to really enjoy this.

10. Daily kindness
Do an extra good turn for someone each day.

Another BBC2 programme – ‘The Happiness Formula’ – suggests we challenge our
thinking….think positive, notice when we feel happy and find out why, play to our
strengths, seek meaning in life, have good friends, engage with our community, and
count our blessings. For more information, go to:

             “Imperfection allows perfection to exist”. Peter Dawkins,
             Change the way you think and feel without professionals – new self-help
             material to suit individual needs -

   Rachel Perkins on learning from previous centuries (Taken with permission from
                               OPENMIND magazine.)

THE HAPPINEES OF THE PATIENT                   We tend to talk of the need to tailor
                                               treatment and support around the
Recently, I have been reading Samuel           needs and wishes of the individual as if
Tuke’s 1813 account of the Retreat,            this were a new- found wisdom. Yet
(Tuke, S (1813) Description of the             almost two centuries ago, Samuel Tuke
Retreat, reprinted 1996, London:               described how “the attendant will soon
Process press.) and I have been struck         perceive what kind of employment or
by just how little we seem to have             amusement, is best adapted to the
learned over the ensuing                             different patients under his
centuries.                                           care…no strict rule can be
                                                     properly laid down…and the
Prompted by the death of a                           inclination of the patient may
young friend- Hannah Mills – in                      generally be indulged”.
the harsh and brutal York
Asylum, the religious Society of                      Today we emphasise the
Friends (Quakers) established the              importance of “early intervention” as if
Retreat in 1796 under the direction of         this were a recent discovery. But no,
Samuel’s grandfather, William.                 without the benefits of modern day
Respect, Kindness, a liberal and               research, the Tukes had got there
nourishing diet – a glass of porter            centuries ago. BY 1799 “the experience
(“always avoiding, in all cases, any           of the retreat, had already proved the
degree of intoxication”) – occupation          great importance of placing the insane
and friendship replaced the chains,            under proper care, in an early stage of
shackles, intimidation and neglect of          the disorder”. Indeed, so strongly did
the traditional asylum.                        they believe this to be the case that
                                               those in straightened circumstances
How different would today’s                    who came within six months of the
institutions look if we had learned the        “appearance of their derangement”
lessons from these early pioneers that         received free care for a year and those
“whatever tends to promote the                 of means paid only half price – four
happiness of the patient is found to           shillings instead of eight shillings or
increase his desire to restrain himself”       more per week.
and leads to a “lessoning of the
irritation of mind, which too frequently       In a world where concerns about risk
accompanies mental derangement… the            and danger too often reign supreme, it
comfort of the patient is therefore            is salutary to read Tuke’s caution about
considered of the highest importance,          the folly of an over-emphasis on safety.
in a curative point of view”.                  “Many errors in the construction, as
                                               well as in the management of asylums
                                               for the insane, appear to arise from

excessive attention to safety. People,          “quiet haven in which the shattered
in general, have the most erroneous             bark might find the means of
notions of the constantly outrageous            reparation or of safety”.
behaviour, or malicious dispositions, of
deranged persons; and it has, in too            How did we get from “Quiet haven” to
many instances, been found convenient           “Hospital”? Is it, perhaps a little-
to encourage these false sentiments, to         documented consequence of the
apologise for the treatment of the              medicalisation of madness of ensuing
unhappy sufferers, or admit the                 centuries? Could it be an effort to
vicious, neglect of their attendants…           enhance the status of psychiatry- put
cure and comfort ought to be as much            us on a par with the “proper” doctors,
considered, as security… a system               nurses and therapists working with
which, by, limiting the power of the            physical ailments? Is there any
attendant, obliges him not to neglect           evidence whatsoever that a hospital
his duty and makes it his interest to           ward offers a suitable environment to
obtain the good opinion of those under          ease the distress of those in crisis? Or
his care, provides more effectually for         is it now time to reinvent the dignity
the safety of the keeper, as well as of         and kindness of that “quiet haven” –
the patient, than “the apparatus of             that retreat – in which recovery,
chains, darkness, and anodines”.                discovery and growth can really be
Perhaps, too, we should be chastened
by Samuel’s alarm at a visit he made to
a “house for insane persons” where
“security was made a primary object.
Here I saw three of the keepers, in
the middle of the day, earnestly
employed in – playing cards!”

I could go on. It is possible to find
pearls of wisdom on almost every page
of this text that, in all but the form of
the language, are as apposite today as
they were two centuries ago. However,
I was left with one final question.

 How did we end up with the idea of
needing “Hospitals” for people with
                                                “Logical thinking cannot yield us any
mental health problems? In a
                                                knowledge of the empirical world; all
contemporary forward to the text,
                                                knowledge of reality starts from
Kathleen Jones tell us that the term
                                                experience and ends in it.”
“retreat” was coined by William Tuke’s
                                                Albert Einstein
daughter-in-law, Mrs Henry Tuke, as a

                          Christopher Walker – Quiz Master

   1.   Who got to Number 1 in 1963 with ‘I Like It’?
   2.   Who won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1967 with ‘Puppet on a String’?
   3.   Who recorded ‘Summer Holiday’ in 1963?
   4.   Who got to Number 1 in 1965 with ‘It’s Not Unusual’?
   5.   Who were known as The Fab Four?
   (A   bottle of wine to the first person to phone in with the correct answers!)

  WINDS OF CHANGE            [taken with permission from NSF(Scotland) newsletter]

Dr Peter Dick is a consultant Psychiatrist at the Royal Liff Hospital, Tayside.
Since 1997 he has been a Medical Advisor to NSF (Scotland). He looks back
over the first 21years of NSF (Scotland)’s life, and reflects on some of the
changes he has seen in that time….

‘….My own involvement with NSF (Scotland) began through a local carers group. I was
struck by the immense effort the individuals involved put in both to helping their son,
daughter, spouse or parent, and also to maintaining the meetings as a source of
mutual help and support. I was struck by how lonely a furrow carers have to plough.
Subsequently, I had the pleasure of working with Janette Gardner on developing a
SIGN guideline for family intervention and became aware through that of how valued
the NSF contribution was and is. I also became a member of the
Public Affairs Committee and although this has been a rather
formidable title, I have again been consistently impressed by the
hard work and quality of effort put in by carers and the insistence
at every point on putting the carer and the user first, and also on
promoting the local perspective. National Office in Edinburgh is
very keen to help local individuals and groups feel better supported
and less lonely…’

                      LAUNCH OF NEW WEBSITE MEANS

The Scottish Executive’s National Programme for Improving Mental Health and Well-
being launched its new website on December 19th 2005, and asked us to let you know.
The site aims to raise awareness and understanding, promote sharing of information,
knowledge, research, and training in mental health improvement amongst not only
mental health professionals but with policy makers, the media, local government,
businesses, the voluntary sector, the general public and of course with people
experiencing mental health problems.

                   It features top tips, a mental health quiz and stress test, a range
                   of training programmes, details of available immediate help and
                   links to other useful sites and an interactive weekly online diary.
                   Diarist ‘Jemma’ is living with bipolar affective disorder (manic
                   depression). Visitors to the site can read her weekly updates to
find out how she's faring and can respond to her diary.

         (Taken with permission from the Highland Users Group newsletter.)

Over the next few years training of junior doctors is undergoing some significant
changes. Previously after graduation from medical school a new doctor had to do one
year as a pre-registration house officer usually in either general medicine of general
surgery before then going on to do further training for example in medicine, surgery
or general practice. This meant that any surgeons or physicians for example would
only have exposure to psychiatry for a brief period during their medical student
years (sometimes as little as 3 weeks training) and gained no further experience in it

In order to try and make sure that new doctors have as wide a range of experiences
as possible the Government are now introducing what is known as a Foundation
Programme which will run over 2 years. Now following graduation from medical school
a junior doctor will move into foundation programme. This consists of 6 four-month
slots. The first year is initially still being spent in general hospital but in the second
year the doctor will be spending more time in the sub specialities including psychiatry,
paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology. There are obviously some disadvantages to
this system the main one being that some junior doctors will now only spend 4 months
in psychiatry rather than 6 months which may affect continuity of care for some
clients. However, overall it is felt that these changes will be generally beneficial and
will improve medical education. This will mean that there will be more doctors around
who have had experience in psychiatry – for example those who may go on to be
surgeons in the future may also have done a period of 4 months in psychiatry. This
will not only increase their knowledge but also make them more able to deal with any
psychiatric problems in a general hospital with more skill and empathy.

These changes will be starting in august 2006. There are further changes in medical
training planned in the future and I will update you on these as they come on-line.

By Dr. David Gordon, Consultant Psychiatrist & Clinical Tutor, New Craigs Hospital

(Highland Users Group – a centre of excellence in Involvement – is well worth joining.
Phone: 01463 718817 or email: or look at: )

Charlie Wilson, from the DART team to run Stress Management Courses for 9 weeks
             in Crieff and Kinross. They run weekly at times to suit the participants,
             so any Carer living in these areas should contact him and then he can let
             them know when the next course is running. You should live in these
             catchment areas, and the courses are free.
             Tel: Charlie on 01738 562 331

PLUS CONFERENCE REPORT             (Taken with permission from PLUS newsletter)
Mental Health Reforms in Trieste – St. Mungo’s Glasgow 16/05/05

Two representatives from PLUS attended a workshop on the Trieste reforms. It led
on from a previous lecture “International Initiatives Using Recovery in Mental Health
Leadership.” Gillian Grant, Service Manager of the Mental Health Network (Greater
Glasgow), chaired the meeting…….

…….We then listened to Robert Mezzina, Consultant Psychiatrist from Trieste (an
area of around 242,000 pop.) He talked about how in 1978 Mental Health reform
began a process of “humanisation” of the psychiatric hospitals and led to a creation
of community based services capable of enabling patients to live in normal
environments. At the time of the closures a law was passed (180) prohibiting the
building of psychiatric hospitals and the use of E.C.T. was stopped.

He said that many of the mentally ill were exploited following the closures which
created the impetus for social enterprise and fair work conditions. He described
various schemes which included – Via De Matel, a franchise of hotels run by service
users and Café San Marco, a successful catering establishment. He said that the
work opportunities have allowed many patients to secure substantial integration into
the community and that one third of job placements were within private firms.

He discussed how work has an essential social dimension and is a way out of the
psychiatric “circuit” – That citizenship, work and education are closely linked to

Stigma, according to Roberto was not an issue in the way that it is in other places.
He was asked how we in Scotland could get to things as they are in Trieste. He
explained that in the early day’s things has been extremely difficult but felt that
this was partly due to the process of change.

He felt that on the positive side Northern Europeans has a strong capability for
organising groups but perhaps we were also more strongly governed by rules and
regulations. One way forward could be to adopt a more human approach be lessening
our rigidity to rules, occasionally taking calculated risks.

                      Letter from Borderline Disorder Carer.

 I am a carer who is particularly concerned with Borderline Personality Disorder, or
Borderline Disorder as it is more often called now. I have been trying to find out as
much about this as possible, and it turns out there's not a lot to be found, even
though the professionals seem to have been arguing about it for at least thirty years!
   Most psychiatrists seem to think it is not a mental disease, and therefore does not
come into their field. It was however listed under the new Mental Health Act. They
may be right however, because it looks to my amateur self much more like a mental
disability, similar say to dyslexia, and something to do with neurological transmitters
between the 'emotional' and the 'rational parts of the brain.
    Imagine being constantly overwhelmed by your emotions, so that any little
criticism is almost unbearable, the slightest irritation drives you into a real temper,
every frustration or disappointment is the end of the world, any fright leads to full
panic. This is what happens to BDs, because their emotional reactions hit first and
hard, and before any kind of rational thinking can come into play.
   No wonder most of them, even if very well brought up in both family and school, go
'off the rails' in that very difficult transition to adult independence, and, in
desperate attempts to 'turn it all off', take to drink, sex, drugs, shopaholicism, self-
harming, you name it,
   So no surprise their lives become increasingly chaotic, leading to job and home
losses, depression, suicide attempts, schizophrenia and paranoid type symptoms. It is
usually only at this point that they come to the attention of the mental health
services, and many and varied are the diagnoses they then receive, usually ending with
being discharged from short-stay hospital as 'fit' after, say, a suicide attempt or
severe self-harming, with no further treatment or even support in place.
   What they actually need is a very secure environment - No, not
hospital! More like a very understanding and well-informed family or a
therapeutic community, with a lot of skilled support, and for a period
of maybe three to five years. Given that, they can come to understand
how their own 'different' brains work, and develop new and more
effective ways of coping with those pesky emotions. But can you see the NHS
providing this, even a dedicated psychotherapist for anything like that time?
   What is really bugging me is that I can, looking back ( I so wish I had known then
what I know now!), now see that the original condition is congenital, and that if
diagnosed in childhood, the kind of education and support that is now given to
dyslexic children, they could get on perfectly beautifully with their lives (they are
usually pretty high achievers), and never get into the kind of mess and pain that most
of them have to endure today before anybody even realises they have a problem. Are
some of all these newly diagnosed ADHD and autistic spectrum children maybe in fact
I'd like to hear from anybody with hands-on experience of BD.
Mrs I. B. Miller, 5 Braeside Park, Aberfeldy, PH15 2DT. Or -

The Montrose Involvement Group recently discussed the difficulties of maintaining a
tenancy whilst in hospital – it should not be lost if both the community team and
housing know the situation. Elaine Halliday, Development Officer, William Wallace
House, Orchard Lane, Orchardbank Business Park, Forfar, DD8 1WH,
01307 47 47 58, has said that she is happy for anyone in Angus to phone
her with concerns. She is a specialist Housing Assessor who has been
working with us and others to increase the communication between mental
health service providers to make sure accommodation problems are solved as
soon as possible. Elaine and her colleagues are now raising awareness on the wards of
the complexities of housing - with immediate benefits to patients.

                    HALLO CHRISTOPHER – a letter from a ‘mum’.
My heart went out to Christopher in the last issue when I read of his difficulties
with living on his own after years in hospital. I hope he has good back-up from people
to help keep him cheerful. It is not so long since I met again someone who had lived
in hospital for long years and who is now living in sheltered accommodation with plenty
support. She is indeed a different person.

At it’s best Care in the Community is a great idea. It often occurs to me though that
it is only possible as a result of the many amazing drugs that are now available to
control mental illness.
The downside is that many Carers have more work to do than ever. It is even more
difficult to make doctors believe how ill their affected relative is becoming.
Sometimes it becomes a Catch -22 situation. The sufferer does not believe he/she is
really ill yet as an adult is expected to take action himself. No wonder a family
struggling with extremes of distressful behaviour can end up needing medical help for
themselves – which at least can lead to action for the sufferer.

To be “sectioned” seems like cruelty and it may take a long time for understanding
and forgiveness. Such a deep impact on all concerned, so that it is never forgotten
by sufferers or carers.

The new moves towards the “Recovery Network” are great. It’s such a personal
matter, for not everyone will be able to have their own accommodation with adequate
back-up, and many people may still depend on carers.

We need lots of sympathy and understanding for both carers and service users.
That’s why I’m impressed with the give-and-take of the service user’s point of view
you in the Carers Group newsletter and, on the opposite side, with a feature about
Sarah and the Perth Carers Group in the PLUS Newsletter for service users. Above
all thank you to all the carers and service users who are carrying out all sorts of


"During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at
all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He
was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore."
Cindy - age 8

"Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken." Elaine - age 5

"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer
than Robert Redford." Chris - age 7

"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day."
Mary Ann - age 4

"I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to
go out and buy new ones." Lauren - age 4

"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of
you." Karen - age 7

"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross."
Mark - age 6

"You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should
say it a lot. People forget." Jessica - age 8

Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to
judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. The winner was
a four year old child whose next door neighbour was an elderly gentleman who had
recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old
gentleman's yard, climbed on to his lap, and just sat there. When his
Mother asked what he had said to the neighbour, the little boy said,
"Nothing, I just helped him cry".

And from Deepak Chopra:

“Love is not based on how you act or feel but on your level of
awareness…..All disagreements are results of misunderstanding someone
else’s level of consciousness…Forgiveness is born of increased awareness. The more
you can see the easier it is to forgive…..Love is attention without judgement. In its
natural state attention only appreciates….Spirit is passionate; without passion no-one
can be truly spiritual. The awakening of true love lies in finding peace within passion
and passion within peace……love dances in the freshness of the unknown.”

                                    TAKING CARE OF OURSELVES

                     “A healthy soul shines through the persona on most days and
                     blazes through on others. Where there is gross injury, the soul
                     flees. Sometimes it drifts or bolts so far away that it takes
                     masterful propiation to coax it back. A long time must pass before
such a soul will trust enough to return, but it can be accomplished. The retrieval
requires several ingredients: naked honesty, stamina, tenderness, sweetness,
ventilation of rage and humour. Combined, these make a song that calls the soul back
home.”                 ‘Women Who Run with the Wolves,’ by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

We are, all have of us, on a road to recovery. We have all suffered in all sorts of
ways, be it a road accident, an operation or a bereavement. Or loosing sight of hope
for our loved ones. We all need to learn how to take care of ourselves and the only
way to do that is to be interested in who we are and to be brave enough to look
closely at the not-so-nice bits. We all have them. This leads eventually, after a great
deal of bravery, to acceptance and the ability to love who we are, warts and all!
  Self-awareness leads to understanding leads to acceptance leads to peace of mind.

We would like to invite all our readers, families and staff, to send in your
contributions for the newsletter…..jokes, photos, (with permission), puzzles, articles,
etc. Please let us know if you do NOT want your contribution to go onto our website.

Cathy Hamilton – 01382 305 712 or email:

Jane Withers – 01382 305 713 or email:
Or our website:

Tayside Carers Support Project is managed by NSF(Scotland) whose National
Office is in Edinburgh. They are available during normal office hours for
information on: 0131 557 8969, and

                            MISSION STATEMENT
NSF (SCOTLAND) works to improve the well-being and quality of life of those
affected by schizophrenia and other mental illness. This includes those who are
family members, carers and supporters.

  Tayside Carers Support Project does not necessarily agree with all the views
                         expressed in this newsletter.


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