Archive for October, 2008

Why dogs hate halloween

October 26, 2008

The rest of the photos are filed under Pages (on the right of main screen) and then down to Clean Jokes – and then click on Why dogs etc.



Living in Stigma…

October 24, 2008

Below is the link to a blog which may be of interest to individuals experiencing mental ill health and in particular bi-polar issues.

Charity Trustees – a comment

October 20, 2008

In relation to your post about the Trustees of Charities I would like to consider a further dimension of the situation.  Do the Charity Commissioners, or indeed anybody else, check what the connections might be between the executives of an organisation and any one, or all of the Trustees.  I have known of a Charity in which the Chairman of the Trustees was a previous client of the Chief Executive in a professional service.  Another in which a Trustee had worked with a Chief Executive in an earlier professional capacity.  It seems to me that in any matter involving conflict between the Chief Executive and an employee in these situations the latter would have very little, or any chance, of obtaining an objective and neutral resolution from the Trustees. At its worst this implies corruption.  So does anyone check?   



Bullying and teenage suicide

October 20, 2008

This film is from Canada, but the circumstances and tragic results could apply anywhere in the world.

If you ever needed a ‘prod’ to intervene or support a young person being bullied then I think that just looking at the children in this film will be enough.    Be warned that you may well experience emotional upset especially if you have suffered similar experiences and maybe considered similar outcomes.

Employer interviews applicant who is honest about depression

October 20, 2008

Many of you have asked if I could locate this film again – and I have!

Employability – Dept. of Work and Pensions – short film clip.

October 20, 2008

The Department of Work and Pensions recently released this public information film intended to challenge arritudes to the employment of people with a history of mental illness.   The following paragraph is the DWP introduction to the film. 

“Mental health is a frequently misunderstood area of disability, particularly in the workplace. Our film challenges attitudes to people with mental health conditions and prompts employers who may dismiss job candidates with a history of mental health conditions to think again.

The film shows a busy casualty department looking for a new member of staff who can step in and make life or death decisions. But will the talented candidate who has had previous mental health problems be given the job?”

To view the clip follow this link:  employability

To see Christine’s poster click on christine3

To see Dean’s poster click on dean

Stronger in Partnership 2. WAG publication.

October 20, 2008

This document, issued by the Welsh Assembly Government in the past week, looks at key issues:

“Involving Service Users and Carers in the design, planning, delivery and evaluation of mental health services in Wales”.

If you are a service user experiencing difficulty in getting meaningful involvement, then there is some interesting stuff here.   Let’s hope that some people of influence in the service providers, including the statutory organisations, CVC’s and voluntary organisations also find some tine to read and digest the contents.

The document is available in full under Pages/Essential Reports on this blog.  Click on the document and be a little patient as it loads.   If you have any comments to make about the document, or about how involvement is presently being managed/mismanaged then please send them in to me by e-mail to or   We will be pleased to publish your views.

Charities and their Trustees

October 17, 2008

It may immediately occur to you that this is an unusual topic for posting on a ‘blog’ to do mainly with mental health.   However, with rising numbers of employees in both charitable and non charitable organisations suffering with mental health issues, many of which relate to stress and bullying in the workplace, then it does seem to be appropriate.

On 5/9/08 this blog provided information about the YouGov poll for the TUC into Bullying in the Workplace, and the link to the full report.  Then on 8/9/08 information was provided on ‘What is happening in the Voluntary Sector’ – and the link to the report provided by Charity Pulse/Birdsong.  Both these posts are stored under the heading Bullying elsewhere on this blog.

Charity Trustees have many responsibilities, details of which are provided by the Charity Commission on their website.   In carrying out these responsibilities, and particularly those of duty of care to the organisation and its’ employees, there is a logical need for the trustees to make themselves aware of what is taking place in the charity in their name.   They have a collective responsibility for knowing what is going on, and for the decisions taken.   It is a naive Trustee who relies entirely on third party information when reaching decisions.   And what of integrity?   Having been a Trustee and for some time the administrator of two nationally registered charities over some 25 years I have no doubt that it is essential that all Trustees take the time to become aware of issues affecting their employees (yes, their employees) as well as the organisation.   This can only be done by physically visiting the work sites of the organisation and becoming familiar with the variety of services being offered by the employees.   Without such interest and personally  collected knowledge how can decisions which affect the employees and the development or otherwise of the charity be reached with confidence and impartiality?   

Sadly, it is when trustees are not able to find the time to talk with employees and to observe the breadth of their duties that mistakes occur and morale drops.   Stress rises, and so does the incidence of bullying and the smoke screening of unacceptable practices.   In such situations mental health issues will occur and lasting personal damage become established.  Recently there was discussion about an employee of a charity who was suspended for several months while being investigated and then suddenly dismissed.  It is not being suggested that this was in any way illegal – the evidence for the detail of the investigation is not available – but what could be the justification for treating a long term employee in this insensitiive and very stressfull manner?   Did the trustees of the organisation think that was an appropriate and humane way to treat one of their employees and did they approve of the process throughout its duration?  Or were they guided by third party information?   Did they exercise their duty of care to the employee as well as the organisation?   It is hard to see how that could have been the case.   In another recent situation a charity used its age related policy to end the employment of a medium term employee.  That was a decision for the Trustees, and altho that decision was within their power, what also happened was that the most recent appeal of the employee against this decision has not been responded to for approximately three weeks.   This has increased stress for the employee and colleagues, and confusion, depression and loss of motivation have resulted.  And where is the Trustee’s duty of care in this case? 

It is against this sort of background that the reports of YouGov and Charity Pulse have to be considered.  The work of Trustees is demanding, unpaid and responsible and every charitable organisation owes it’s trustees gratitude.  However, if Trustees cannot find the time to carry out their responsibilities with full knowledge of the issues, then it is better that they retire from the role.

Book Prescription Scheme

October 17, 2008

Updating the Book Prescription Scheme

 I recently had the opportunity to talk to Dr. Neil Frued at a conference in Powys. I provided him with some feedback on The Book Prescription Scheme – a scheme that many people have benefitted from, some whilst on a waiting list for counselling.

I stated that although the scheme had received lots of positive feedback in terms of GPs, many people found that some of the books were too complicated, or that they were not very easy to read. I also talked to him about the lending library in the Monmouthshire Mental Health Resource Room, where service users and carers can borrow many books, videos and DVDs. I proposed that videos and DVDs would be a good idea for people who have lower levels of literacy, and also people who find concentrating for a long time difficult.

Dr. Frued took these comments on board and asked me if I would help him to get feedback from service users on books which they felt had helped them in their understanding of mental health and illness. He said he was currently in the process of looking at updating the Book Prescription Scheme with the Welsh Assembly Government, and would welcome the views of service users to guide him to the most appropriate materials.

I have send Dr. Frued a list of the current resources available in Monmouthshire, but would like to take people’s individual recommendations on what has been useful for them.

Please can you either reply to this thread via the SpeakEasy in Mons web-blog, or by e-mailing   

Many thanks in advance for your help.

Kind regards,


Andrew Pugh

Senior Mental Health Development Officer

 Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations (GAVO)

Ty Derwen, Church Road, Maindee,

Newport, NP19 7EJ.

Tel: 01633 241572




World Mental Health Day October 10 2008

October 1, 2008

World Mental Health Day 2008.


What could you do to make people aware of mental health issues?

Click on the following link to get some ideas from the World Federation for Mental Health.

You could also have a look at the Rethink site –

If you attend a Drop in or similar mental health day service, ask what will be done to publicise this year’s aim of SCALING UP SERVICES THROUGH CITIZEN ADVOCACY AND ACTION.   Don’t let this ‘once a year’ opportunity to work together to raise awareness be missed.