SEQUENS


The Voice of IMPERO


IRISH MENTAL PATIENTS' EDUCATIONAL AND REPRESENTATIVE ORGANISATION

Jenkinstown
Dundalk
Co Louth

Who We Are

IMPERO is a voluntary organisation founded on 1 April 1989 at a public meeting held in Ballymascanlon House Hotel. As it is constituted at present the organisation has a ruling council/committee and an officer board. The officers are: President, Bishop Tom Daly OMA FRSA, Pine A, Fermanagh and Tyrone District Hospital, Omagh, Co Tyrone; Chairperson, Mrs Anne Muldowney, Cockhill Road, Stamullen, Co Meath; Vice-chairperson, Archbishop Michael Desmond Hynes OMA PhD, 5 Anglesea Terrace, Greenore, Co Louth; Secretary, Sean Crudden B.Sc., H. Dip in Ed., Jenkinstown, Dundalk, Co Louth; Joint Treasurer, Kevin McGeough B.B.S., Meadow Lodge, Feede, Mountpleasant, Dundalk, Co Louth; Joint Treasurer, Edward S Crudden B.Comm., Smarmore, Drogheda, Co Louth.

The next meeting of IMPERO will take place in The Strand Hotel, Omeath, Co Louth, on 7 June 2008. It is planned to start with a communal meal at 1.00 p.m.

The general aim of IMPERO is to reduce the isolation of mental patients and, by educational processes, to improve the conditions of and treatment of mental patients. So far our activities have involved talking and writing. Now we want to get an audio-visual element into our work.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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What's inside the top window?

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----- Original Message -----

From: impero
To: Foram Naisiunta Eacnamaioch agus Soisialta
Cc: Archbishop Michael Desmond Hynes
Sent: Sunday, October 15, 2006 12:36 PM

Subject: Submission on behalf of IMPERO to NESF Task-Force on Mental Health

Dear Jeanne

"When boyhood's fire was in my blood
I read of ancient freemen
Of Greece and Rome who bravely stood
Three hundred men and three men

"And then I prayed I yet might see
Our fetters rent in twain
............................................"

John Carthy was and Anthony Burke is, neither of them, a perverse form of humanity. They defied the odds, each of them, and took on a vastly superior force. John paid with his life and Anthony lies today, fighting for his life, in a Galway general hospital. The question is "what were they resisting?" and "why?"

On a recent pilgrimage to Assisi I was intrigued to learn that St Francis and St Clare both set out on a monastic careeer as a result of conflict with their respective families - I don't know the exact details but I think it is worth reading about and the story of St Francis and St Clare has a resonance with and relevance to the modern world. Great basilicas stand today in Assisi to the memory of Clare and Francis and their spirit lives today there and in pockets all round this small globe.

Would they have fallen a victim today to the needle and the psychiatrist's dope?

Incidentally I am proud to say that I sang in the basilica of The Saint in Padua as well as in St Francis' Basilica in Assisi. You might not have heard that St Anthony lived for a time in a tree and was canonised a saint only two years after he died at the age of 32. His tongue and vocal chords are displayed and venerated to this day in his basilica.

At the last meeting of IMPERO, just before this summer, a proposal was endorsed that a refuge for suicidal people shoud be set up - one in each of the four provinces of Ireland. It was felt that this should be a totally free facility (i.e. non-medical and non-directional) and the general idea was that people with suicidal ideation - by coming together - might find understanding and mutual support and with rest and good diet and a little capacity building and personal development training they might regain the desire to live.

I sent on this proposal a few months ago to Geoff Day in the national suicide prevention office but other than an acknowledgement I have not heard a whit from him since. Pardon me for saying so but I think the national "suicide" office is transfixed by notions of "public relations" and they think that suicide can be prevented by clever advertising?

Every good wish

Yours sincerely

Sean
SECRETARY
impero (Irish Mental Patients' Educational and Representative Organisation)

Sean Crudden
Jenkinstown
Dundalk
Co Louth
Ireland

Phone 00353 (0)87 9739945

www.iol.ie/~impero/
www.cooleyehg.com
http://groups.msn.com/SeanCruddenPhotography

References

"I Am Innocent!" http://www.indymedia.ie/article/71186
A Martyr to The Cause http://www.indymedia.ie/article/77428
"Outcaste" http://www.indymedia.ie/article/76533
Sequens Magazine www.iol.ie/~impero/

   Join Sean Crudden Photography    
 MSN Groups
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----- Original Message ----- From: medpractbill@health.irlgov.ie

To: impero

Sent: Tuesday, August 08, 2006 12:28 PM

Subject: Re: Submission on Behalf of IMPERO on the "new" Medical Practitioners Bill

Dear Mr. Crudden,

I would like to thank you for your submission regarding the draft heads of the Medical Practitioners Bill. All submissions will be analysed by officials prior to the preparation of the Bill proper.

Yours sincerely,

Grainne Duffy

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"impero" sean@impero.iol.ie

07/08/2006 15:37

To: "Department of Health"
cc: "Archbishop Michael Desmond Hynes"

Subject: Submission on Behalf of IMPERO on the "new" Medical Practitioners Bill

A Chairde

I read through the background paper on the website a few weeks ago and I remember too little about it to comment on any particular proposed provision in the new bill and, indeed, I feel too little motivation to do so.

However I gained the impression that there is evident paranoia behind the provisions outlined - something will go wrong with doctors or with hospitals and there had better be strict legal provision for setting things right. The weakness in all this is that, like teaching, it is not possible to pass a law that will perfect the practice of medicine.

Again the Department of Health is biting off a big role for itself. Perhaps it were better to leave medical training and medical practice in the care of the professors and consultants. Surely they are the ones - and they are well-paid and they have the status - who have natural responsibility for perpetuating their craft.

Of course, if there is a scientific dimension to the practice of medicine, there should be a critical faculty built into its systems which would be open and democratic. Medicine should come out of the dark ages and conduct its business like a scientific society with its processes, periodicals, and deliberations open to public scrutiny. As a concerned citizen I am not willing to have that scrutiny carried out by the Department of Health as my proxy because it, in its procedures, is like a cult too.

As well as fear I detect a marked conservatism in the background to this bill. It seems to recognise a standard form of medical practice - a distinct orthodoxy - which it seems to recognise and which it seems to want to shore up and maintain as a fixed constant into the future.

Maybe it is just mental illness on my part but this whole question of titles - who can be called "doctor" and who cannot - seems to me like a particularly sick joke. I would prefer if my doctor were called "Paschal Malone, MD" or "Paschal Malone, Doctor" rather than "Doctor Paschal Malone."

This whole idea of a title is a throwback to a pre-revolutionary time when feudalism and authoritarianism were the order of the day.

To be honest, I don't think that even a child should be talked down to by a doctor.

Mise le Meas

Sean
Secretary
IMPERO (Irish Mental Patients' Educational and Represetative Organisation)

Sean Crudden
Jenkinstown
Dundalk
Co Louth
Ireland

Phone +353 (0)87 9739945

www.iol.ie/~impero/
www.cooleyehg.com

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----- Original Message -----
From: impero
To: Health & Consumer Protection Directorate-general, European Commission
Cc: Archbishop Michael Desmond Hynes
Sent: Friday, May 12, 2006 9:48 AM
Subject: Submission on behalf of IMPERO in Response to EC Green Paper on Mental Health

A Chairde

We would like to see an end to the "colonial" attitude on the part of some doctors and nursing personnel towards patients - just merely regarding us as subjects or, indeed, as depersonalised objects of observation to be disposed in any old capricious fashion. We would prefer to be treated in a democratic way based on liberty, equality and fraternity.

My organisation has been trying to call for greater critical evaluation of the system of mental health treatment which prevails here in Ireland (and in most other countries in the "developed" world). Whether by independent research or by methods built in to the mental health system we would like to see a thorough historical, contemporary and ongoing assessment of outcomes in the mental health system. Where have we come from? Where are we now? The answers to these questions should illumine the path to where we want to go?

And we think that the health of mental patients should not be the only concern - the general health and social standing of staff - particularly front-line staff - should be a major concern too.

Mise le meas

Sean
SECRETARY
impero (Irish Mental Patients' Educational and Representative Organisation)

Sean Crudden
Jenkinstown
Dundalk
Co Louth
Ireland

Phone +353 (0)87 9739945

www.iol.ie/~impero/
www.cooleyehg.com

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9 May 2006

Submission to An Comhairle Eolaiochta in response to an invitation in The Irish Times (090506)

Dear Lucy

I have not read the consultation paper referred to in your advertisement in today's Irish Times but, nonetheless, I would like to make some observations on research in the field of mental illness.

Even a cursory glance at today's paper underlines the fact that psychiatry/psychology inhabits and contributes its anima to every facet of human life in Ireland today e.g. school "discipline" or the runaway coach driver in his encounter with the court. It has its tentacles around family life, human and industrial relations, the media and, even, politics.

The reason that I worry about this is that the ideas and the methodology of psychiatry are very much established. They are, at this stage, received and are above and beyond reproach or criticism. My own personal opinion is that they are clearly a sacred cow. And there is a huge body of opinion among "users and survivors of psychiatry" that it is not just a case that more enlightened doctors and better medicine are required but that the whole destructive system should be dismantled.

I realise that scientific research should not be looked on as a judicial process which sets out to find fault or destroy. And current medical cant often refers to the necessity for an "evidence-based" approach - often in a vainglorious attempt to give "scientific" respectability to current or proposed medical practices.

To be direct about it I would like to see a study done trying to establish from first principles why some of the middle-aged patients in The Ladywell Centre, Dundalk, (those who have survived) are the way they are. What are the physical, social, cultural, economic factors which have defined their lives as they live them today? It is not enough to give a one-word answer "mental illness" because, to my mind, that would beg too many fundamental questions.

Of course I realise that science cannot now discover the what ifs. Could things have been done differently in the past? Is it possible to do it all in a newer and better way in the future?

However I think that it is the role of science to detail and report on what has been happening and on the whys and wherefores of it all. A clearer interpretation of the existing results of decades of practice in the field of psychiatry is still scientifically possible, in my humble opinion.

Every good wish

Yours sincerely

Sean
SECRETARY
impero (Irish Mental Patients' Educational and Representative Organisation)

Sean Crudden
Jenkinstown
Dundalk
Co Louth
Ireland

Phone +353 (0)87 9739945

www.iol.ie/~impero/
www.cooleyehg.com

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The Dundalk Democrat. Edition, Wednesday 24 March 2005.

Dear Sir

Last week's edition of your esteemed newspaper contained some good reading including an entertaining article by Gene Yore entitled "Mary pleads criminal insanity" - a spoof dialogue between Mary Harney and Bertie Ahern. The only difficulty for me was that the article while poking fun at the two unmentionables (MH and BA) underlined a stereotypical view of the mentally ill which accords with a common view of the mentally ill and which, I think, is a misleading caricature.

Mentally ill people and mental patients in particular are seldom, if ever, responsible for grandiose plans which spectacularly go wrong. They are mostly poor, marginalised, excluded and inoffensive people. Rather than being brash, loud individuals who think too little they are, in my observation, quiet and introspective people who think too much.

Of course it matters to everyone who one identifies with. "Show me your friends and I'll show you who you are." While in a recent survey only 3% of the general public identified themselves as supporters of The Progressive Democrats I think that even a smaller percentage of the mentally ill would identify themselves with the right wing in Ireland. Unfortunately I myself (being a member of The PD Party) am an exception which proves the rule.

Yours sincerely

Sean Crudden
Secretary
IMPERO (The Irish Mental Patient's Educational and Representative Organisation)
Jenkinstown
Dundalk

The Dundalk Democrat. Edition, Wednesday 8 September 2004

A Chara

An article written by Louise Geaney headed "Plea to address problem of self-harm among youth" appeared in Saturday's edition of The Irish Times. The article tells us that a "National Symposium on Young People's Mental Health" will take place on 21 October 2004 in Jury's Hotel, Cork. She elaborates, "The symposium will initiate discussion and workshops around the area of mental health for young people." This is the principal point of an article which is devoted mainly to a discussion of suicide and para-suicide among young people in Ireland.

The connection in the article (unspoken) is that suicide is a medical issue and this is a connection which is frequently made in informal and formal discussion of the topic nowadays. Like disability the "medicalisation" of the problem seems to bring some kind of rationality and the promise of control into the area. But I wonder how valid this medical "model" is in the case of suicide any more than it is in the case of disability?

When young people are introduced to the area of mental heath in these discussions will they be given a true picture of the de-sensitisation, obesity, stigma, depression, isolation, relative poverty and dependency that, to the most obtuse observer, seem to be the inevitable companions of "help" and "treatment" in the area of mental health where young people are concerned?

Is this the kind of help that the suicidal young need to pull themselves back from the brink? On the contrary, it seems to me, that these inevitabilities are the principal probable cause for suicide (and the rate is very high) among mental patients.

There are too many small minds in education and politics in this country that seek to impose discipline, control, compliance and submission on young people in systems and pursuits which are meaningless in the wider context of things in general and militate against harmony, happiness, and humanity in families, schools, on the street.

The ideas that motivate the received expertise in these areas ("psychology" and "education") percolate down into the very nursery and wreak terrible damage on fragile and developing personalities everywhere they go.

The "army" school of thought may produce silence in the classroom. However it can only stunt the development of open, loving personality (in girls as well as boys) and it will fail to produce real development and learning in anyone. Pythagoras' theorem can be proved, to anyone who can multiply, in a fairly satisfactory way in ten minutes but while it is great to know it (and it is one of the most useful theorems in all of mathematics) it will do little by itself to keep a suicidal person out of the River Boyne.

No. It is important to consider issues of personal development and personal capacity which are not going to be properly developed by force and oppression. Children may have to cope with bereavement, poverty, loss, crime, peer-pressure and much more - Shakespeare refers to "the heartache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to." The prescription and didacticism of the psychiatrist is no help. It is merely one more threat that hangs over the child (and society in general).

Mise le meas

Sean Crudden
Jenkinstown



----- Original Message ----- From: Sean Crudden
To: European Movement
Sent: Wednesday, November 27, 2002 1:41 PM

Subject: Consultations on Charter of Fundamental Rights - Submission on behalf of IMPERO

"Everyone has the right of access to preventive health care and the right to benefit from medical treatment under the conditions established by national laws and practices. A high level of human health protection shall be ensured in the definition and implementation of all Union policies and activities."
Article 35. Charter of Fundamental Rights of The European Union

By a peculiar irony the above article is seen by mental patients and ex-users and survivors of psychiatry as a duplicitous provision inserted at the behest of the "pro-pro-psychiatric" lobby to force and foist standard psychiatric treatment on the embattled members of the mentally ill community. This treatment consists of a panoply of resources such as strong unpleasant drugs, ECT and in extreme cases psycho-surgery. Most people who are or who have been mental patients fear and loathe the treatments they are getting or the treatment that "hangs over them."

It should be noted too that there is a horrible certainty about a universally standardised system of treatment which seems to admit no possibility of an alternative to itself. Thus progress is blocked out and an unloved system seems to be shored up permanently (until the inherent strains in the system - and there are many - cause it to fracture somewhere up ahead in the distant future).

Currently we hear language like "Aggressive Outreach Teams" conjuring up a picture of the patient receiving his injections "over the kitchen sink." Mooted legislation in Britain contains provision for preventative detention and forced treatment for people with personality disorders and mental illnesses who may be considered (by whom?) to be dangerous or a threat. Thus the system seems to be growing daily more oppressive and coercive and any element of freedom, democracy or humanity is being relentlessly stripped away from the life of the mental patient.

However it is not clear to IMPERO how legislation or charters might be used in a creative way to influence practice and to free up improvements and reform and at base to break down the fundamental problem which is the corrosive isolation and depersonalisation of mentally ill people. In fact the opposite is more likely to happen for we live in an era when totalitarianism and right wing politics are in the ascendancy and public opinion is weighted against the mental patient and other less compliant people who may have had a brush with psychiatry.

Even if there were liberal laws mental patients are robbed under the present regime of the motivation to exploit them.

Patricia, we hope that this submission on behalf of IMPERO (Irish Mental Patients' Educational and Representative Organisation) will be of some assistance to The European Movement in this interesting consultation process you are undertaking and if we can be of any further assistance to you please do not hesitate to get in further contact with us.

Every good wish

Yours sincerely

Sean
Secretary
IMPERO

Sean Crudden
Jenkinstown
Dundalk
Co Louth
Ireland

Phone 353 42 93 71310


----- Original Message ----- From: Sean Crudden (mailto:sean@impero.iol.ie)
To: Educational Disadvantage Committee (mailto:maura_grant@education.gov.ie)
Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2002 2:19 PM

Subject: Submission on Educational Disadvantage from IMPERO (The Irish Mental Patient's Educational and Representative Organisation).

Hi Maura

Parents, students, managers and public opinion on education are all held in thrall by and in awe of the (false?) gods of psychology and psychiatry. The system today is humorless, driven, disliked. It is characterised by passive/aggressive relationships at every level and utterly despicable transactional analysis.

The Department of Education Inspectorate which pretends to be or masquerades as the guarantor, protector, and guardian of education in the country is, in reality, the wretched traitor of most true educational values. This can readily be deduced from the kind of work it does and from the kind of relationships it cultivates within the system.

For example reading in the Irish Times today the Inspectorate seems to be lending its weight to "Whole School Inspection." Nowhere, in all the baloney we have been reading about it, is there any real indication that an inspector or anyone else has any convincing or even clear idea of what the methodologies or objectives of a school should be. It looks to us like the Minister seems to want to proceed with the same old machines only making all the cruel screws tighter.

Really the point we wish to make is that, rather than proliferate special services for minority categories of the disabled and the disadvantaged, mainstream education should be reformed and resourced in such a way as to avoid too many "casualties" and so that every child can feel as good as everyone else insofar as she is a part of the same general system. Obviously schools should be made happier and more welcoming. Individual differences should be readily recognised and catered for. For example the widespread adoption of school uniforms, even by small primary schools out the country, in the last few decades is to this organisation a plain indication of the fascistic will of the parent and every other authority figure involved to stereotype children. Or is it a foolish aping of the British public school system?

Adult education especially in the area of "personal development" is an area of great potential for all adults and for the mental patient as well as everyone else. If there is to be a "second chance" provision in the system then we think it should be concentrated at this level.

The professional organisations TUI, ASTI and INTO seem to concern themselves with narrow issues of pay and status. It is disappointing that we never hear from them discussion of what they are trying to achieve in their work and what they see as systematic obstacles or where they would like to see development take place. The training colleges and universities are no more eloquent than the unions in these areas either. For instance there is the question "Are small schools better?" Another topic worthy of discussion is "A curriculum with a wide core is better than one with a lot of choice and specialisation?"

Again the point we wish to make is that lessening of disadvantage may more readily result from general consideration of the weaknesses of the system than from piecemeal apparently tailor-made reforms.

Mise le meas

Sean

Sean Crudden
Jenkinstown
Dundalk
Co Louth
Ireland
Phone 042 93 71310
~http://www.iol.ie/~impero/

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BABY McGRATH DIES

The burial of Mrs Teresa ("Baby") Crudden (nee McGrath), took place in Ballapousta Graveyard after 10 o'clock Mass in St Catherine's Church on Sunday 7 July 2002. She died in the intensive care unit of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital on 4 July 2002 after a short cardiac illness.

She is survived by her two daughters Anne Marie, Stamullen; Teresa Bernadette, Palmerstown; and her three sons John Anthony ("Sean") Jenkinstown; James Oliver ("Jimmy"), Newbridge; and Edward Stephen ("Teddy") who resides in the original family home in Smarmore. Her husband Edward ("Ned") died 20 years ago and her granddaughter Nicola, Newbridge, passed away, aged 19, in the year 2000. At the time of her death she had, living, 20 grandchildren and one great grandchild. She herself, born in 1916 in Bengerstown, Lobinstown, Kells, was the youngest of 11 children and never knew her own mother who died soon after "Baby" was born. She is the final member of that family to die.

Mrs Crudden was a qualified psychiatric nurse who trained in The Mental Hospital in Ardee where her husband Edward (Ned) was a contemporary. Throughout their lives they always maintained strong links with other colleagues of their generation in the hospital such as Sonny McDonald, Joe Malone, Dick McGuinness, Frank Rock, the Donnelly sisters, Peter "Trick" McDonnell and his wife Brigid, Mickey Thornton, John Murphy as well as younger colleagues such as Brian Lynch and Jem Brady. Teresa fitted in a number of years working in St. Brendan's Hospital, Grangegorman in the 1960's and was called back to work in St Brigid's Hospital by Peter McDonnell in the 1970's where she worked alongside her husband in the psycho-geriatric ward until they both retired around 1980.

Teresa was based in Palmerstown since about 1990. She had a flat there and a mobile home in Bettystown where she habitually spent the summer using every opportunity to soak up the sun which she felt fortified her for the winter months.

Teresa's interests included horticulture, poultry keeping (especially turkeys), jelly and jam-making, reading, baking, knitting, old photographs and in recent years TV particularly "Fair City." She enjoyed the friendship of wonderful neighbours in Bengerstown, Smarmore, Palmerstown and Bettystown and kept particularly close contact with her two sisters Alicia and Mary Rose while they lived.

Her three sons played together on the Hunterstown Rovers team which defeated The Dreadnots in the final of the Co Louth 2nd Division Championship in Dunleer in 1973.

Eamon Crudden who recently completed the full-length documentary film "Berlusconi's Mousetrap" is the deceased's eldest grandchild.

Teresa Crudden was President of IMPERO from its foundation on 1 April 1989 until her death on 4 July 2002.

Go ndeanfaidh Dia trocaire ar a hanam dilis Eireannach.

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Submission to The National Economic and Social Forum on Early School Leaving


9 August 2001


A Chairde

The state examninations are a bottleneck or pressure point which prevents the even flow of pupils through the education system and in the interests of equity for all pupils and in the interests of better education for all these examinations should be discontinued. It would spare a lot of unnecessary expense as well.

A system of auditing the progress of each pupil through school, which should be completed about the 13th or 14th year of the child's schooling, should be put in place instead of state examinations. Naturally the teacher unions would have a say in any change in the system and it is clear that they are already committed in a Gadarene way to the status quo.

All services for children's formal education should be confined to recognised schools to ensure genuine inclusiveness. Standards of teacher qualification and the general standard of the school process can better be assured that way. So we think that "half-way" establishments like The House in Cox's Demesne in Dundalk should be ruled out. We also have an uneasy feeling about "special schools" or "secure establishments" which are put at the disposal of the courts to deal with troublesome children. We would prefer to see much of this kind of provision mainstreamed and the assistance of experienced, committed and qualified general teachers brought into play within a "normal" school setting.

The way "control" is maintained in second level schools is uneven and much depends on the person of the school principal. In general "psychological" methods (a new sort of intimidation?) have replaced the cane over the last half century. However the school atmosphere can often be more authoritarian now than ever it was. A general lightening of the controls and more democracy in school would produce better finished students and reduce the number of "drop-outs" and create less problems. Needless to say it is of the utmost importance that no pupil should become a casualty to an unduly aggressive school system.

Horror of horrors child psychiatry has produced a new lexicon of disorders like ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and various "personality" disorders which it attaches as a label (in the way that psychiatry does) to difficult children. On the one hand these disorders may be explained by bad teaching practice in many cases and on the other they may often be remedied by a good teacher without the assistance of drugs like Ritalin. In general it should be recognised that teaching is a profession which is just as valid as psychiatry and, correctly applied, it is far less abusive and far more optimistic.

Finally, let me tell you that IMPERO is The Irish Mental Patient's Educational and Representative Organisation and it has been in existence since 1989 and we hope you will not think it inappropriate that we should have made this submission to you.

Le gach dea-ghui

Mise le meas

Sean Crudden
Secretary of IMPERO
Jenkinstown
Dundalk
Co Louth


28 July 2000


The Director
National Disability Authority
25 Clyde Road
Dublin 4


A Chara

Submission for Strategic Plan

This organisation (impero) would like to see the National Disability Authority assume responsibility for counting and tracking all disabled people in Ireland. For instance, we would like to be able to ask questions like:-
1. "How many mental patients are there in Ireland?"
2. "What is the rate of suicide among mental patients in different categories?"
3. "What is the life expectancy of different kinds of mental patient?"
- and be able to get researched, factual and accurate answers.

We feel sure that the expertise in terms of statistics, medical geography, etc., exists in Ireland to do that kind of a job. If you can establish that this is so then what remains for you to do is to devote a part of your budget to the task - and I'm sure neither you nor anyone else would expect instant results and it would not cost millions. That kind of information would be of immense value to your sister organisation PwDI and many other organisations of disabled people in Ireland and it should also help the planners in Government Departments like Health, Social Welfare and Education.

With every good wish

On behalf of impero

Mise le meas

Sean Crudden
SECRETARY


IRISH MENTAL PATIENTS' EDUCATIONAL AND REPRESENTATIVE ORGANISATION

Jenkinstown
Dundalk
Co Louth


23 December 1999


Mr Brian Cowen TD
Minister for Health and Children
Hawkins House
Hawkins Street
Dublin 2


Dear Sir

Having read 22 pages of the proposed Mental Health Bill 1999 I want to say to you that the document is based on barely disguised fear and hatred of mental patients and it is the writing of an insincere draftsperson.

For instance this newly coined term "mental disorder" will be linked in the minds of everyone in a more than subliminal way with existing legal terms like "disorderly conduct" or "drunk and disorderly." Or, worse still, the term will give the impression that mental illness is a trite or superficial thing - a mere "disorder."

Then again the term may give the impression that the brain of the mentally ill person is scrambled in some way, i.e. that it is in "disorder." You know yourself that mental patients can very often read, write, calculate and play music as good as if not better than the next person especially when the heavy burden of drugs we carry is lightened.

In a sense the harm is done for I have already heard Liz McManus TD use the term "mental disorder" glibly and comfortably on TV as if it had existed for years and as if it were wholly authentic and right.

It strikes me that the provisions in the bill follow closely the contours of current medical practice. While it is difficult for me to foresee the effects of the whole panoply of structures and procedures outlined in it as they act out their several parts (i.e. if this bill is ever implemented) I forecast that the whole will be fertile ground for paranoia, legality, division and deception. The situation of unwilling patients will be worse - instead of being condemned by a couple of doctors they will have the weight of a Commission and a Tribunal against them as well. For present trends point in the direction of more forced treatment of mental patients rather than less.

The provisions of the bill where children are concerned strike me as grotesque.

Yours sincerely

Sean Crudden
SECRETARY


THE IRISH MENTAL PATIENTS' EDUCATIONAL AND REPRESENTATIVE ORGANISATION

Jenkinstown
Dundalk
Co Louth
Ireland


14 October 1998


Submission on behalf of IMPERO to the Director of the Combat Poverty Agency regarding the drawing up of his new Strategic Plan.


Dear Director

I wish to urge the provision of a life-long entitlement to a personal allowance of 200 per week for all bona-fide mental patients. As you are aware most mental patients do not work and even if they were fit to work they are the last people on earth that employers would consider employing.

The ordinary unemployed person has at least a fair chance of getting work.

I'm sure you have heard of things like Art Therapy, Electro-shock Therapy, Industrial Therapy, Occupational Therapy. What I am proposing would also be a form of therapy - let's call it "Money Therapy."

Yours sincerely

Sean Crudden
(SECRETARY - IMPERO)




THE IRISH MENTAL PATIENTS' EDUCATIONAL AND REPRESENTATIVE ORGANISATION

Jenkinstown
Dundalk
Co. Louth
Ireland


13th March 1996


Submission


To Catherine Hazlett
Secretary
Commission on the Family


Dear Catherine

Families who have to suffer the stigma of mental illness have an added dimension of burden to bear. They may suffer the discrimination of silent derision which is echoed in the ultimate taunt of the school bully "Your'e a header - a mentaller - mad - a screwball" etc. I do not suggest that derision, satire and scorn should be banished from Ireland but it should be directed at the swindlers, get-rich-quick merchants, and jumped-up-jacks who, many of them in key areas, do so much to subvert and undermine true human values in our community, and not directed at mental patients and their families. In fact families bearing mental illness are often some of the most colorful, original and true-hearted stock in the land and every effort should be expended to resolve and understand with them the arbitrary difficulty which besets and may unnecessarily handicap them.

This process may be happening of its own accord and, indeed, it may be difficult to accelerate. However I cannot escape the belief that a true, well described understanding of mental illness in all its ramifications must be the first requirement and it must emanate from the profession of psychiatry and from the mental health system. There are questions of attitude here, stance and language which lack comprehensiveness and humanity.

I hesitate to mention commerce, trade, industry or the Arts. Many true originators have to break the barrier of public opinion and the easy taunt of madness, in the cause of innovation and progress, and it is a common ploy among such people to confess that they are a little mad to invite sympathy and to blunt the sharp edge of the almost inevitable comment of the belittler and the obscurantist.

It requires true bravery to live with mental illness and requires just as much bravery to understand it.

Yours sincerely

Sean Crudden(Secretary)

Impero Mail


Irish Mental Patients' Educational and Representative Organisation
Jenkinstown
Dundalk
Co Louth


14 August 1995


To The Secretary
National Anti-Poverty Interdepartmental Policy Committee


A Chara

It is clear that most mental patients are unemployed. While I am not aware of any detailed modern research on the issue, the social origins of the mentally ill or their family or cultural background is not of or from an unemployed class or from the lowest socio-economic groupings in our society, in my observation. Rather, I think, they are very frequently from the working and thinking classes with some pretensions, connected often with the professions, or farming or the clergy, for example.

Sometimes the mental patient was the most gifted and admired member of his or her whole extended family with much to contribute to family life and society in general were it not for an accident of mental health.

In general terms it has been accepted that unemployment has been (and will be) passed from generation to generation in an unbreakable succession. However I don't think that this applies to the mentally ill segment of the unemployed population. For example the sexual or procreative powers of male patients is curtailed (even blasted) by the medical treatment they are currently getting. Marriage for the young mental patient is practically out of the question. Money to support a wife or family is another issue that bears on this difficult question. In short this section of society will not regenerate itself. However the larger society will continue to spew out mentally ill people (for reasons too complex to go into in a short submission like this) as, in former times, the threshing machine in the haggard spewed chaff from underneath its rear end.

This organisation welcomes initiatives like "Fresh Start" and we believe deeply in the worth and value of mentally ill people as people in their own right who despite disability have yet a contribution to make to the spirit and wellbeing of their families and to society in general. Money is not the only issue. If we can't make money perhaps we can make something else.

Mise le meas

Sean Crudden (SECRETARY)

IMPERO Homepage


The Irish Mental Patients' Educational and Representative Organisation
Jenkinstown
Dundalk
Co Louth


7 July 1994


Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities


A Dhaoine Uaisle

No-one will deny that mental illness is a signal disability calling in question the personality, judgement and, almost, the moral character of the mentally ill person. All of this is usually referred to as "stigma" attaching to mental patients. It is no simple matter and arises from a perception of the complex of (a) the reality (b) the treatment and (c) the institutionalisation of mental illness. The professional mystique surrounding the practice of psychiatry and the very language it uses and prompts are a not insignificant contribution to the problem.

As a group (and this can be seen in a cursory way at any clinic or hospital) mental patients are noticeably sedated, unhappy, slightly uneasy, often overweight, poor, passive and live life in a way familiar to anyone who has "pushed" his bike up a long hill.

And yet mental patients are not an inferior type of human being. I have found, in my own experience, that some of those spurned by their nearest and dearest and despised by society at large and kept, even, in locked wards are the finest examples of humanity.

As a practical step to ensure an improvement in the status of mental patients I suggest that all persons registered as mental patients have a life-long personal entitlement to an allowance which will maintain a value equal to 150 p.w. at the present day. Not more than half the allowance should be deducted while the patient has to stay in a home or hospital. The allowance should be free of any means test and would allow the patient to engage in voluntary work or to supplement his allowance by paid part-time work - which is about all patients are fit for under the present regime.

I also suggest to you that the rights of the dead should be respected. The death of any mental patient should be recorded in a description of 1 foolscap page by an authorised person. If there are any sudden or unusual circumstances then the description of the death should extend to 2 foolscap pages.

Mise le meas

Sean Crudden
SECRETARY

"Outcaste thou art not" -
Finnegan's Wake
James Joyce