Sunday, June 03, 2007


I went into central London yesterday to an Open University tutorial for my course on mental health.

The session wasn't well attended, though whether that was because of the heat and sunshine or because the students have dropped out, I don't know. Anyway we had a thought provoking discussion on the concept of 'recovery' in the mental health field.

I have to admit that I had never before really seriously considered the possibility that some mental health service users might not want to recover. That they might prefer to remain as they are because life is so much more comfortable when they are receiving professional support, services and financial benefits rather than having to look after themselves in the 'real world', where they will probably be marginalised anyway because of their history and diagnosis. That heroin users might go into rehab simply to get prescribed methadone whilst giving their collapsed veins some time to recover.

I'm sure, however, that this view does not apply to the majority of service users. I know son 1 really wants to get his life back and yet, in some ways, he too is using avoidance techniques for those aspects of life which will be the most difficult (in his case school and teachers). But judging how far he should be challenged against how much he should be allowed to control his own recovery, especially as he is still legally a minor, is a delicate balancing act and we have from the start received conflicting advice from different professionals.

I worry all the time that we are getting it wrong. Parenting is such a hard job.


minoritymum said...

Parenting is certainly a rocky road - so scary at times. I think your blog really indicates how sensitive you are being to your son's needs - he's a very fortunate chap!

Anne Brooke said...

And we all think you're doing a wonderful job, Cathy!



Cathy said...

Ah, thank you ladies!

Catherine said...

I worry too, all the time, that I'm getting it wrong. And I agree that there is a probably a tiny, subconscious part of mental illness which allows it to persist, but it's a very difficult and controversial area.

john said...

I fully understand this post. It can feel so much easier to stay as you are, but its not really what you want. I think people have to have a little push but also they have to work it out for themself as well.