This brief post is inform followers of this network that the CMHNN have asked to be included as signatories to an open letter, written to the BBC by clinical psychologist Peter Kinderman.
The Story so far…
The BBC has been running as series of programmes about mental health in recent weeks. These have included a programme about suicide, about psychosis and childbirth, and a high-profile outing for Stephen Fry, in The Not So Secret Life of the Manic Depressive 10 years on. This programme prompted long-term critic of psychiatry Professor Richard Bentall to write a friendly but firm open letter to Fry, suggesting reasons he might wish to present a more balanced view to the public.
It is a good letter – of that there is no doubt – and a moving one. The Critical Mental Health Nurses’ Network was particularly pleased that it placed some emphasis on service-user/survivor knowledge (through citing the Hearing Voices Movement and Eleanor Longden) and on societal factors of poverty, urbanisation, poor environment, poor working opportunities and conditions and inequality more generally. So far, mental heath nurses are invisible in this debate.
The Story continues…
Peter Kinderman is another professor of psychology, and also works at Liverpool University. He has been a significant part of some seismic shifts in the British Psychological Society in recent years. He has written a parallel open letter, which, instead of being directed at Fry, is addressed to the BBC. The letter revisits similar material (we were pleased to see the specific inclusion of migration). This letter is demanding programming of a more balanced nature and Kinderman is looking for signatories from individuals and organisations. It is our opinion that this is uncontroversially a good request to support, and would encourage interested nurses to email Kinderman, as he suggests (see letter for details), to add their names to the growing list.
Further to these letters, if anyone wishes to read more about this BBC season on mental health, we suggest Gary Sidley’s half-time analysis.