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NEWS UPDATE: Local News Updates - Wiltshire UK Focus:
Just thought I would let you know that your Editor and Publisher (my dear self) now has more time for the Campaign work and Advocacy, which has become very busy recently. I am also looking forward to getting some Funding to keep it that way. If anyone is interested, I am looking for volunteers to help out in the areas local to; Wiltshire, Bath, Bristol, Swindon & Gloucester, etc. but if you are keen, we can reach out to Hampshire and Somerset. This is a free service and I am not paid.
In addition, if you are inclined, I could now do with some help on the Telephone Helpline and Internet Helpline. This is not very demanding in terms of numbers yet and is not restricted to the UK. There are enquiries and requests for support in most English speaking countries. Most of these have been picked up through our Yahoo and Facebook presence. This is a very interesting and rewarding area of working, as so many of the problems are similar in different countries, but we get to see different circumstances and different ways of providing services. The failure do have a very common theme; 'FEAR'.
What is Happening:
I have been working for Wiltshire Council Social Services for a number of years now , but was recently 'sacked' for bringing the Counties Services 'Into 'Disrepute', by publishing articles to these web pages. For the first time I had mentioned the Local Authority services by name, because some important and 'dangerous' problems were not being addressed, in spite of my repeated attempts to get them addressed. There are some general aspects I can & need to publicise. The Corporate Style of working that was recently adopted as failed here, as predicted. Big is not Beautiful when it comes to communities.
Let me firsts says that the staff of Local Authority Service are great and even exceptional, whatever impression you may get from trying to get a services locally (not particularly restricted to Wiltshire). There are, however, serious problems which make the services to some people quite poor and unreliable, with very little choice and what can only be described as 'abusive' in effect. Some families are suffering particularly distressing consequences as a result of 'institutional failures' and the confusion of promises and realities of what is available. It is the usual issue of lack of transparency & inclusion..
Over the next few weeks I will be writing about the 'Institutional' effects that I have been observing and how these will be addressed locally. This will provide some answers to problems that are felt pretty well everywhere, but usually only in specific teams, or local geographic areas (See Warwickshire - below). Wiltshire is only interesting in that the effect is quite generally felt by staff throughout the County's care services and adds an extra burden to those doing the work. The other interesting feature is that problems do not always come from the 'top', something I have been aware of, but now have good evidence of. Some services are still exceptional in spite of these destructive influences - we will look at that also.
It is an interesting phenomenon and I think I have discovered some further evidence of what is causing these effects. Nothing really new, just strange to be seeing this evidence at this time and under these circumstances. It is a bit like going into a time warp. In some respects 'Wiltshire' Services have brought themselves into 'Disrespect' and the committed professionals staff and some insightful Administrators they employ are constantly bailing out the few incompetents and dishonest operators. The last time I saw this general affect was 35 years ago, so it will make interesting reading, I promise you.
The view from the Hub:
In addition, we are now working with people who are struggling with their demons all over the world. Lots of friend in the USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Middle East and North Africa. Anywhere there is Abuse and Community Neglect of any kind is likely to have common problems to that we experience in the West, especially as those countries become more commercial and become city dwellers. Modern living and work environments are often very unhealthy and this is a big contribution to mental ill health. There is now a 40% level mental health treatment in Europe. That is ridiculous.
On top of that the West also get more than our fair share of Brain Injury and some would argue increased incidents of Autism, ADHD, PTSD, Alcoholism, drug addiction, even Learning Disability and any number of other 'conditions' that seem to be associated with modern, 'Western' living. There is a 'risk averse' attitude that distresses people because of the 'induced' reduction in quality of life.
The fact is, we are less skilled in coping with 'difference' and less accommodating to disablement in any form, although we like to think we are better at 'treating it'. Treatment is 'after' the effect. We are interested in avoiding disablement, in spite of the impairments. It is a social problem and many treatments are disabling.
So, I beg to differ and for good reason. Taking a different approach to these issues (by Reframing of our perception of the 'problem') we actually find the problem is with our lifestyles and attitudes, including the 'institutional' attitudes. Professional Institutions have become our 'replacement' for extended families; found in more traditional, tribal cultures (before we interfered). We are less able to 'integrate' people who are not coping, or are 'different' in any significant way.
We are now largely intolerant and that is because we have become more 'fearful', because our Institutions tend to reinforce those fears and take away some of our responsibility - they basically make is dependent, by being over controlling. The professionals come in with good intentions, set about their duties with enthusiasm and optimism and are gradually worn down by those who have become stale and were perhaps less competent. The cycle is then downwards.
In recent years I worked with Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership first, working with people who experienced mental distress in their lives. This period confirmed earlier research; nearly all have had one or more distressing experience in childhood, adolescence and even Adulthood. Often these precipitating experiences involve 'abuse' in some form; beatings, put downs, mind games and neglect. It is amazing how many ways that people find to abuse each other.
Anyway, I got enthusiastically involved and got some good results with people, working within a really supportive team with great admin support. That meant we could get on with helping people regain their confidence and face the incredible stresses of modern life once more, perhaps with a few more skills, less anxiety, but mostly 'less fear'. Being the person I am, I put up with no nonsense and argued with every stupid institutional stupidity.
Unfortunately, money talks and there were the inevitable reduction in staff; to save money, as usual. That meant more stress on remaining staff and the service deteriorated, with the bureaucraps doing their usual job of pretending the problems was on of 'efficiency'. Well that has been the argument for years in many Local Services and we seem to have learned nothing. Change after change and reduction after rationalisation, etc. The cost go up and the general quality runs down.
Of course, this is a little unfair on bureaucrats, it is single individuals, some misguided, a few malicious, or belligerently bureaucratic, but in some kind of powerful position (not necessarily a 'leader') of influence. This is often the result of 'fear', fear of failure & change. That fear then rubs off on others an the institution takes on the fearful character. That makes the service provided very inefficient, investing time in 'protective' measure and distracting from quality of service and choice.
This fear is infectious and is conveyed down the line of command and even sometimes upwards, but the effect is always eventually downwards, impacting upon the person directly providing the service and then the client, patient; the last person considered in full. It may be partly an unfortunate consequence of where I happen to be at the time, but this is the feature that I have felt most strongly in the social care services of Wiltshire, including Dementia care and particularly Leaning Disabilities, where the support to staff and clients is particularly institutionalised, almost as much as things were 20-30 years ago, but in prettier environments A senior manager bravely said as much a few years back.
Sadly, once a person is distressed in these various ways and acting out on the basis of the distress, others (in their ignorance) judge them and often fear them. Well - don't - it could be any of you , or your children and grandchildren in the future. Most families experience mental ill health and other forms of mental disablement in their lifetimes. Sometime just sadness and sometimes incredible fear and mistrust, sometimes the result of severely restrictive lifestyles and sometime due to additional poor professional understanding of communication and understanding of social cause and effect.
As you hear of some of these stories you will not be surprised at people mental illness, anger and distrust. More to come, including updates on the challenges to Institutionalised aspects of the Services and the financial and philosophical aspects that are impacting upon the services that are being provided.
NEWS UPDATE: Local News Updates - Warwickshire UK Focus:
This update is in preparation and it is good news in respect of the difficulties we had been experiencing with one particular group of Social Work & Social Care Teams. That is now much improved and the Health care aspects are now being addressed also. It would appear that one of the negative influences has been 'removed' and the service has become much more positive and 'open'. Sadly, Peter - 'Crazy Horse' - the multiply impaired man, who we have written about previously is still in poor health, but his care and support has improved substantially.
Everything is now dropping into place and there is a good chance that Peter will be helped to overcome his poor heath and then get some good support to help him adapt to his complex disablements. I will update you on progress. It is always nice to hear positive stories and we are always keen to publish them. Most of our work on this site deals with what needs doing when things do not go right. It can be just as helpful to provide examples where arrangements have individual or consistent positive outcomes.
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Solicitors Advice Concerning Professional Assumptions and Decision - Friday, April 16, 2010 5:43 AM EST
The advice below was provided following a legal enquiry, concerning the unjust, disabling and sometimes unlawful restrictions placed upon many individuals and families, within many disability groups. They are deemed to be 'potentially' at risk and have a mental capacity that is professionally assumed to be 'generally' restricted. They are effectively asked to 'prove' that they have capacity.
"This is a difficult one set against the background of a nanny state that now tries to tell how to do everything and litigation where there is seen to be a failure to intervene and control a situation in areas such as social work.
As such you are trying to achieve the correct balance is a situation where the prevailing pressure is going the other way.
I cannot see a court interfering here because the local authority has a wide discretion as to how they exercise these type of policies and it would be difficult for a judge to criticise a LA for being "too caring" even though the effects you see are actually restrictive, condescending and offensive.
The change needs to be at policy level and you have made the start by airing the subject what I would do next is lots of homework and try to find studies conducted in different countries of similar schemes that support my contention.
I would put together a document for discussion. Do not make it critical, you have your own position to think of but put it out as food for thought".
Bureaucratic Madness - Australia, New Zealand & USA - Institutions miss the point entirely:
Bureaucratic and Risk Averse Institutions are not limited to the UK's increasingly 'Nanny State' Culture.
There seems to be no limit to the stupidity of of Institution's 'overreaction' to complaints and concerns. Why is it, with our increased understanding of the impact of Prejudice and Discrimination and the hard work in creating internationally agreed Treaty of Human Rights, and Disability Rights, that our institutions can so badly interpret these 'obligations'?
In Australia, as in the UK, Institutions are interpreting Human Rights in highly restricting and 'disabling' ways, which severely restrict peoples lives and the opportunities available for all. In the case I am referring to here, we have a Hospital that is so concerned for the sensitivities of a very few that they have effectively 'Sacked' a popular Voluntary, Pastoral Care Worker
IT IS TIME TO TAKE BACK OUR COMMUNITIES AND ENCOURAGE THE TALENTS OF OUR CHILDREN - ENOUGH OF THE BUREAUCRATIC BULLSHIT I SAY :-)
Communities Do Matter - Have a Heart:
Ordinary People make Communities work:
Back To Basics - Drugs, Alcohol and Stuff:
By all accounts there are some drug concern that are simply Urban Myths, like 'Strawberry Quick', a flavoured Crystal Meth, allegedly being pushed in Schools in the UK. This kind of scam started in the USA in the 1970's.
These kinds of scams happen from time to time and can distract from the real drug problems. The myths are always base on a little bit of truth and it is always possible that some creep could produce something nasty on a small scale. They rarely just give stuff away though. Alcopops and Shots are the nearest real thing.
There are drugs that are made 'attractive', in this way, But drug pushers are usually greedy. They usually want something for what they give out. There is no such thing as a free hand-out in the world of drug & alcohol 'pushers'. There is always a well planned payoff for them.
Some myths are put about by drug users & pushers. Attempts to cloud the real issue, or to add some 'mythology'. Some pushers are just ‘sick’ and do not care who they supply to. Sometimes they will share out drugs to kids, for a laugh. Alcoholics like to find ‘drinking buddies’. It make them feel better. Drug users will often do the same kind of thing.
Like most myths, these can be used to highlight the issue that the myth raises. In that sense, they are worth discussing, if it means people will look out for these potential dangers. A bit like the Myth of Vampires and Werewolves can be used to warn kids to watch out for evil people, who could do the harm.
Drugs are a real problem and drugs are being 'pushed' onto kids and many people who are vulnerable (people with learning difficulties and mental health problems, etc.). The age is getting progressively younger and drugs can show up in junior schools (or just outside, at lunch times, in the toilets; just like smoking).
Kids are natural experimenter and are easily influenced, especially if it makes them feel ‘part of the gang’. Sometime they can even be ‘left out’ because they do not go along with their mates. Vulnerable adults are also at risk, wishing to be part of group and to be accepted.
Drugs are also used to lower resistance for obtaining sex, including with very young people, by people of a similar age and by much older people. Drugs and alcohol are also used to get people to part with their money and to get young people to do their bidding (including theft).
Sometimes the 'drugs' are mixed with anything that will have an ‘effect’. This makes ‘drugs’ very cheap and is usually convincing enough to someone who is not experienced in these things. Like the first time you get drunk, we convince ourselves we enjoyed ourselves, even though it felt awful. We often feel we have to be ‘up for it’.
Date rape drugs, Alco-pops, cider and vodka are popular dugs to misuse in this way, making the kids and other vulnerable people, feel more grown up for going along with those who ‘push’ them. The people who do this are despicable human beings and think they are being clever. They take advantage of kids affected in these ways.
They usually do not care about the ultimate effects they have on the person, sometimes for the rest of their lives. I know, because I have worked with people who end up with serious drug and drink problems as a result and others who have been raped and beaten up.
No one believes ‘it will happen to them’ and the ‘pushers’ often seem glamorous at the time (but they usually end up the same, or dead and forgotten). Of course, some people do get away with it much of the time, usually ‘sociopaths’ and ‘psychopaths’, who don’t give a damn about anyone and do well because they will step on anybody.
How do I know all this? I have mixed with them, befriended them and studied them at close hand. I have also worked with people with the very serious mental health problems that result from the over use of alcohol and use of most drugs forms of 'mind altering' drugs.
It is quite common for people to be diagnosed as having Schizophrenia. They are then introduced to some very serious drugs, ones that they often do not recover from (unless they meet someone like me). There is a lot of ignorance around drugs & mental health, even by professionals.
Combinations of drug, alcohol, physical and sexual abuse, deprivation and the trauma of miserable experiences (especially during adolescence) cause ‘psychosis'. This is recoverable from (when it is recognised). Unfortunately, drugs are often missed as a cause and the person is assumed to have a condition that requires treatment for life.
There are also serious mental health problems that are the result of all the consequences of rape and sexual abuse. Sometime young people even believe they have a ‘choice’ in this (they don’t – they have been hooked). Physical abuse, which often follows on from these early experiences, is also very common.
This drug sex and rock-and-roll con affect boy as well as girls. Drug pushers and perverts (often the same people) often do not care which sex people are. It is the fact they are young that turns them on. Unfortunately, once someone gets into this whole scene, it is very difficult to get out. Life looks good till it goes wrong.
Again, I know. I am often helping people break the habit, when they realise (years later) that the drugs and the abuse was what sent them 'mad', made them perpetual 'victims' of abuse and left them ‘dumped’ because they had served their use.
It becomes a convincing way of life. Some people do not survive it and are changed completely from the person they were, often becoming more like the people who ‘push’ the drugs on them. These people call themselves ‘pushers’. The name fits and they are usually proud of it.
I have one piece of advice, especially if you are ‘liberal’ in judging others. If you know of someone who has made a career out of pushing drugs and alcohol onto kids of any age; ‘Shop Them’, every time, using the confidential help line if necessary. Collect enough details and names and Shop them time after time.
Help make their lives a misery and you know what? You could be doing them (as the rest of us) a big favour. Drugs and alcohol usually alter our perceptions and remove the usual limitations on what we do to people (disinhibiting). Drug use is dangerous for everyone. Driving, taking risks, becoming victims of crime and abuse, etc.
Drug pushers (especially those further down the ‘Neanderthal’ chain) are actually quite ‘evil’. They would enjoy being identified in that way. It is not just that they do not care (bad enough) it is that they actually ‘enjoy’ causing suffering and doing harm to others.
They are about as sick as a human being can get; worse than murderers (which they often are also). I run a website that is designed to help people get out of the trap and also help them ‘identify’ the ‘abusive’ people in their lives. Some are everybody’s friend and live very ‘normal’ lives. The worst of them don’t look or sound like monsters (but they are).
If you think you are ‘trapped’ in this drugs, sex, rock-n-roll way, get some help. If you are having problems go to the website and we will try to point you to where you can get the right kind of help. If you know there is something wrong, then it is not too late. Best thing though, don’t get fooled and pulled in in the first place. www.visitweb.org/antiabuse/emergency.htm