Not fitting the pattern

This is a post about the mental health debate held at the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 6th January 2015. Alexander McCall Smith wrote to me recently recommending this book (appreciating that I had graduated in Landscape Architecture):051 My recent posts have, as a result, been based on patterns. 053This is the pattern of my Tuesday in Edinburgh. It is however not just a recent pattern but an old one too:Waverley-(6) Waverley: I arrived in the toon of my birth 200 years since Walter Scott wrote his novel.Waverley-(8) At the station, this was one of several Walter Scott quotes that I noticed: 058 But before the parliamentary debate, I had arranged to meet a dear friend: 049 My friend “dares to know” like no other I know. 048 We met for a bowl of soup at the storytelling centre on the Royal Mile. Here I was lucky to meet my friend’s son. Who I found to be a very fine young man. 044 The following quote was displayed at the storytelling centre: 045 The soup was good. The company and shared stories even better. 027 Our conversation over soup reminded me of Aesculapius. Edinburgh doctors, of enlightenment days, formed the “Aesculapian club”.

I need no “club”: I need only soup and good company.017 On the way to the parliament we passed by the Poetry library.016 This statue of Robert Fergusson lies opposite to the poetry vennel. 014 This was Fergusson’s 18th century view of medical language,’authority’ and learning. 052 Just before entering Scotland’s parliament one is met by the poetry wall. 038 The Scottish parliament is a most wonderful building. Rich in pattern and in materials.

It has no simple pattern.It is too much drinkThe Presiding Officer started proceedings [given her confusion, thank goodness there was no “routine” cognitive screening as mandated by Healthcare Improvement Scotland!] Jamie-Hepburn The Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, Jamie Hepburn, MSP, led off the debate on mental health: we can kick offThe debate began. 18 MSPs in a mostly empty parliamentary chamber.020 My mind turned to a visit to the parliament five years before with my daughter’s primary school class. That was a day of lots of lively minds.006Jamie Hepburn’s address was followed by much parliamentary comment about stigma. 011 Stigma is a subject that I have written about and made films. My understanding is that stigma is experienced by the person. It is not a simply entity. 061 I read all the time. 021 My reading reminds me of how little I know. 059 I share C. P. Snow’s concern. As a graduate in both Arts and Sciences I have experienced very different cultures. I am not sure how healthy such separation is.023As a critical mind I sometimes feel alone. However I do feel reassured that I seem to be on the same page as Kenneth Calman and Sir Harry Burns. 010 I agree with Kenneth Calman. Though I would insist that experience also matters. 025 We are perhaps taught from an early age to appreciate arts and sciences as entirely separate. 022 History is also taught in separation. 039The “pattern” that I am attempting to present has strayed from the parliamentary debate. 041 Dr Richard Simpson, in his reply to the Cabinet Minister, outlined his concern about the “divide” between body and mind. 062The above was written by John Logie Baird in his diary at the time that he demonstrated television. CropperCapture[1] I welcomed Dr Simpson’s speech:004 Dr Simpson is aware of my view that I feel that informed consent to cognitive assessment is important [the above written by an elderly patient recently] . Dr Simpson said to parliament:CropperCapture[2] My concern here is that our elders will find that they have no choice in such assessments.  I am interested in ethics. For me this means listening to experience. CropperCapture[4] The above was part of the contribution by John Mason, MSP, to the mental health debate. A contribution that I welcomed.034 Whilst I do worry about “target” dominated healthcare, the following findings did concern me: CropperCapture[5]Over regulation is a worry for me.  We may find a day when professionalism is out-weighted by regulation.031   Below is an imbalance that I find concerning. Is this the real basis of loss of parity?039My closing thought on the mental health debate: I am of the view that Scotland, in its approach to mental wellbeing, needs to embrace a more pluralistic outlook: an outlook that includes those with lived experience, critical minds and the medical humanities.035END [with a young doctor] and “patients who don’t quite fit the patterns”

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