Because justice is also at the heart of this,
Sometimes I think to myself that we really do not need to study the law to know
when our rights are being broken.
At the time of writing this I am just coming from an interview with STV about the
closure of Cairdeas cottage a drop in centre in inverness – by the end of this week
we will have appeared in almost all the local media and some of the national media
about this. In terms of our priorities this is a key area to campaign on, and it doesn’t
matter that the NHS may justify closure on grounds of cost or value, it matters that
some very, very, isolated people will no longer have a service , some people who
shrink from all forms of contact with the NHS will no longer have a safe and
welcoming place to gather and a community that has built itself and cared for its
members over the last two and half decades is going to be ripped apart.
This is something people who work in the field of policy and mental health
sometimes neglect to understand – the NHS is also the maker and breaker of
communities, in hospital wards, in community mental health teams, in drop in
centres, we grow together, we share together, we support each other, we learn from
each other. It is this everyday sense of family and belonging , these mini
communities where all the buzz words like recovery and resilience and peer support
have a huge resonance but are rarely vocalised, the places where the real stuff
happens, not for everyone by any means but for a large number of us.
It is those places where we are able to drop our public, smiley coping masks and
know we will be accepted and respected that can make such a difference to so
many people . So when the very communities that promote this; that get away from
the emphasis and concentration on the clinical, the goal orientated, the outcome
measures that are beloved of some and despaired about by many, when these
communities where compassion and support thrives are cut and abandoned
because we are not quick enough to recover or get into employment or learn our
d.b.t. skills, it is at these times that human rights loom large in my mind.
And I am reminded of the focus group we held on this subject and Simon from the
recovery network reflected on something we were saying . He said it could be good
for all of us to become more challenging and less accommodating.
It might be good when a life saving service creaks at the seams if, instead of saying
‘There is nothing we can do about this, it’s how life is nowadays’
We paused and questioned why we accept what happens to us.
Because on one level if we are to speak out and work to improve services we need
at the very least to look at all the people who are working in this area and try to
understand where they are coming from, sometimes that raw shriek of
‘ How dare you do this to us?’
Is all that is needed but at other times we need to think if we have little money what
is the best way to spend it, if we provide a service to ten people at great cost and
that means that 200 others get no service then we need to look around us, to use