“We need to be heard and you need to listen” is clear message from CHARM Public Meeting

PUBLIC MEETING STATEMENT

AND REPORT

Saturday, 10 December 2- 4 pm

60 people attended the public meeting. We heard both inspiring and challenging stories from people with lived experience, family members, workers and concerned citizens.

Our keynote speakers were:

Dainius Puras, psychiatrist, former UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Mental Health speaks about the predominant importance of human rights in shifting the thinking and practice of bio-medical psychiatry across the world and in Manchester. Go to his presentation here

Roberto Mezzina, psychiatrist, Vice President of the World Federation for Mental Health, retired director of Trieste Mental Health Department, proving it is possible to create a mental health system that upholds human rights. A service that has full participation of users and is accessible and rooted in the community. Go to his presentation here

The key message from the meeting is that Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust, Commissioners of services and other responsible bodies need to LISTEN.

Robert Lizar, Solicitor

Public statement from the meeting: ‘AFTER EDENFIELD – HUMAN RIGHTS NOW’ held on 10 December 2022 at Central Hall, Manchester

This meeting calls for a mental health service that puts compassion and human rights at its centre. We want a service that is accessible and takes a whole person approach.

We have heard stories of systematic and wilful neglect. We have heard evidence of the systematic abuse of power by mental health services in Manchester and beyond. We have heard patients’ concerns and opinions pathologised and dismissed. These failures are both in community and inpatient services.

All forms of violence, aggression, discrimination and prejudice should be illegal in mental health services. This includes restraint, detention, coercion and neglect. We call for a public inquiry that places users and carers at the centre of any investigation

We will build our own evidence base. The meeting calls for people who have used community and inpatient services to tell their story by contributing to the story bank of experiences being collected by CHARM and the Charter Alliance. Anyone wishing to contribute can contact CHARMat Charm.storybank@gmail.com

We have heard accounts proving it is possible to create a mental health system that upholds human rights. To do this we must address the power asymmetry in mental health services. We need a service that has full participation of users and is accessible and rooted in the community.

We must also challenge the dominance of the biomedical model and the iatrogenic harm that it creates. We need recognition of other innovative and creative models of care that use negotiation and dialogue in deciding on care which addresses the power imbalance. This will support the upholding of human rights as well as changing the way people are cared for through creating an alternative system.

CHARM Public Meeting

Supporting organisations: CHARM (Communities for Holistic Accessible Rights-based Mental Health); Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People; Manchester User Network; Manchester Hearing Voices Network, GM Mental Health Charter Alliance; Fika Wellie; Unison; Asylum Magazine; GM Keep our NHS Public; Safely Held Spaces; Soteria Network UK; Robert Lizar Solicitors, Talk for Health

Information about the meeting

Presenters

  • Citizens with lived experience
  • Dainius Pūras, psychiatrist, former UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Mental Health (zoom)
  • Roberto Mezzina, psychiatrist, Vice President of the World Federation for Mental Health, retired director of Trieste Mental Health Department (zoom)
  • Robert Lizar, Robert Lizar Solicitors, Manchester

Why we called the meeting

The Panorama programme on Edenfield showed an abuse of human rights that are system wide. It wasn’t just the acts of individual workers but a system that relies on restraint, seclusion and socialises workers to lose compassion and humanity.  The internal inquiry and findings by GMMH are not enough. GMMH continues to suggest that what happened at Edenfield is an isolated case, when it is clear from the number of recent scandals that the abuses uncovered take place nationally across private and NHS hospitals. Both in-patient and community services are not safe. We need a root and branch review of services and an inquiry that is open and transparent. This can only be co-produced with the community.

We need to listen to the stories of those with lived experience. We call for anyone who wants to share their stories to join us at the meeting in our fight for justice.  CHARM and Manchester Mental Health Charter Alliance are working together to launch a Story Bank of experiences which we will use to support our campaigns to improve mental health support in Manchester. 

We need to speak out against coercive psychiatry, abusive mental health regimes and forced treatment. As our speaker Dainius Pūras has said, ‘our common goal is to liberate global mental healthcare from coercive practices…. If we do not move in this direction, arguments for coercion will continue to be used and misused.’

The meeting was supported by:

Manchester Users Network Supports users and ex-users of psychiatric services in the Manchester area. The organisation provides a forum for services users to have a bona fide say in planning and provision of mental health services.

Asylum Magazine the radical mental health magazine, has been running for 30 years, acting as a platform to voice and discuss all perspectives on mental health.

Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People an organisation of disabled people: run and controlled by disabled people. We campaign to promote the rights of disabled people and our inclusion in society

Fika Welie There is a huge stigma in the Black community in regards to mental health and seeking help. This fear of judgment can deter individuals from getting the help they need. At Fika Welie, we will always recognise the traumatic impact of racism on Mental Health.

Manchester Mental Health Charter Alliance This charter is about what people want from mental health services in Manchester. It has been drawn up from what people who use mental health services have said in consultations over the last few years.

Safely Held Spaces vision is of safe, compassionate, empowering support in local communities in the UK for people experiencing extreme mental and emotional distress and altered states, often called psychosis, and for the people supporting them

Soteria Network UK

Soteria promote humane, non-coercive mental health services. A network of people in the UK promoting the development of drug-free and minimum medication therapeutic environments for people experiencing ‘psychosis’ or extreme states. Part of an international movement of service users, survivors, activists, carers and professionals fighting for more humane, non-coercive mental health services.

Justice in Care dedicated to promoting justice for and preventing the abuse or exploitation of disabled people or service-users or residents within the care system. This Justice in Care group is co-ordinated by Parasol in co-operation with the Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People.

GM Keep Our NHS Public is a non-party-political organisation campaigning against the privatisation and underfunding of the NHS. They support campaigns to reverse the privatisation and commercialisation of social care and to call for health and social care services to be publicly funded, publicly provided and accountable provision.

Published by CHARM Greater Manchester

CHARM, the Community for Holistic, Accessible, Rights Based Mental Health was launched by The Organic Recovery Learning Community in September 2020.

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