An open letter to every human MP

Dear those whom it may concern,

In recent days (today being the 19th of November 2006), the proposals for the Mental Health Act reform have been released. As someone who has first-hand experience with mental health (along with the 1 in 4 other people in the same boat) – I felt compelled to respond to the plans set out in the proposals. I write this with no chip on my shoulder, nor grudge against “the system”. These are honest, heart-felt opinions which I hope will appeal to the human and emotional side within those that have a say in the new bill.

I just said “those that have a say in the new bill”. In a democracy – this should be the entire population. In a democracy, equality prevails over all else. But the point is, mental health patients are generally treated less humainly than violent criminals whose past 25 years have consisted of 4 brick walls. I may be angry at this, I may feel targetted – but in fact I do not blame “the system”. The system is built by human beings to help other human beings, and as humans our entire experience of life is built on a survival system that cares for only it’s self and those it depends on to survive. That is simply a fact of life.

This open letter is not an attack on the British National Health Service – but an appeal to those who run it to stop and think. From one person to another – I beg you to look inside yourself, and ask if you truly believe that the new conditions set out in the proposals support those that need the support and advance our understanding of mental health issues.

I am a young adult diagnosed with Schizophrenia at the age of 15. I’ve been shipped to the Priory North London, the local Calnwood Court psychiatric ward of Luton & Dunstable Hospital, and I’ve been in the care of an Early Intervention Service as an out-patient.

Every one of those three services or hospitals has helped me tremendously to lead a normal life, and being to love and feel loved again. I now look at a morning sky and rejoice that another day of possibility and creativity is there for me to experience. The thing is, that isn’t available to local patients anymore. Calnwood Court has been closed down, only two months after Early Intervention was shafted. Positive spin has been put on the situation, but let me assure you that after talking to the horse himself, I heard directly from his mouth that the reason these fantasticly helpful and positive services closed was purely, simply, and completely concerned with FINANCIAL CASHFLOW. Please, don’t lie. I may be Psychotic but I will not be taken for a brain-dead incompetent fool.

The words “Human Rights”, as far as I can tell, applies to Humans. Not “clinically SANE” Humans, not “perfect beaurocratic corporate £500,000-wage Humans”. But EVERY SINGLE HUMAN BEING that graces this earth with their influence. Taking these rights away for an illness they didn’t ask for, is criminal in itself.

Mental Health patients need SUPPORT, not EXCLUSION. I appeal to your emotional souls to re-consider this injustice.

Yours psychotically,

Matthew Harwood

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