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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Cooley Environmental and Health Group; Winter Workshop 2012; Suicide Issues

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The text below is that of a letter to the editor of The Dundalk Democrat.  I had intended to read it at the workshop yesterday but pressure of time prevented me.  I hope you will take the trouble to read it and leave a comment.  A summary of the discussion at the workshop is available on which is the official Cooley Environmental and Health Group’s website.

The Dundalk Democrat. Edition, Wednesday 8 September 2004

A Chara

An article written by Louise Geaney headed “Plea to address problem of self-harm among youth” appeared in Saturday’s edition of The Irish Times. The article tells us that a “National Symposium on Young People’s Mental Health” will take place on 21 October 2004 in Jury’s Hotel, Cork. She elaborates, “The symposium will initiate discussion and workshops around the area of mental health for young people.” This is the principal point of an article which is devoted mainly to a discussion of suicide and para-suicide among young people in Ireland.

The connection in the article (unspoken) is that suicide is a medical issue and this is a connection which is frequently made in informal and formal discussion of the topic nowadays. Like disability the “medicalisation” of the problem seems to bring some kind of rationality and the promise of control into the area. But I wonder how valid this medical “model” is in the case of suicide any more than it is in the case of disability?

When young people are introduced to the area of mental heath in these discussions will they be given a true picture of the de-sensitisation, obesity, stigma, depression, isolation, relative poverty and dependency that, to the most obtuse observer, seem to be the inevitable companions of “help” and “treatment” in the area of mental health where young people are concerned?

Is this the kind of help that the suicidal young need to pull themselves back from the brink? On the contrary, it seems to me, that these inevitabilities are the principal probable cause for suicide (and the rate is very high) among mental patients.

There are too many small minds in education and politics in this country that seek to impose discipline, control, compliance and submission on young people in systems and pursuits which are meaningless in the wider context of things in general and militate against harmony, happiness, and humanity in families, schools, on the street.

The ideas that motivate the received expertise in these areas (“psychology” and “education”) percolate down into the very nursery and wreak terrible damage on fragile and developing personalities everywhere they go.

The “army” school of thought may produce silence in the classroom. However it can only stunt the development of open, loving personality (in girls as well as boys) and it will fail to produce real development and learning in anyone. Pythagoras’ theorem can be proved, to anyone who can multiply, in a fairly satisfactory way in ten minutes but while it is great to know it (and it is one of the most useful theorems in all of mathematics) it will do little by itself to keep a suicidal person out of the River Boyne.

No. It is important to consider issues of personal development and personal capacity which are not going to be properly developed by force and oppression. Children may have to cope with bereavement, poverty, loss, crime, peer-pressure and much more – Shakespeare refers to “the heartache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to.” The prescription and didacticism of the psychiatrist is no help. It is merely one more threat that hangs over the child (and society in general).

Mise le meas

Sean Crudden

Re-building ENUSP: Strengthening the network of users and survivors of psychiatry across Europe. Budapest 20 – 23 January 2012.

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Epiphany; Missing; Leah; Silvia

Friday 6 January 2012.

Up 09.00 +. Exercised and showered. Ate before that weetabix and milk for breakfast. Dressed in grey Robbie small-check slacks, “Trinity” T-shirt, sky blue Greenore semi-polo T-shirt, black and grey Mizuno golf gansy, braces, navy 2011 FootJoy golf socks, tan two-tone Javari zipped boots, glasses, brown Oakmont golf jacket for outer wear, blue and grey Nike barred nightcap style golf headgear. Rosanna culled some of my papers. Spent the day listening to the radio and kept off the Acer and the Dell. Drove in to GreenLife DR c 18.00 and struck a free basket of balls with the 3-metal, rescue club, driver, 7-iron. The dispensing machine was not operating so JC gave me a ¾ full bucket of balls which he retrieved from behind the scenes. Coffee afterwards buckshee from Rickie – I made it myself. He works in Ridley’s and was just filling in. Rosanna met Jane Savage at 18.30 in Strandfield and returned home long after me. Patrick Sheelan called in the late morning soon after I finished dressing. Searching for his brother Gavin, 19, who is missing. He carried a photo and gave a description of what his brother was wearing when last seen. The HQ of the search is in The Pats’ Complex. Nice pop music on RTE Radio 1 20.00 —-> 22.00. Cooked a pot of porridge. Ate half of it hot with honey and later for supper ½ of it cold with honey. Used an almost full balloon wine glass full of flakes. Washed my teeth before bed and earlier trimmed my toenails. 00.07. Wrote notes for this journal sitting on the side of my bed dressed in pyjamas.

Saturday 7 January 2012.

Up 09.00. Breakfast of weetabix, milk, coffee. Went back to bed. Up again. Exercised; showered; dressed the same as yesterday. Hung about the house while Rosanna tidied and culled a lot of papers continuing the work she began yesterday. Lunch: 4 pieces of brown bread, butter, cheese, garlic spread, one piece with marmalade; tea. Ate a large juicy tart orange. Siesta. Text from Leah. “Will arrive c 19.30.” Ate beef dinner before mass.

· Christ Be Beside Me

· The Lord’s My Shepherd

· Amazing Grace

· Sweet Heart of Jesus

A Marist priest with white hair and beard. Very small congregation. Frances and Catherine Baldwin both absent. Small forces but the choir was good nevertheless. Fidelis was there in tune. I went in and gave the prompt to the “children” to come out for the offertory. However they missed their cue. But I had warned the priest beforehand and he astutely saved the day calling for the children to come out. Gave €10 in the envelope to include the “6th”. Earlier drove to McCrystals’ for change of a €20 note. Bought a Snickers Duo and 2 scones. Ate one cherry scone with a glass of milk. Gave €2 to Brainwave on the way in to the church. Met Mrs. Wehrly coming out. Gavin Sheelan was found dead today by the helicopter up around Sleanaglough, RIP, (19). Leah who arrived before I went to 19.30 mass showed me the Kindle I bought for JJ. It’s a library! A small slim piece of equipment. Drank 1 ½ glasses of red after mass. Ate some chocolates, some ice-cream and later before bed a bowl of cornflakes and milk. Writing now, 22.20, sitting on the side of my bed dressed in flip-flops, pyjamas, black robe, glasses. Going to wash my teeth and retire. Rosanna cried off golf today. I play tomorrow DV. Did not get a chance to e-mail Silvia tonight. Early in the morning?

2011 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,700 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.