Contact Neil on Facebook

‘Beat a mental’ in The Sun week

Well, it’s been a while, and it’s a sad return to my blog because I was hoping to have something to make you laugh.  Instead, after fuming at the headlines in The Sun recently, I felt the need to balance out some facts that could mislead the general views of the public who have never had any dealings with mental heath issues.  So here we go…

As I’ve mentioned before, I had my beating some years ago, when I strayed onto an airbase used by the Queen during a high episode of my disorder. Thank God I was just ill and not a terrorist!

Did anyone in charge assess the problem? Well yes, but I feel they could’ve done a better job. Was I armed in any sort of way? No. Was I outnumbered 12 to 1? Easily. Did a young guard point a loaded Lee Enfield rifle (effective range 550 yards) at me the whole time? Yes. And was it necessary to handcuff me? Yes. What was totally unnecessary was the beating that followed, after I was ‘placed’ face down in the dirt!

A dozen or more Military Policemen saw fit to punch my body all the way up to my neck, but not my head, starting with my calves. Then they moved on to my upper legs, my backside, and all over my back up to my shoulders and my arms. This PR operation was led by one cheery little sole who shouted, “Go on, do it again, he won’t feel it he’s mad.” I’ve never forgotten the experience. Did this story hit the national press? No. Why? I hadn’t killed anyone, so the story wouldn’t have sold any extra copies! Now that does suck.

Now – The Sun said on Monday the 7th of October that 1,200 people have been killed by ‘mental patients’ and the sub-heading mentioned; the supposed death toll was over a ten year period. The double-page spread featured the faces of dead victims and the words ‘broken people – broken system’.

Well thanks for that dear Sun journalists, thanks for such a sweeping statement! So that’s ALL mental health patients have the capacity to kill? What even the bulimic, the OCD and the depressive patients? How about the binge eaters and the people coping with autism, and let’s not forget all those murdering Alzheimer sufferers?

Two elements of the Sun’s article that could be misleading are: it has added together ‘mental patients’ (people who have ‘been in contact with mental health services in the 12 months prior to the offence’) and ‘individuals who had symptoms of mental illness’. As the researchers make clear, with this group, ‘although symptoms were present, we don’t know if these symptoms led directly to the homicide’.

In addition, ‘most of these people were not under mental health care; therefore most homicides were not preventable by mental health services’. If you look only at murders committed by ‘patients’, the total for the decade is reduced from 1,216 to 738.  I’m not saying that this excuses the people who committed these crimes but at least get your facts right!

It’s 2013 and I and many others are living in a world where a survey of 1,741 people carried out by the NHS had this to say about what they thought about mental health.

1 in 5 said ‘anyone with a history of mental problems should be excluded from taking public office’. 1 in 10 said ‘it’s frightening to think of people with mental problems living in residential neighbourhoods’. 1 in 10 said ‘A woman would be foolish to marry a man who has suffered from mental illness, even though he seems fully recovered’. And that my friends – is what we are up against…


Powered by Facebook Comments

Comments are closed.