LETTER:Mental health propaganda

Share
Related Topics
From Ms Marjorie Wallace and others

Sir: We are concerned about a fund-raising circular sent out by the mental health charity Mind to its supporters, including people suffering from mental illness and members of their families, which we believe could cause great distress and may encourage sufferers to stop their medication.

After a visit to the family doctor, many of us leave with a prescription. Tablets, medicines and lotions ... [the circular says]. But what if we died from the drugs prescribed? Unthinkable? For most of the population, yes. But for people diagnosed "severely mentally ill", the answer is not clear cut.

Mind paints a desperate picture of psychiatrists and other doctors wrongly prescribing drugs and of their terrible and sometimes lethal side-effects.

People become agitated, they grimace, chew and smack their lips. Some develop a shuffling walk, painful muscle spasms and low blood pressure ... the statistics tell us someone will die this week.

Imagine the effect of such propaganda, used as an emotive fund-raising exercise on worried families with a son or daughter recently diagnosed with schizophrenia being treated with anti-psychotics. Or the impact on a paranoid sufferer who, as a result, is convinced his psychiatrist is killing him.

We have just been told by a mother that her son, John, a manic depressive, is refusing his medication since reading the circular Mind sent him. Three years ago, his brother, who suffered schizophrenia, stopped taking his medication and became so ill that within weeks he killed himself.

We want to make it clear to those taking anti-psychotics that although these drugs (like many others) may have extremely unpleasant side-effects, they can be very effective, giving people a quality of life they might not otherwise have. The drugs are widely used and have a good safety record. There are no statistics of which we are aware that support the claims made by Mind. For a proportion of people, who would otherwise be at high risk of suicide, they are life-saving.

A campaign aimed at frightening these most vulnerable people from seeking help from their doctors, and encouraging them to give up admittedly still imperfect treatment, can only bring further heartbreak and suffering. The way forward is to research the cause or causes of severe mental illness and to find treatments that are more acceptable and efficacious.

Yours etc,

MARJORIE WALLACE, Chief Executive, Sane; Professor ROBERT BLUGLASS, Clinical Director, Reaside Clinic; Dr FIONA CALDICOTT, President, Royal College of Psychiatrists; Professor ANTHONY CLARE, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry; Professor MALCOLM LADER; Professor of Clinical Psychopharmacology; Professor CHRISTOPHER THOMPSON, Registrar, Royal College of Psychiatrists; Dr ANDRE TYLEE, Senior Mental Health Educational Fellow in General Practice; Dr MALCOLM WELLER, Chairman of the North Thames Regional Psychiatric Committee

London, NW1

9 June

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, Graduate, SQL, VBA)

£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...

Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Perl, Bash, SQL)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Per...

C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB6, WinForms)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...

C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Jihadist militants leading away captured Iraqi soldiers in Tikrit, Iraq, in June  

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Robert Fisk
India's philosopher, environmental activist, author and eco feminist Vandana Shiva arrives to give a press conference focused on genetically modified seeds on October 10, 2012  

Meet Vandana Shiva: The deserving heir to Mahatma Ghandi's legacy

Peter Popham
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home