Are you in the right place?

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This is my personal blog. This is the place where I rant and witter inanely about all sorts of things that take my interest from opposition to odious far right groups to personal learning projects such as my intermittent studies on evolutionary psychology.

If you’ve arrived here looking for information on my mental health and social care training and consultancy services you might want to click this link instead. That’ll take you to my commercial website: The Care Guy

You might also enjoy taking a look at Care To Share Magazine while you’re about it. That’s not affiliated with my business at all (or indeed anyone’s business). It’s a community of people who are interested in sharing ideas and insights into social care without any distractions from political ideologies, corporate agenda or media ‘fashion’.

My PC, lefty, liberal crisis

Usually I’m pretty damn opinionated on this blog. It’s where I rant about the stuff that interests me. In posts about politics and social commentary it’s where I usually feel very sure of my words and statements. So this post is a bit of a departure from the norm. Right now I’m confused.

I have long thought of myself as a pacifist. That’s a big part of my heritage and my roots. Ever since I grew out of the testosterone-fuelled aggression of adolescence I’ve abhored violence in favour of reasoned argument and compassion. I’d much rather help you than hurt you.

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But now as I watch the venomous rise of fascism among the working people of UK – among my people – the working men and women of Britain, I begin to wonder. I’ve tried reasoned argument. Some have understood the damage the far right is doing to society and rejected neoNazis like the EDL, the BNP and Britain First. Many however have not.

From UKIP and the BNP to Britain First & the EDL there is a wave of nationalistic hatred sweeping across my homeland. With it comes the most hate-filled and violent prejudices against anyone the right wingers think of as ‘the other’. For some that means Muslims, for some it means Jews. Some despise all immigrants whilst still others hate only those who aren’t racially ‘pure’ (whatever that means in biological terms).

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And many of these neoNazis prefer violence to reason. Indeed, some seem to be so poorly educated that they couldn’t follow a good argument if they tried. What do you do with people who understand only violence?

Of course, I remain a pacifist. I’m not about to go out and attack those with whom I disagree (although many of these far right thugs have threatened the same against me over the years). My crisis isn’t about what happens today. It’s about tomorrow or the next day.

What happens if UKIP & the tories get their way & the UK withdraws from Europe? Such a move would destroy at a stroke the human rights protection UK citizens enjoy today. It would be a racists’ paradise. What if people continue to be duped by the discriminatory lies of Britain First? What if the right wing racists who found a veneer of respectability in UKIP actually gain some power?

What if the only way to oppose discrimination becomes physical action?

What if, one day the call goes out to man a real, physical barricade in support of my non-white neighbours? Please understand that when I say ‘barricade’ that’s exactly what I mean. I’m talking about defence here, not attack. But where the jackboot marches violence has always followed whichever way we look at it.

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What if a violent struggle becomes necessary rather than an intellectual one?

What will I do?

What should I do?

Right now I have no idea how to answer those questions and that worries me greatly. I would never have believed myself capable of even considering the use of force as a political tactic. Now I wonder if one day it may become the only effective response to the violent excesses of white supremacist, ‘Christian’ groups like Britain First. Even the fact that I’ve asked myself that question is frightening.

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Wow! The Sun gets something right!

It’s not often I agree with The Sun but they called it right today. Such cynical, disrespectful clickbait from Britain First’s school of fascist indoctrination.

Let’s face it – Britain First really have had to go some for even The Sun to think they’re too right wing. And it’s not just The Sun. The Mirror is equally outraged at the antics of these neoNazi scumbags. The Daily Mail also condemns their ‘clickbait’ propagandising.

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It’s remarkable that anyone could believe they represent traditional British values by taking cynical advantage of the dead. But, of course, abusing the names and reputations of the dead is stock in trade for Britain First. Just look at the way they hijacked Lee Rigby or the fallen in WW1 and WW2.

Fascist, racist, abusive radicalisers that they are!
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More stigmatising Halloween ‘fun’?

After campaigning so successfully in the past I really thought the mental health community had seen the last of this awful sort of abusive marketing in UK. Asda & Tesco both seem to have learned their lesson, judging by the range of costumes on offer on their respective shelves, but others have not.

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The impact of social stigma on people with mental health problems is bad enough without this crap making it worse.
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I just Emailed this to customer.services@joke.co.uk
I’d be really grateful if others would do the same.

“Dear Sir,

I sincerely hope I’m not the only person writing to you to express my disappointment at your choice of Halloween costumes for sale this year. The impact of social stigma on people with mental health problems is immensely detrimental. Your stereotypical and grossly misleading Halloween costumes can only exacerbate an already serious problem of social discrimination.

In recent years similairly stigmatizing and abusive Halloween costumes were presented for sale by other UK retail outlets including Asda & Tesco. Public outrage (& a subsequent drop in their retail sales) caused them to see the error of their ways. They do not appear to be making the same mistake again this year.

I would be very keen to discuss this issue further with you, should you be interested in learning more about the serious harm this sort of stigmatization creates.

Yours sincerely,

Stuart Sorensen
(Mental health nurse, trainer, writer & speaker)”

If you agree that this sort of stigmatisation is unacceptable why not write Email: customer.services@joke.co.uk
to tell them so?

Or write to:
Jokers’ Masquerade
Abscissa.Com Limited
Union House
Kennet Side
Newbury
Berkshire
RG14 5PX
UNITED KINGDOM

You can telephone them on: 0845 1300 818.

They’re on Twitter too: @Joke_co_uk

This abusive company’s ridiculing, stigmatising approach to people with mental health problems is neither appropriate nor acceptable in a civilised society. Please join me in letting them know.

On this day in the world of far right politics

October  18th seems to be a bit of an issue for Nazis. It’s a day of atrocity and its repercussions. This was the day in 1942 when Hitler commanded the execution of captured allied commandos.

Hitler

It was the day in 1945 when the famous Nuremberg trials began and senior Nazis were called to book for their crimes against humanity committed against combatants and non-combatants alike.

Nuremberg defendents

It’s also the day in 2014 that Britain First returned to Hexthorpe in South Yorkshire – and this time they’ve brought reinforcements.

OK – whilst Britain First’s invasion of South Yorkshire isn’t exactly an ‘atrocity’ it does reveal a fairly atrocious attitude. They’re there for no other reason than to pour fuel on the fire of civil unrest within a diverse community. The hope is that by turning up and pretending actually to care about the residents of Hexthorpe they might gain a bit of publicity and maybe even a few Facebook likes and shares to boost their rather transparent claim to popularity.

Hexthorpe 2

But it seems appropriate to remember what happened the last time these self-appointed ‘defenders of the faith’ visited Hexthorpe. They were beaten back by a small group of pre-pubescent children. The courageous captains of the Christian Patrol turned tail and fled when faced with little more than a small child with stabilisers on her bike.

Hexthorpe 4

The first ‘Battle of Hexthorpe’ (helpfully described here by Exposing Britain First) has gone down in the annals of the British far right as a great adventure, a jolly jape of epic proportions but in fact the truth is somewhat different. As you can see the vicious horde that drove back Britain First’s intrepid expeditionary force wasn’t exactly the most fearsome – not even for South Yorkshire let alone the deserts of the middle East.

Hexthorpe 3 The battle of Hexthorpe

I may be wrong but I don’t think this bunch of neoNazi numpties would be very effective at all when faced with armed (adult) insurgents from ISIS. Then again – they’re hardly likely to find many of those on the streets of a small South Yorkshire town, are they? They’ll find plenty of kids to play soldiers with though.

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Who knows, one day they might even win a game.

 

The mental health workers’ audio guide – now available

It’s been a while coming but The mental health workers’ audio guide is now available for purchase from The Care Guy shop for less than the price of a lunchtime sandwich. The first 4 of 6 parts are already available and the final two will be out soon. Scroll down to view the contents of each instalment.

You can The Guide parts 1-6 accompanying tables and references containing the contents list for all 6 parts, various diagrams and charts as well as references here……

Contents

Part one – clinical basics

What’s a mental health worker worth?

Three models of mental health and disorder

The biological (medical) model

The social model

Merging the two (stress and vulnerability)

The importance of physiology

The meaning of psychiatric diagnoses

Anxiety

The psychology of anxiety

Depression

The psychology of depression

Psychosis (introduction)

Hallucinations

Delusions part 1

Delusions part 2

Thought disorders

Part 1

Part 2 – The dementias

The dementias

Types of dementia – Alzheimer’s

Types of dementia – Vascular

Types of dementia – Lewy Body

Types of dementia – Parkinson’s

Types of dementia – Korsakoff’s

Types of dementia – Fronto-temporal

Types of dementia – Mixed

Orientation and memory

Delirium

The CAM scale

Working with the limbic system

 

Part 3 – Personality and recovery

Personality disorder

High Expressed Emotion

Sympathy is not usually helpful

More on the Stress & Vulnerability model of mental health and disorder

The invalidating environment

The Self-fulfilling prophecy

The meaning of recovery in mental health

The three types of recovery

 

Part 4 – In practice

Duty of care: A slug in a bottle

‘Hanged if you do, hanged if you don’t’ – a duty of care myth

There is no ‘us and them’

People are just people

Coping skills develop slowly

Lapse is different from relapse

Don’t expect your service user to perform perfectly.

The word ‘support’ is meaningless in and of itself

“It’s just behavioural” (A workers’ excuse for lazy thinking)

Challenging behaviour means….

Behaviours that harm the individual

Behaviours that harm other people

Do we need help?

Consequence, learned behaviour and the need for boundaries

Maintaining the problem

The whole team approach

Firm Boundaries

No ‘Pedestals’ and Staff Safety

Effective, Consistent Care

‘Corporate’ Identity – “You’re All The Same.”

Expectations

 

Part 5 – risk issues

Self-harm

Self-harm as a response to trauma

Responding to a person who harms themselves

Individual v Organisational risk (Risk-free is impossible. Manageable risk is the way to go)

Don’t flap (more haste – less speed)

The saviour fantasy

You’re probably not an emergency service – don’t try to behave like one

 

Part 6 – Thinking styles

Unhelpful thinking

Ignoring the positive

Exaggerating the negative

Overgeneralisation

Catastrophisation

Arbitrary inference

Determinism

Selective abstraction

Global thinking

Dichotomous thinking

Magical thinking (the Wizard did it)

Personalisation

Socratic dialogue and ‘the razors’.

The sticks we use to beat ourselves

Who put us in charge?

Final words

Exposing Britain First: Some slideshows

Britain First is an extreme right wing, political party that behaves more like a bunch of street thugs than a democratic organisation. The few policies they have are based upon xenophobia and religious or racial discrimination. Britain First incites violence and hatred.
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It disturbs me greatly that they have managed to develop and maintain such a presence across social media. I hope it will disturb you too.
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Here’s a short (3.5 minutes) video from ‘Exposing Britain First’ showing precisely why Britain First is such a dangerous organisation.

This one lasts 15 minutes

And here’s a longer one (35 minutes), also from ‘Exposing Britain First’ with a bit more detail.

They’re racist scumbags whichever way you look at it!

Ineffective by design (but not on a school night)

 

EDL Downing Street piss up 140920Today the almost defunct English Defence League, together with assorted factions of fellow fascists descended on Downing Street in huge numbers. Estimates vary as to the exact size of the demonstration piss up with some claiming as few as 15 of these uneducated, bigoted numpties storming the capital. Certainly they haven’t even reached triple figures, in spite of the hype.

Not that it matters very much. Today is Saturday. Even if they were to get through the gates and past the permanent police presence they’re hardly likely to meet any actual politicians.

In summary then Londoners (at least the few Londoners who can be bothered to notice) have been ‘treated’ to an ineffective display of collective weakness by an equally ineffective (and very, very small) bunch of nobodies who lack the foresight even to check what day of the week it is. By the look of things in this picture nobody even noticed apart from the very small number of coppers judged sufficient to contain this massive crowd tiny little band of neoNazis,

Of course it may be that they chose Saturday because many of their demonstrators wouldn’t be able to attend on a weekday school night. If that’s the case I shudder to think how few attendees this fading group of far right has-beens would have ended up with had they waited until Monday! Then again, judging by the level of argument that these people typically employ (and an almost total inability to use the English language) I seriously doubt that any of them attended any school at all beyond the age of about fourteen twelve nine.
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And these people claim to be part of the superior (some of them even dare to say ‘Master‘) race!
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