Inner space for womenâ€™s mental health and well-being
me? hear Can
...how minority ethnic women are finding a voice
a special programme gives hope
Giving your all
the emotional impact of being a carer
Art is smart
discover your inner freedom of expression
Can you hear me?
BME women have their say
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ce, and diverse audien suffer or have ed at women who m ai is , ey rr Su r fo every woman who magazine d illness, and for Sanctuary, a new an ss e re st di l na io d emot provide a safe spac suffered mental an eing. We want to llb e we th d an nd th ou al ar he larly ental periences, particu cares about her m scuss and share ex di llbeing. Why e, we l or ta pl en ex m to r en ou for wom that impact on ts en ev e lif d an underlying causes include: women than men; women? Reasons more common in ; rty ve po d ce; experienced by an n u Social isolatio and sexual violen e us ab tic es m do al abuse, u Childhood sexu men; e times more than re tly on women; th er ov women impact significan s ge an ch e juggle work tiv uc prod e, but most have to rc fo u Hormonal and re rk wo e th to ajor contributor u Women are a m ented in mental sibilities; ps are over repres ou with caring respon gr ic hn et ity or k and min u Women from blac services; n will be the second iso pr health and men and by 2020 wo in on m m co ice as u Depression is tw global disability; of e us ca leading ea ments of as divers the views and com to s and s or or ut do rib its nt co en k of readers, or tw Sanctuary will op ne a g in ild who want to possible, bu mental ill health, of e group of women as nc rie l pe ex al w women’s menta with person that challenges ho supporters, many ng hi a et e m so ak m of k, rt brea d be a pa u please, to take a have their say an ed. So we invite yo Sanctuary! at ur tre yo d an joy d en we d vie health is your feet up an t pu !), er ev at wh a, coffee (or herbal te Keely, Lin am; Sally, Diane, te l ria ito ed y ar of the Sanctu Megan, on behalf
Art is smart
Giving your all
Get the creative juices flowing
A carer’s perspective
Couns elling or complementary
The 1st Steps guide to services/support
which therapy is for you?
Changing mind sets
Use your common!
The domestic abuse programme that targets the perpetrator and victim
Nutrition can be basic common sense
Doing time is the crime
What is it?
A-Z of Mind Matters
the low down on high fashion finds
A dictionary of mental health
How to contact us
Why women, not men? Sanctuary
is produced by a women’s organisation, for women. But we believe men should also have access to a full range of support for their mental health needs and we welcome constructive comments from any men who would like to contribute.
“Abuse is abuse, isn’t it? Physical is worse than mental, but if you are mentally upset life is hell. So life is hell.” South Asian woman
an Cyou Women across the board find it hard to have a ‘voice’ in mental health services, to be heard as an individual or a group. For black and minority ethnic women, it’s even tougher. Language, culture, racism all contribute to misunderstanding and downright discrimination. However, what was once a dedicated few, fighting to raise awareness and improve treatment, from patients themselves to a growing number of politicians and health ‘gurus’, there is progress in hearing, above a whisper, what BME women have to say.
In this issue
, we look at how a project in North Kent helped Asian women to speak about the emotional pain they suffer as victims of domestic abuse. ‘Oppressed Voices’ is the report that came from the Sahayak project, part of mental health charity Rethink. Using questionnaire surveys, interviews and a focus group, researchers wanted to understand the effects of domestic abuse on the mental health of these South Asian women. Of 60 women targeted, 55% had directly experienced domestic abuse and 73% felt that the ‘sharam’ (bringing shame on the family) would prevent women seeking help; in other words it was something that had to be endured as part of ‘izzat’ (honour and respect) that is the woman’s responsibility to uphold and maintain. It was clear that isolation, fear and community dependence also impacted on women’s ability to complain, within and certainly beyond, family and friends. 79% of the women were in arranged marriages and alongside the stereo-typical perception of the husband being the main perpetrator, some mothers-in-law also displayed abusive behaviour. 68% believed that domestic abuse was a big problem in Asian households. Mental health problems were inevitable. Women identified feelings of anxiety, depression, loss of selfconfidence, “Men are taught (in Asian society) that they difficulties are better than women therefore problems in eating and sleeping and occur and women can’t speak for sake of saving feeling scared or family disgrace.” South Asian woman fearful. Many had suicidal thoughts and a few had made a suicide attempt. All of the women in the study who experienced domestic abuse said that as a consequence they lived with depression and emotional pain. Lack of information, immigration processes and women’s rights, plus traditional concepts such as sharam and izzat made it hugely difficult if not impossible for women to seek help. As a result of the project, stronger links have been made within the community and recommendations made at a local and national level, as part of the five year plan, Delivering Race Equality in Mental Health. To read more, visit www.rethink.org/oppressedvoices
is rt Asmart 6
Whenever illness is associated with loss of soul, the Arts emerge spontaneously as remedies; soul medicine. (Shaun McNaff)
suffers a mental illness, it might indeed feel like they have lost their soul. Art as therapy can help people reach into their deep selves and find ways of releasing their innermost feelings and perhaps recapture the soul, and even make it soar. Talented artists have emerged in this way; ironically liberating their creativity through paralysing mental distress. At Art Matters in east Surrey, clients find a variety of ways to stretch their imagination and find solace and comfort in imagery such as sand mandalas - mandala means circle or centre;
land art shapes made from granite stones; ‘sculptures’ of bottle tops; paintings and crafts. You can find out more about Art Matters by visiting their web site (designed by clients using the service) at www.artmatters.nhs.uk “There’s a beauty that is free to grow, an expression that can be extended, a space that is fun, safe and good to be in, that’s art therapy”. “I’m interested to see how my mind works - that part of my mind I’m not conscious of.” (Quotes from Vicky Barber. Visit her website at www.vickyb.demon.co.uk)
One woman’s story of the emotional toll it takes, caring for someone who is mentally ill
find the nearest to you at www.citizensadvice.org.uk
Tel. 0808 808 7777 Wed & Thurs.
10-12 & 2-4 www.carersuk.org
East Surrey, 01883 714641;
www.direct.gov.uk/carers provides a single point of access to government
West Surrey, 01252 313323
information and services including Carers’ Allowance, carers’
assessments and other support.
East Surrey, 01737 231655;
Rethink (charity to help those affected by severe mental illness)
West Surrey, 01483 457817
28 Castle Street, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 1SS
Princess Royal Trust for Carers 142 Minories, London EC3N 1LB Tel. 020 7450 7758 www.carers.org
Telephone: 0208 974 6814 Mon, Wed & Friday 10am – 3 pm. Tues & Thurs 10am – 1 pm www.rethink.org
Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Trust www.sabp.nhs.uk/carers
20-15 Glasshouse Yard, London EC1A 4JT
Surrey County Council
Tel. 020 7490 8818
It’s not easy
suffering from a mental illness and it’s not easy being the carer for that person. Mine is just one example but there are lots of carers out there trying to do their best but sometimes feeling very isolated, especially when little help seems forthcoming and they have to make a fuss to make things happen. My husband suffered from a depressive illness brought on in part from the time, and the way in which, he lost his job. This was exacerbated by a family bereavement and by moving house – something he initiated but got cold feet about at the last minute which I dismissed as he’d had misgivings about things before that had gone on to turn out all right. We didn’t move far but it was far enough for him to feel cut off from familiar things and people and he cut himself off further by becoming more reclusive. I was still working so disappeared for the day which was a lifeline for me but difficult for him. Our social life fell away – we’d be going to friends and he’d duck out at the last minute or would get into a panic if people were coming to us. We gradually stopped going away for holidays and breaks. And so it went on, the GP prescribed medication, he had counselling, saw a psychiatrist, a CPN visited, there were even hospital admissions but nothing could lift the depression. You’d take a step forward and then something would happen and back you’d go. I reduced my hours to part time and
then took early retirement but you lose your identity when you’re subsumed into caring. Your needs take second place – if you say you’re tired/fed up/low, you tend to be told how much more tired/fed up/low the other person is. If you weep, instead of comfort you get guilt. It’s hard to keep going when to the other person the glass is always half empty and they keep looking back at all those “what if” moments and things that can’t be changed. Then my husband developed a form of cancer. Bad enough for anyone but especially so for someone with a depressive illness and, says she, not easy for his carer either. For example, when should I tell him that we had to go back to the hospital for another marathon wait to see the consultant or for another treatment so he didn’t have too much time to get anxious about it but had enough time to prepare. But he coped pretty well and for a time when the chemotherapy was finally over, it looked as though things were looking brighter. Alas, they weren’t. New health problems occurred and I bounced between one health professional and another trying to get to the bottom of it but each focused on their particular area of expertise while I wondered how long I could go on coping. And then he died very suddenly and you’re alone and left wondering if you did enough.
So, how do you keep going? • recognise that you have to be selfish – someone is dependent on you so you have to look after yourself as well as you’re no good to them if you
have crumbled. • work with your GP – we went to a practice which allowed you to see any of the doctors. We settled on one who suited us well and that made a big difference, especially in the support she gave to me. • get a Carer’s Assessment if you haven’t already done so (obtainable from local social services department for those providing “a regular and substantial” amount of care for someone aged 18 and over). • make sure you/the person you are caring for is getting all the benefits to which you/they are entitled. Get help with the forms so that your case is properly presented. • see if there is someone who can come in even for an hour or two a week to let you out for some time to yourself • hang on to those friends/family who understand and take up any offers of help that are going. • contact carers’ organisations including online chatrooms. Through one noticeboard, I developed an email friendship with a carer in much the same situation as my own and it was good to “sound off” and share experiences. • have an emergency plan – have contact numbers for help just in case something happens to you. • don’t feel guilty about the range of feelings you will experience – a recent report by the Princess Royal Trust for Carers shows that common feelings are stress, frustration, depression, anger, feeling overwhelmed and taken for granted and over half of carers (51%) across the UK have apparently felt like walking away from their caring responsibilities. Nearly half said they felt they never had a choice to take up the caring role and many recognise that there has been a change in their relationship and experience feelings ranging from anger to sadness about the loss of the previous relationship they had with the person they now care for. This is but one example of caring – please share with us your experiences too especially what you have found that is helpful. See back cover for contact details.
One of the most
Sanctuary is compiling a directory of mental health and related services and support for women in Surrey. And we need your help! Tell us about anything – a scheme, a group, a service – that has helped you.
First Steps leads the way The first port of call is invariably your GP. Many surgeries now have primary care mental health teams too; they are listed below.
Here’s what they list, and to get the full booklet, or direct advice, contact 0808 801 0325, Tuesday and Wednesdays between 12-4pm and Thursdays between 2-6pm. Or go to www.firststeps-surrrey.nhs.uk to find out more – and by the way, their website was designed by a woman mental health patient! First Steps also welcome calls from friends, relatives and carers.
The First Steps booklet gives short and to the point helpful information on a range of areas; mental health problems, useful self help tips, where to get help locally and nationally and crisis numbers.
Redhill Counselling Centre, 01737 772844. Negotiable rates RELATE, relationship counselling, 0845 4561310 www.relate.org.uk, for a local branch. A fee is charged for appointments. Relateen, Epsom (part of RELATE but for young people disturbed/worried about parent’s relationship problems) 01372 722976
No Panic, 0808 808 0545. www.nopanic.org.uk; National Phobics Society, 0870 7700 456 www.phobics-society.org.uk; First Steps to Freedom, 0845 120 2916 www.first-steps.org
Rethink, 020 8974 6814 www.rethink.org
Primary Care Mental Health Teams (PCMHTs), for long term and complex mental health needs and for referral to specialist services such as Crisis Assessment & Treatment Team, Eating Disorders service, Continuing Needs services. Open Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm East Elmbridge PCMHT – 020 8873 4300 Epsom, Ewell & Banstead PCMHT – 01372 204000 Mole Valley PCMHT – 01306 502400 Redhill PCMHT – 01737 272301 Tandridge PCMHT – 01883 385481 Early Intervention in Psychosis, 01372 206262. For 14 – 35 year olds who have had a first episode of psychosis within recent years. Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Trust, for mental health and learning disabilities services - 01883 383838 MIND, national organisation for mental health with local branches – www.mind.org.uk Infoline 0845 766 0163. Mind produce booklets on various mental health issues and campaign for better services Mental Health Foundation, national organisation for information, campaigns, news, interaction; www.mentalhealth.org.uk
Bereavement and loss
Post natal depression
Community Mental Health Teams (CMHTs);
Alcohol and drugs 10
important things for anyone suffering mental distress is advice and information. First Steps is an NHS led service that helps people make the best choices for themselves by offering free and confidential support by trained mental health advisers. They can help you with choosing services, organisations and resources, finding the right self help materials including their own booklets on a variety of subjects and through self help clinics, attending an Emotion Gym or finding a Citizen’s Advice Bureau that can help with such things as debt problems and benefits advice.
Drinkline, 0800 917 8282 Al-Anon, support for family and friends of alcoholics, find a local group 020 7403 0888. Alcoholics Anonymous, find a local group – 0207 352 3001 Drugscope, for information, www.drugscope.org.uk Frank (for young people and parents) www.talktofrank.com Surrey Drug & Alcohol Action Team – for local services, www.surreydat.org.uk
British Association of Anger Management, 0845 1300 286 www.angermanage.co.uk
Cruse 08701671677 www.crusebereavementcare.org.uk
(but please note, waiting times can be long) British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy, 0870 443 5252 www.bacp.co.uk (for details of local practitioners) Heads Together (young people 14-25) 01737 378481. No fees Croydon Pastoral Foundation, 020 8760 0665. Negotiable rates according to means North Surrey Community Counselling Partnership, 01932 244070 www.nsccp.co.uk A sliding scale fee basis operates (up to £40.00 per session) Pathways Counselling Centre, Epsom, 01372 743338. Professional counselling, normal rates apply
Depression Alliance, 0845 123 2320 www.depressionalliance.org
East Surrey Domestic Violence Forum, 01737 771350 www.esdvf.org.uk
Eating disorders; anorexia, bulimia Eating Disorders Associations, 0845 634 1414 www.eduk.com
Association for Postnatal Illness, 0207 3860 868. www.apni.org
Samaritans, 08457 909090 www.samaritans.org.uk Sane Line (12noon – 2am daily) 08457 678000. National out of hours helpline for anyone coping with mental illness – sufferers, carers, relatives or friends. Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Trust, 01737 778142 (24hrs)
Spelthorne CMHT 01784 440204 West Elmbridge CMHT 01932 876601 Runneymede CMHT 01932 723392 Woking CMHT 01483 756318 Hollies CMHT 01252 312788 (8.30-5.30 Mon -Fri) Surrey Heath CMHT 01276 671102 Guildford CMHT 01483 443551 Waverley CMHT 01483 517200 Godalming CMHT 01483 415155 Haslemere CMHT 01483 783090 Farnham CMHT 01483 782095 Conifers CMHT - Cove, Fleet & Yateley Area Briarwood, Sorrell Close, Broadhurst, Cove, Farnborough Hampshire, GU15 9XW (9.00-5.00 Mon-Fri)
psychoanalytical, neuro-linguistic, counselling, cognitive behavioural, Gestalt, existential, reiki, crystals, Indian head massage, Thai foot massage; these, and some, are examples of talking and complementary therapies. But how do you know what is right for you and if you did, could you get it anyway? At the top of lists from various surveys done to find out what women want to help their mental health, is counselling. Counselling is recognised by patients and clinicians alike as a simple, effective intervention – if not to cure, at least to support and help someone build self esteem, self help and to delve a little – or a lot – into what may have brought about, or contributed to her mental vulnerability. Yet where is the money to fund this simple help ‘tool’? Counselling, generally, is so difficult to ‘measure’ - i.e. does it work - the people holding the health purse-strings are reluctant to put money into it. They are reluctant to put money into anything they can’t ‘measure’ for evidence of efficacy. There was a young man talking at a conference recently. He has set up a mental health organisation following his own break down. He suggested the health and social care people like to “masturbate over stats and randomised trials”! Rather graphic language but everyone got the point! And to a degree he was right. But equally, we need some way of knowing if something works. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is one model that is pressing the right ‘tick box’ buttons. It works like this: you have 6 – 12 sessions with a therapist and you look at how you can plan a way of self help. Patient and therapist work together, almost as scientists looking at a problem and researching and finding a solution. Once a plan has been created, it will be assessed by both for its effectiveness. CBT is attractive to the health service because it is short term, therefore more people can be seen, and its results can be seen also; people get better, or get to know what they can do to help themselves stay stable and out of crisis. We do however, need to look longer term; has the initial success continued for the individual? If not, why not? Some of you reading this may think ‘that’s not for me, how can I ‘analyse’ my mental distress and come up with some plan to control it’? And some may be thinking, ‘mmm, wouldn’t mind giving that a go’. There are some indications that CBT may not suit many women. When you consider that the underlying causes of women’s mental ill health and distress are less to do with a specific illness and often more to do with life events such as childhood sexual, physical or emotional abuse, domestic abuse, sexual violence, where a women lives, her status in the community, if she suffers poverty,
Counselling or complementary;
which therapy is for you? whether she is a full time carer of children or others – the list goes on – it is arguable that a daily ‘thought diary’ strategy can meet all her needs. Painting over the cracks springs to mind. There is a time in some individuals’ lives where only deep down and personal delving into the psyche helps towards some or total freedom. One area of therapy is gaining more and more credibility and showing how offering people a little ‘pampering’ can greatly enhance their sense of well-being. Complementary therapies are finding their way into mainstream health and social care and support. As with talking therapies, the different approaches in complementary therapies have different appeal. An Indian head massage sounds fabulous, but it’s quite rigorous and wouldn’t suit everyone. Reflexology? As long as you can bear your feet being touched! And crystals: some believe this form of therapy is ‘new age’. In fact its origins are in ancient times. Used in Atlantis, and perhaps more palatable for some, Egypt, crystal healing was known for the simple way it balanced the body’s energy system. Whether you take on board the ‘science’ of it, there is no doubt that it can be deeply relaxing and de-stressing. Lie back and let the moment waft over you. Whichever therapy you would like to try, the most important aspect of it is what is known as the therapeutic alliance. It is the relationship you have with your therapist that makes the greatest difference to your treatment. This is no ‘me doctor, you patient’ scenario, this is an equal partnership. In counselling the therapeutic alliance is the most significant factor in the work, whether it be psychoanalytic or cognitive behavioural. In complementary therapies, the same principle can apply. If you didn’t like the person giving you, what is after all quite intimate attention, you’d probably think twice about going again! Building trust is essential. At Sanctuary we want to see more talking and complementary therapies available to women with mild or enduring mental ill health. Join our club! Send your details to us and we will invite you to a special Sanctuary women’s well-being day to be held soon. See where to send your details on the back cover.
hanging mind sets
Pat Craven tells Sanctuary how a programme for perpetrator and victim of domestic abuse is setting women free
“ I will begin
by offering a short history of the Freedom programme, as it is known. Between 1986 and 1996 I worked as a Probation Officer. During that time I worked with hundreds of violent men. For some of that time I was a parole officer. Some of these men had committed murder and were released into the community under a provision known then as “Life Licence”. Most of the murderers I met were men who had killed their female partners or former partners. I also acted as chairwoman to the management committee of the local women’s Refuge and worked in the Refuge itself during that decade. “During those years I believed I had some understanding about domestic violence. I now know how wrong I was! In 1996 I went to work on the Probation Service Programme for male perpetrators of violence against women. For two years I sat with groups of men who had assaulted, raped and even killed women. I listened to these men and I began to realise several things. To my horror I recognised that I had unwittingly colluded with every abusive man I had ever met! “I also began to understand that no one else who worked in my field seemed to have the information that I was getting from working with these men. The third thing I learned was that there is a very common misapprehension that a woman who has been abused has some understanding of what has happened to her. This is simply not true. When a woman is being subjected to abuse she feels that she is in the middle of a very confusing mess and that it must be somehow her fault. “These revelations had a profound effect on me. It was like being possessed! I was a fifty-year-old supposedly experienced Probation Officer. I now realised that I had been living in a world of illusion. I became determined to get this information to other professionals and most of all, to the women experiencing domestic abuse. “I ran my first Freedom Programme for women in 1999. It was basically a copy of the perpetrators’ programme. I ran it for women who were on probation for committing offences that I could now see were a result of being subjected to abuse. I needed crèche facilities so I teamed up with a Social Services family centre and opened the programmes to any woman who wished to attend. “At the time of writing there are over one hundred women’s programmes in the UK. It is also in four women’s prisons and in schools. “In 2002 I left the Probation Service to become a self-employed trainer. When I
left I gave a sigh of relief at not having to work with abusive men any more. Wrong! Within weeks I received a request from a District Judge to provide a Freedom Programme for men. Soon I was back in the business of working with men. “I am writing this in 2006 and the men’s programmes have been a great success. I judge that about sixty percent of the men who complete the programmes are changed. I also have reports from their female partners or former partners and from social workers and health professionals. The ideal situation is that the woman attends the Freedom Programme for women while the man is on the men’s programme. This gives the women the knowledge they need to protect themselves and their children even if he does not change his behaviour. Wrexham Probation and Social Services have recently evaluated the men’s Freedom Programme. The evaluation is very positive and can be downloaded from my web site. Programmes for both men and women have been accredited with the Open College Network. “During the last few years I have moved away from the concept of calling the men who attend my programmes “perpetrators”. Instead I now present it as an awareness-raising course for any man who is interested. This allows the programmes to be used in schools and to be part of a broader learning experience such as an open college network. Male victims can also attend, as I do not allow the students to discuss their personal situations. I have found the course to be most effective when run over two days. That way men can attend from all over the UK. I provide students who complete the course with certificates. The men’s programme is also currently being run in Swansea Prison. “I now provide a facility for professionals to buy a licence to provide training. I list officially licensed trainers on my web site. I have also written a book called ‘Living with the Dominator’ which I sell direct to the public. All the information contained in this book has been gained from the hundreds of men and women with whom I have worked over the last ten years.”
o find out more, visit Pat’s web site; www.freedomprogramme.co.uk or write to her at; PO Box 140 Wallasey CH44 8WE Pat has also written a book, entitled ‘Living with the Dominator’ – review in next issue If you are affected by domestic abuse, contact East Surrey Domestic Violence Forum on 01737 771350 or www.womensaid.org.uk
ive today? L Tomorrow we diet ?
At the beginning of 2007 every magazine and newspaper told us we should detox, diet, get fit, discover our inner being. Just who is kidding who? Whilst there are those among us who slavishly follow the ‘experts’ advice, there are a number of us who refuse to be taken in by this new diet or that ‘revolutionary’ mind, body and spirit exercise. In fact we find it mind, body and spirit numbing! Yet we still worry about our weight and health. What to do? Maybe if we can let common sense prevail, we can ‘unpick’ what the new year aficionados – er, excuse me, many like to be known as ‘body doctors’ – of wellness tell us. For instance, a recently published book called The Good Mood Diet is a new twist on the ‘we are what we eat’ message. It tells us to eat vegetables and fruit, a little protein, and ‘measured’ amounts of carbohydrate each day to boost levels of serotonin and promote ‘a sense of calmness, wellbeing and satisfaction’, as one critic put it. It offers a 12 week plan, and well, comes back to basics really; common sense eating. Starchy carbohydrates – bread, potatoes, sweetcorn – raise levels of serotonin but one of the biggest enemies of the constant dieter is the restriction of or total
abstinence from such food. You simply end up craving them. But if the craving is your body’s way of telling you that you need to raise the serotonin levels, perhaps it isn’t so bad to give in to such cravings. Our parents/grandparents didn’t have the luxury of the supermarket’s food extravaganza. Think about it; the butcher, the baker (bypass the candle-stick maker), the general grocer and the green grocer. These were the staples in people’s lives. Rationing during and after the war brought many challenges; one week’s allowance included 4oz bacon and ham, meat to the value of one shilling and two pence (about 6p today). Sausages were not rationed but difficult to get; 2oz cheese, but this could vary, 4oz margarine, 2oz butter, 3 pints of milk – this varied too, 8oz sugar, 1lb jam every two months, 2oz tea, one fresh egg per week if available, or a packet of dried egg every two weeks and 12oz sweets every four weeks. Kids had a good dollop of ‘Virol’ malt and cod liver oil to boost vitamin intake. So perhaps rather than trying to follow a diet you know will fail, why not go back to basics and good common sense eating? Potatoes, bread, vegetables, fish, a little meat, a taste of cheese and eggs and of course a chocolate or two; what could be simpler? The only rule is – moderation. Aah, there’s the rub!
Whatever happened to common sense eating?
y r a u t c n a S
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a tales fromlity) (personaed mind disorder
Websites to visit:
r e d r o B Lines
At the time
of going to press there were 4,414 women in prison. If campaigners are to be believed the majority of them shouldn’t be there. And in this case, the statistics support that view: 70% of women prisoners have mental health problems; 37% have attempted suicide (two women succeeded just recently); 20% have been in the care system as children and at least 50% are victims of childhood or domestic abuse. The accepted truth is that prison is often a very expensive way of making bad situations even worse. As a result of imprisonment nearly 40% of women lose their homes; 65% re-offend. The cost of keeping a woman in prison is between £25,000 and £45,000 per year and with the most common offences being theft and handling stolen goods (9 out of 10 crimes are non violent and 41% are drug offences) you might think there could be better ways all round of reducing the number of women offenders which went up by 173% in the decade to 2004. The campaigners such as Women in Prison, and SmartJustice for women from where the above stats come, know that prison does not work for women and that the best way to cut offending is to deal with the root causes. The founder of Women in Prison and former prisoner herself, Chris Tchaikovsky says on the website: “Taking the most hurt people out of society and punishing them in order to teach them how to live in society is, at best, futile. Whatever else a prisoner knows, she knows everything there is to know about punishment because that is exactly what she has grown up with. Whether it is childhood sexual abuse, indifference, neglect; punishment is most familiar to her.” Sanctuary is being distributed in the women’s prisons in Surrey, and we want to hear women’s stories from the ‘Inside’. We also want to know what would help on the ‘Outside’; a women’s group for instance or being able to access our women’s wellbeing days. Let us know, and maybe we can start up our very own women in Surrey prisons campaign. Contact details on back cover.
“Acknowledging and addressing the problems in the lives of (women) offenders will ultimately help to reduce crime more effectively” (One Hundred Women; research document from Women in Prison organisation)
Serendipity comes from a fairy tale called The Princes of Serendipity in which the heroes were always making fortunate discoveries. Hence it is called serendipity when you find a bargain for instance, or when something happens by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
Megan gives you the low down on high fashion finds
your dress – it’s goorrgeous! It’s Chanel, no? And your shoes – heavenly. Jimmy Choo?”
“Er, no. Dress, Etams. Shoes, Dolcis.” The ‘darling’ was a very camp fashion editor called Bertie, and the Etam’s dress (a little black jersey number) wearer was me. It was one of those sumptuous moments when I worked for Vogue magazine as a writer, that I felt I upstaged my colleagues who pretty much wore the latest designer labels all the time. I had seen a dress that had style, was well made and fitted perfectly and was probably a 10th or more of the price. Serendipity! We all like a bargain and most of us like clothes that make us feel good about ourselves – from comfortable and practical to a little bit glam and sassy. I didn’t have the private income of most of my Vogue colleagues, so I developed a ‘serendipitous eye’. And you can too. First rule; don’t go out looking for something specific. Chances are if you set off with something in mind, you won’t find it. If you have to find something specific, like an ‘ensemble for a ‘do’, don’t leave it until the last minute. All that will happen is your blood
pressure will go up, you’ll be frustrated, indecisive and quite probably teary eyed by the end of it all. Shopping ‘serendipitously’ means happening upon something good, quite by chance; you can’t plan it. Second rule; charity shops! The local retailers who have to pay business rates way above anything charity shops pay, may not agree, but charity shops are ‘de rigeur; the fashion house of serendipity shopping. Third rule; try not to buy when you are feeling really down (Oh, you may say, when am I not feeling down?! But hopefully for you, some days are nearer to diamonds than to stones). The reason for this is fairly obvious. You’ll most likely spend too much, buy too much and pretty much hate everything when you get it home. And worst of all, you’ll hate you. Wrong shape, too thin, too fat, too tall, too small – you know how it goes. People talk about retail therapy. But those people are more likely to be just a bit fed up; a far cry from painful and enduring mental ill health. So, armed with those three rules, set forth and discover the art of serendipity. Serendipity doo dah to you!
of mind matters If we were to try and list everything in the alphabet to do with the mind and mental health, we’d be here some time, so here’s the pick of A – C.
Antisocial personality disorder; people with this
diagnosis tend to have a lack of regard for moral or legal standards, a marked inability to get along with others or abide by societal rules. The words we are more used to, to describe them are psychopath or sociopath. (Many great leaders have psychopathic tendencies) To find out more visit www.focusas.com/PersonalityDisorders Anxiety; everybody experiences it However, for one in ten people in the UK, anxiety interferes with normal life. It is often associated with other psychiatric conditions, such as depression, personality disorder, alcohol misuse or withdrawal from long term use of tranquillisers (Valium). These are anxiety disorders. Physical symptoms such as abdominal discomfort, shortness of breath, dizziness, go alongside psychological symptoms; insomnia, anger, fear of madness, feeling unreal. Find out more on the internet – just ‘Google’ anxiety, or visit your local library. Addictions; it is a fact that some people tend towards an addictive nature, more than others. But addictions to alcohol or drugs are usually the result of life events, such as childhood neglect or abuse. Anything we feel we can’t live without, or have to have a ‘fix’ of, might be classed as an addiction. The problems occur when that ‘addiction’ is particularly or potentially damaging to our bodies and minds. If you are concerned about anything, speak to your GP in the first instance. Don’t forget, prescription drugs can be addictive too. Adler, Alfred 1870-1937; Viennese doctor who made the connection between physical symptoms as a sign of mental distress. He was arguably the first person to recognise that people needed to be treated ‘holistically’, the whole person. ‘Adlerians’, people who follow his philosophy and practice, consider we are all creative, responsible, self-determined and unique. Avoidant personality disorder; signs of this PD include marked social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, being extremely sensitive to criticism
b c Borderline personality disorder; people may experience a lack
of personal identity, rapid mood changes, unstable personal relationships, they may be impulsive and feel unstable about their self image Bowlby, John; creator of the Attachment Theory, where all we are and how we function is dependent on how we bonded and were nurtured by our mothers, or key guardian. If we experience loss – either literally, or because our mothers were not ‘available’ to us – as a baby and in early childhood, the emotional ‘pattern’ is set that persists into adulthood.
Care Programme Approach;
every person who is referred to mental health services should have, and certainly has the right to have a Care Plan. The Care Programme Approach (CPA) is the format and process that takes place. Each individual has an assessment to find out what treatment and support is best for her or him. If you haven’t got one, ask your mental health care coordinator why not!
More mind matters next issue – April/May
team at: e editorial Contact th ouse Langley H e an L h rc Chu H ey RH8 9L Oxted, Surr 19 39 T. 01883 38 03 47 uk M. 07824 36 anadoo.co. eganaspel.w megan@m
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In this thought-provoking issue we discuss what it's actually like to be a carer; we take a look at the mindful practice of creating sand ma...