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):

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My recent posts have, as a result, been based on patterns.

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This 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:

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But before the parliamentary debate, I had arranged to meet a dear friend:

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My friend “dares to know” like no other I know.

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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.

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The following quote was displayed at the storytelling centre:

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The soup was good. The company and shared stories even better.

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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.

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On the way to the parliament we passed by the Poetry library

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This statue of Robert Fergusson lies opposite to the poetry vennel.

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This was Fergusson’s 18th century view of medical language,’authority’ and learning.

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Just before entering Scotland’s parliament one is met by the poetry wall.

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The Scottish parliament is a most wonderful building. Rich in pattern and in materials.

It has no simple pattern.

It is too much drink

The 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 off

The debate began. 18 MSPs in a mostly empty parliamentary chamber.

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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.

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Jamie Hepburn’s address was followed by much parliamentary comment about stigma.

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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.

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I read all the time.

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My reading reminds me of how little I know.

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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:

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As 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.

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I agree with Kenneth Calman. Though I would insist that experience also matters.

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We are perhaps taught from an early age to appreciate arts and sciences as entirely separate.

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History is also taught in separation.

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The “pattern” that I am attempting to present has strayed from the parliamentary debate.

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Dr Richard Simpson, in his reply to the Cabinet Minister, outlined his concern about the “divide” between body and mind.

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The 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:

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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.

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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

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Below is an imbalance that I find concerning. Is this the real basis of loss of parity?

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My 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.

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END [with a young doctor] and “patients who don’t quite fit the patterns”

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