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Joe Kelly's Blog - disability arts online
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Joe Kelly comments on service provision at 'resource centres' / 22 February 2011

I believe that Service Users/Survivors can help each other to recover. This self-help thinking is not evident at day centres, and could do a lot to help people lead more meaningful lives. Professionals feel threatened when mental health service users want to be providers and run things. They are often averse to this way of thinking. I feel that day services should be geared up in getting people back to work not long-term disability. This process should begin at the day centre

My local Community Mental Health Resource Centre CHMRC is what the NHS provides for service-users in my locality. I described the entry system some time ago in a blog showing how the entry phone system was intimidating and hostile to service users. Although they are called Resource Centres The resources are very slender and not geared towards the self-help model. They are more like hospital in the community. They do not put up photographs of who works there like the doctor’s surgery does so you are not sure who the staffs are. There is no mission statement on display saying what heir aims and objectives are. There is no progress report on new initiatives,

In the main common room information on notice boards are six months out of date. There have been requests for computers and Internet access. There have been promises for this but they have been an exceedingly long-time coming. Access to information is a human right as defined in the CRPD Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Their model of care is the medical model,’ Doctor knows best,’ with psychiatrist’s upstairs pushing pills and well-meaning social workers organising activities downstairs. No chance of user-power here. This day centre is located on the edge of a housing estate, but it is not a part of that community.

The centre is open from 10am-4pm Monday to Friday but it could be used at evenings and weekends for service user initiatives, but that is not possible because of very structured protocol of the WLMHT West London Mental Health Trust. I think there is great potential for reform of this Institution and others like it. I believe that Service Users/Survivors can help each other to recover, given half a chance.