Campaign calls for open investigations into deaths of mental health patients: England

Anger as hospital’s internal inquiry into death of leading schizophrenia campaigner Janey Antoniou not made public

The Guardian, London, England

Campaigners are fighting for investigations into the deaths of mental health hospital patients – of which there are on average one a day in England and Wales – to be independent and open to scrutiny.

The move follows an inquest into the death of Janey Antoniou, a leading mental health campaigner who had influenced many organisations including Mind, the Royal College of Psychiatry and Rethink Mental Illness.

Janey, 53, was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 30. She campaigned tirelessly, acting as an advocate for those using mental health services and becoming a trainer with services such as the police. She died in 2010 in her room at Northwick Park hospital in Harrow, London. …

There were 3,628 deaths in mental health detention (501 self-inflicted) between 2000 and 2010, accounting for 61% of all deaths in state custody. The proportion of deaths recorded from “natural causes” is also exceptionally high. …… investigation must be initiated by the state, independent, effective, open to public scrutiny, reasonably prompt and involve the family. Deborah Coles, co-director of the charity INQUEST, said: “This is a blatant injustice. Too many deaths of very vulnerable people are not being properly investigated by a number of trusts. They are not being held to account. More rigorous robust and transparent investigations play a critical role in learning lessons to safeguard the lives of others.”

Retrieved 06/03/12. http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/may/26/campaign-deaths-mental-health-patients?newsfeed=true

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I am particularly interested in this article and glad the UK is addressing the deaths of mental health patients. I’ve want to know why the death of a mental health patient’s who dies during treatment is not reported as murder. Why are there no legal investigations? I experienced the death of 3 while I was being treated for multiple personality disorder, renamed dissociative identity disorder – so were they. Why did they die? Who knows.

Dissociative identity disorder treatment is traumatic and severe –  at times leaving patients emotionally distraught and alone to cope and recover from therapy sessions. Death during psychotherapy may be a taboo subject and one mental health care consumers don’t think about but it’s time to weigh the pros and cons of psychotherapy just as we do before we have surgery or other medical treatments.

Publicly reporting and being held accountable for death-by-psychotherapy will go a long way to exposing potentially harmful treatment.

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10 Comments

  1. Sheri Storm

     /  06/08/2012

    Thank you for advocacy and courtesy Altus. Here is a link for the article, designated for personal use only.

    http://www.cogsci.ucsd.edu/~mboyle/COGS11-Summer/COGS11-website/presentation%20papers/brain%20stains-recovered%20memories.pdf

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    • Stormy, You left a link that appears to be for someone else. You indicated it is for personal use so I am withholding approval. What do you want me to do?

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  2. Altus

     /  06/07/2012

    I do have a link on Sheri’s story from “Scientific American,” but feel it would be more appropriate for Sheri to post it. Feels strange talking in a thread and posting a story that is very personal about a person chatting in that thread. I am thankful she posts here…it really helps to understand this train wreck of the mental health community.

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  3. Altus

     /  06/07/2012

    Sheri,

    I read about your experience in “Scientific American.” I am sorry. It’s mind boggling that the silence continues and that the practice has morphed into a different therapy of dissociation and trauma. There are still old school therapists in their 60s practicing the old stuff too (art therapy, age regression, journaling, body work, all to get at the “forgotten” trauma.) Thank you for coming here and shedding light these harmful practices.

    Keep working and connecting to get the word out.

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  4. Sheri Storm

     /  06/04/2012

    In the mid 1990’s, CBS “60 Minutes” ran a story about Nadean Cool and a handful of other patients who were treated by a psychiatrist in Wisconsin. Unbeknown to many of us, the doctor had induced false memories and Multiple Personality Disorder in over ten of his patients. Mike Wallace himself took a personal interest in covering this piece as he, himself suffered from depression and felt ‘recovered memory therapy’ was dangerous and irresponsible – to say the least.

    I was among the ‘ex-patients’ who were invited to participate in the interview. Prior to flying out to the CBS New York studio, there was a local, pre-production meeting over dinner. Seated around several adjoining tables, were other patients – all with very similar stories of MPD and SRA. One of the waitresses working that evening, lingered oddly and when she addressed the table, there were tears in her eyes. After repeating his name to confirm the identify of the man consuming our dialog she sadly stated, “my sister was in therapy with him too. She killed herself.”

    Over a decade later, mortally wounded victims mount as silence continues between many professional mental health colleagues. Disclosing the disturbing facts behind this red hot controversy is not a popular or particularly “safe” stance. Your advocacy remains highly commendable Jeanette.

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    • Oh Stormy, Thank you for sharing this story. Indeed, women die during repressed memory therapy – and others – that treat multiple personalities/dissociative identity disorder. This therapy, if it does not causes death, surely leaves women unable to function which frequently leads to family discord, loss of child custody, financial ruin, and worse of all- leaves the patient/woman so dysfunctional that getting through a day is laborious.

      Your post sparked a memory: there was a woman who was treated by the same psychiatrist as I was. Most of his patients were in their late 20s and early 30s. This woman, I’ll call Sandy, encouraged her teenage niece to get therapy too. During therapy, the teen took an overdose and died. That family essentially lost both women – one to therapy – the other to death.

      I am not a mental health professional so I do not have to take a safe stance. I can be honored to be the voice for those who died during psychotherapy for dissociative identity disorder. Your support is encouraging, thank you.

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