Posts Tagged ‘Mental Health’

This is an amazing and heart-warming story.

For all those times we doubt if humanity could ever raise its head out of the mud of its selfishness, here is one stepping stone to dry land.

Story? It is reportage, of a small city in Belgium, Geel, that has opened its doors to the mentally ill… for centuries. Since the fifteenth century.
And the custom continues. 

Based on the legend of Irish king’s daughter, Saint Dymphna, the patron saint of mental illness, the then town took to her. It was here that she died/martyred by the madness of her father, and it’s here, to her shrine, that pilgrims come to pay homage.

The city has become a resource centre for psychiatric and psychology research; a hub of knowledge; an example of what can be achieved.

The writer is Derek Blythe, British journalist, and frequent contributor to The High Road to Culture…pages. For more on Derek Blythe, see:

Here is the link to, once again, the excellent High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands site.

Follow the links.

And the street art in Geel is phenomenal. In the Netherlands also public art and street art is high standard, and plentiful.

The article also tells us:
One of the oldest reggae festivals in Europe, Reggae Geel was launched by a group of friends in 1978. After a modest beginning, it has evolved into a major summer festival that brings some of the best Jamaican music to Geel.

Yep, this article is a great read.
Highly recommended.

Serenity Integrated Mentoring (SIM) is an innovative mental health workforce transformation model that brings together the police and community mental health services, in order to better support “high intensity users” of Section 136 of the Mental Health Act (MHA) and public services.

SIM Programme Content 

The SIM programme consists of: 

  • A model of care using specialist police officers within community mental health services to help support service users struggling with complex, behavioural disorders 
  • SIM supports the small number of service users in every community struggling with complex mental health disorders who often request emergency services whilst making limited clinical progress 

Can you imagine… the police having a quiet word?
They are surely, going off actual results, the very last people who should engage with mental health issues.
And, yes, this is the same police force that suffered and still suffers many austerity cut-backs in officers and money available.

And here we come to the nitty-gritty:

  Reduced cost to the police and NHS/ambulance services due to reduced crisis/999   calls, attendances and mental health bed days. 

Reduced pressure on the police/ambulance/ED services, releasing them to deal with other demands. 

Improved patient experience as service users receive earlier intervention leading to higher recovery rates. 

Service users receive mentoring to help them to avoid reaching crisis point and improve their quality of life. 

How much is one’s mental health worth?

Who does not get an undercurrent of ‘bed-blocking; drain on the services; pull-yourself-together’ mentality from this?

Obviously someone does, because:

Through our engagement we have heard significant concerns that reinforce our view that there is a lack of evidence that the SIM model meets three core principles …

• That no one is ever denied access to life-saving treatment. 
• That people need access to the appropriate personalised and trauma-informed care for their needs, delivered by appropriate health and social care professionals. 
• That all models of care are genuinely co-produced with people with lived experience.

And, more to the point:

StopSIM: Mental Illness Is Not A Crime

SIM is a model of care for mental health services that has been developed by an ex Hampshire police Sgt. Paul Jennings. It is already being used in 23 out of 52 NHS Trusts in England, and there are plans to continue expanding it rapidly. SIM is owned and run by the High Intensity Network (HIN): a private limited company….

The SIM model is designed for people who are very unwell, and who most often come into contact with emergency services. Despite being at very high risk of self-harm and suicide, the SIM model instructs services that usually provide care in an emergency not to treat these people. This includes A&E, ambulance services, mental health services and the police. This also affects people under the SIM model if they want to access a diagnosis or treatment for physical health conditions. For example, they can be denied care for a chest X-ray, even if people with the same physical symptoms would usually be offered one…..

A key part of SIM is the police being a part of community mental health teams. These police officers are called “High Intensity Officers” (HIOs) and they are given NHS contracts. SIM documents state that HIOs receive 3 days of initial classroom training, which is “facilitated and led by Paul Jennings” (who is not a mental health professional), and ‘understanding of mental health provision and services’ is not an essential job requirement. HIOs have full access to service users’ medical records, and are also able to share police records with medical staff……….. 

   We believe that SIM breaches the Human Rights Act 1998. SIM’s policy on withholding potentially life-saving care from patients breaches Article 2, relating to the Right to Life.

We believe that SIM breaches the Equality Act 2010. SIM discriminates against people on the grounds of disability, gender, race, gender reassignment and sexuality.

We believe that SIM breaches UK GDPR regulations. SIM allows ‘sensitive data’ (information like medical records, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, gender reassignment and financial information) to be shared between services without the subject’s consent (the subject is the person who the information is about).

We believe that service users under the SIM model are suffering institutional abuse. Institutional abuse is where the individuals are treated badly, cruelly, or roughly, because of the way an organisation is set up. This can include neglect (when a person isn’t listened to or helped.) and preventing someone from doing what they want to do, as well as lack of respect for a person’s privacy and dignity. We believe the way SIM operates could be classed ans institutional abuse.

We believe that SIM will disproportionately impact people from minoritized and recialised communities. It is likely to act as an additional barrier to asking for help, especially because police are involved in mental health care, given the fear of police brutality and discrimination.

There is no reliable evidence that SIM helps people. SIM’s outcome measures (how they measure success) focus on ‘’service demand’’, meaning how often people use services. There are no outcome measures used to assess the patient’s wellbeing or experience.

There is more to the statement by
It can be found here: