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Open letter to Claire Murdoch CEO CNWLNHS

Dear Claire

In one short twitter session you exposed so much that is wrong with Mental Health Services in the UK (and elsewhere). For this I must express my deepest gratitude.

You thought you were just posting an ‘amazing’ account of ‘resilience’ and ‘recovery’,, but in fact you posted an expose that puts Panorama to shame………

The tweet seemed innocuous enough

“Service user says “employment makes you feel included in society and not an outcast”.



follow the logic and all those unable to work are excluded and outcasts - what did campaigns actually achieve

(You must appreciate that by blocking me you have made it difficult for me to write this post but when we at the Mental Health Resistance Network chose our name, we thought long and hard about it. We do not give up easily - we are , after all, SURVIVORS of a pernicious and nasty psychiatric system that has long sought to drug, incarcerate and beat us into submission and out of our trauma)

You clearly identify strongly with that same consciously cruel system and reject the very humanity of the people who the ‘service’ that pays your no doubt generous wages was set up to ‘serve’. BTW since when did #TimeToChange become a social death

“Too many people with mental health problems are made to feel isolated and ashamed. Let’s change the way we all think and act about mental health.”


You might get that updated to portray the truth?

So I now have, thanks to the amazing @MHResist , a screenshot of the conversation that you just flippantly blocked …. and everyone can see it and read along…… and with the internet storing everything so securely, you won’t have to worry about it disappearing. If you decide that you want to try and get the post taken down, I would suggest that you read up on the Streisand effect (hint it makes it even more visible)

So, your service user felt that by being employed she had avoided stigma - ahem wasn’t the stigma supposed to be about having a MH issue……. see what your tweet did there - it confirmed to us that the stigma is attached to not being a cheerleader for the murderous neo liberal capitalism that seeks to destroy our lives, communities, Mental Health and ultimately the planet.

We really are running out of ‘Time to change’ and you honestly are not helping by not listening and by shutting down what had the potential to be a positive interaction between two bodies embedded in a failing and flailing system.

Now I am very happy for this service user if employment brought her such enjoyment - but her single testimony does not alter the compelling documented evidence that paid work under this neoliberal regime is becoming increasingly toxic and is affecting our mental health negatively.

Sure you may be cushioned from the blows in your senior position with your big pay cheque and benefits and other perks - but your staff are finding their wages falling, their work load increasing and surveillance continually being upped. And it is even worse for the patients, whose benefits are being cut and subjected to continual sham assessments, whose communities are being gentrified and for whom benefit sanctions are becoming an eternal nightmare.

And as we all should know by now, evil flourishes when good people like yourself do nothing, and say nothing whilst the horrors pile up around them. TheTories could not be doing this without the help of workers and the media - so it is flourishing because they and you are actually are making it flourish.

Meanwhile, you a senior manager cannot point us to amazing services for those unable to work (you do condescendingly pay lip service to compulsion being bad - but rejection is brutal and you personally didn’t hesitate to resort to it……)

This is not personal. I have never met you - but you do represent all the ‘professional’ folk who I have met and who have failed me by their own self-importance, complacency and inertia in the face of increasing draconian measures. And I am luckier than many others who have even more stigma and hatred to deal with.

Please use this as an opportunity to reflect on your actions, the system you work in, the world you live in and take steps to remedy the mess. Lose the self importance - see the humanity in your clients, respond to their actual needs and fight for appropriate resources in a gentler, kinder system. Use groups like Mental Health Resistance Network to help start developing ways of working that survivors actually find helpful. We’re still open to you……..

Then me and the rest of the network will be less angry and more amenable and the world around us will start improving and we’ll all be happier.


Love and Rage

Roy Bard

One of the mhrn


  1. On the Isle Of Wight our suicide statistics show that the majority of people who completed or attempted suicide were actually in work, not unemployed. This is treated as a curious spike, but Id like to see how this compares to the current national statistics. As well as how many suicides were forced by the threat of state support being taken away if people can’t return to work.

  2. Roy Bard Roy Bard

    Thanks Nancy

    Interesting points. I wonder if there is a way of doing this research

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