Norman Lamb: “Don’t stick mentally ill in cells”

You may have heard me talking on BBC Radio 5 live this morning after Norman Lamb, the care minister pledged to end locking up mentally ill people in cells in England.

I was 19 when I ended up in a police cell after depression and an eating disorder led me to a mental health crisis. It was college policy to phone the police and so the police were called. I had tried to get help, I had been to my GP and to my mental health team, it had reached a point where the police were the only option and that in itself is unacceptable.

The police arrived and tried to find a place of safety but all the S136 suites were full, there were no hospital beds to go to and with no other choice the police took me to a cell. I was strip searched, given ‘safety’ clothing and sat in a cell on a Friday night. I was terrified, ashamed, the memories of that night will never leave me. I mean, getting help should not be the traumatic part!

9-10 hours later I saw a doctor, the first health care professional I had seen, it was a medical/health emergency and I was given care by police for 10 hours, that is unacceptable. The doctor then organised for me to be transferred to an acute psychiatric ward.

I welcome Norman Lamb’s pledge, I will die a happy woman if I know that vulnerable and unwell people will no longer have to go through the trauma of being placed in a cell. I hope it is something that future generations will never have to go through. A mental health crisis is just that, a health problem which requires health care in a health care setting. The help that people receive should not be traumatic or damaging and people should be looked after by trained professionals who are able to care for the person as well as administer medication in an appropriate setting.

I am happy to hear that we are moving forward, that changes are being made. It is such an important issue. Although, I know that from personal experience there is still a lot wrong with crisis care. Crisis care is lacking in mental health services, they are under-funded and under-staffed and there is still an issue with beds. This needs to change urgently in order to avoid the use of cells and to provide good care for people who are desperately unwell.

One thought on “Norman Lamb: “Don’t stick mentally ill in cells”

  1. Hello Claire

    I watched your talk about the traumatic experience you had on the BBC website. I really felt very bad about what you went through. For such a young and lovely girl like you to have gone through such a nasty experience is really a disgrace to the British system. But I am happy that you are recovering well. It is very good that you spoke publicly about this terrible evil that has been taking place for many years in the United Kingdom.

    People experiencing mental health issues should never be treated like criminals, especially when they show no signs of violence towards the public. I am greatly in support of Norman Lamb’s pledge to stop the incarceration of non-violent mentally ill patients in police cells. The problem doesn’t just end at the locking of mentally ill patients in police cells; there is also a wider issue of how patients are treated in psychiatric wards.

    Many patients have died in UK psychiatric hospitals due to poor treatment and neglect. In fact, some patients have been subject to both sexual and physical abuse by the corrupt members of staff in these psychiatric wards.

    There are lots of evidence in the news and media to support this claim. The link below is just one of the many findings.

    Claire, I am in 100% agreement with the statements you made on your twitter page

    “I’m lucky to be alive. I spent 10 consecutive hours attempting suicide IN A PSYCH HOSPITAL. Care is not up to scratch for those very unwell.”

    ”People have been dying in our psychiatric wards for years but it is always swept under the carpet.”

    Claire, from your story, it appears that your mental health issues were possibly induced by an eating disorder, it also appears that in your College there is a policy that when a student shows signs of mental illness then the police should be called in. Perhaps, that policy should be reviewed, because the police have no clue on how to handle such issues. Perhaps Colleges should be able to contact an NHS psychiatrist that could do a preliminary assessment to determine the severity of the problem, and then possibly hand the student over to a specialist unit. The police should really have no business with taking a non-violent student into custody because they are showing signs of mental illness.

    There are some more sinister issues surrounding most of these scandals that most UK citizens do not know about. In fact, some people pass it off as conspiracy theories, but it is absolutely true and as more people like Claire speak out, the real truth behind some of these scandals will be exposed.

    Believe it or not, there is a “secret network” of corrupt Police Officers, NHS staff, and Social Services staff that are responsible for some of these scandals, especially the cover ups. Claire talks about deaths being swept under the carpet; this is usually possible when the “secret network” is involved.

    The most atrocious of the scandals are when children are being subject to physical, sexual, and psychological abuse and torture. Those children who survive the horrific ordeal, are usually scarred for life, many become destitute and drug addicts which leads them into crime or prostitution.

    Some of the children grow up to perform the same crimes that they were subjected to on other children, and of course, the vicious cycle continues. Unfortunately, this is taking place in the UK on a regular basis, and people need to be aware of what is happening, the more awareness that is created, the more difficult it will be for the “secret network” to operate with impunity, and the higher the chances of the vicious cycle being broken.

    This may be a bit of a digression but if you read between the lines you will see a direct connection. You wonder why Jimmy Savile always boasted that he was untouchable, even when he knew that he could get caught in his pedophile activities. Savile claimed to have high profile friends that will cover-up for him. This is the corrupt”secret network” that UK citizens need to be aware of, Savile was part of the network and that is why some corrupt Police officers swept his activities under the carpet. But as we now know or we should always know that TRUTH CAN NEVER BE HIDDEN.

    Returning back to mental illness, have a look at the BBC story of Sean Rigg, unlike Claire the poor chap did not survive the ordeal. Met officers arrested over Sean Rigg custody death

    There are many decent Police Officers, NHS and Social services staff, therefore, this article does not aim to condemn the British Police Force or NHS or Social Services. But it aims to expose the well-organized, systemic and covert abuse that is taking place in these government institutions.

    This evil needs to be stopped because many innocent people are being harmed by this evil network.

    How do you create awareness? – Exposing evil through the written word.



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