I’m not a massive fan of Christmas, to be honest. Ever since I heard Mr WARREN do his infamous “Bah, Humbug” assembly at school when I was a teenager, I’ve had something resonating in my head. As well as activating anxieties around a general principle of mine – that if something takes longer to plan than it does to do, it is inherently unworthwhile – there is also all the cultural abuse that goes with it.

So when I was a PC and a sergeant, I always used to volunteer to work the main Christmas shifts so that people with kids could have the time off that they often wanted – and I was always grateful for the money! As a young sergeant I once worked a double shift on one Christmas Day and just watched the number of domestic abuse incidents unfold as the day wore on.

Now that I am “that dad” and married, it is always more difficult to square away. Whilst personally, I could still take it or leave it to a certain extent, it really is beyond ‘special’ to see my nearly 8yr old in his element with our family and I’ve cherished the last few years.

I had Christmas Day / Boxing Day off last year, but this year, it is my turn to work right through: ‘Nights’ on Christmas Eve into Christmas Day, and then ‘nights’ again into Boxing Day. These are always difficult shifts to do because it has never ceased to amaze me how many people will ruin their family’s Christmas through self-indulgent, usually alcohol related-behaviour – and often the volume of demand on emergency services is extremely high. All too often, it is only once the handcuffs are on and that it dawns on intoxicated people that they may have just ruined everything and it can very quickly all become the fault of the police for having arrested them in the first place.

Of course, Christmas can be difficult for lots of other reasons and the profile of crime and of incidents will change. Police forces often prepare for an up-turn in domestic abuse incidents; in alcohol related incidents and for an upturn in calls around mental health issues. For many people Christmas comes at a ‘cost’, in terms of their mental health and this can be manifested in suicide or self-harm incidents as well as in allegations of crime or abuse.

Mind reports that anxiety and depression can increase by up to a quarter or a third as people struggle with the financial impact of Christmas. In addition, there can sometimes be little or no access to day-to-day NHS mental health services as GPs and CMHTs reduce cover to a minimum or are not available at all. CrisisTeams will still be there, but as they operate different access criteria across England / Wales, this will be of less or no relevance in some areas. The mental health lifeline – I mean this literally – can be A&E and 999 emergency services.

999 services are there to do what they can and in an emergency are available to be contacted – that’s what we’re here for.


If you or a family member need to access help or support for mental health issues (or domestic abuse) over Christmas, there are a range of options, in addition to trying any normal NHS supports that you would have available.

  • Telephone Helpline Numbers:
  • The Samaritans 24/7 Helpline – 08457 909090
  • 24/7 National Domestic Violence Helpline – 0808 2000 247
  • Mens’ Advice Line – 0808 801 0327

I must leave it there because I still have to buy Mrs MentalHealthCop a final Christmas present, but I sincerely wish a Merry Christmas to all of you who read, use and support the blog. I’ve you weren’t reading it, I wouldn’t be writing it!

See you all in 2013 with some new ideas.

The Mental Health Cop blog

Badgewon the ConnectedCOPS ‘Top Cop’ Award for leveraging social media in policing.
won the Digital Media Award from the UK’s leading mental health charity, Mind
– won a World of Mentalists #TWIMAward for the best in mental health blogs

ccawards2013 was highlighted by the Independent Commission on Policing & Mental Health
– was referenced in the UK Parliamentary debate on Policing & Mental Health
was commended by the Home Affairs Select Committee of the UK Parliament.

5 thoughts on “Humbug

  1. I absolutely hate Christmas, probably for reasons related to my mental health. But, as always, I applaud you for taking the time to inform people in need about the resources available to them.

    Although I’m childfree, I know enough parents to understand how special a time this is for them and their children. Therefore, may I take this opportunity to wish you and your family a very happy Christmas, and a peaceful, prosperous new year.

    Thanks for all that you do here, Michael 🙂

    Best wishes


  2. First of all I think this website is wonderful. I just think that it gives more understanding to everyone and this blog is terrific. I was training to be a police officer myself. I had to give this up – the training at Hendon but I regret it – it just could not cope with everything that was going on in my personal life with my seriously mentally ill daughter who kept being admitted into hospital (8 times to be precise). She was a victim of crime in the first instance but had turned to her GP who prescribed anti-depressants. Her behavior became abusive and severely aggressive. At first I did not respond well to this behaviour and did not understand it – for someone to change beyond recognition I put it down to late rebelliion as there was problems with her before but then I found out what happened to her. I could not find any decent help and an incident in a public place led to the arrest of my daughter and admission to hospital which I believe is the result of her downfall because instead of getting decent humane care the first thing on offer was more and more and more drugs. Powerful mind altering drugs that gave her terrible side effects but noone except me listened. I made it known I was training to be a police officer amongst the team – not that they cared. They slated me as a mother and even tried to justify her behaviour on upbringing. In the files which I saw at local level they questioned her as to whether her mother abused her as a child or hit her – they described me as an abusive mother. My daughter tried to blame me for putting her in hospital but at the same time in her confused state of mind on all these drugs she was also apologising to me for her behaviour. In desperation I appointed a private orthomolecular psychiatrist as she was after 2 years in hospital finally in a supportive scheme for the mentally ill in the community. The psychiatrist listened to my daughter and was fully qualified not only to prescribe the standard drugs but also supplements which could have lead to a reduction if done properly under his supervision. It was costing me a lot of money and because the only time he could visit was a Saturday I had to recluctantly give up police training. I explained to this specialist that I was sceptical about the diagnosis as I had seen 4 different ones in the file and did not feel my daughter had the correct or decent care such as counselling, such as an assessment like I later got Peter Bennett (Retired Police Supt’d of the Forensic Unit) to do. He did
    a test on her hair and later a blood test to determine what deficiencies in nutrients or high copper/lead imbalance. I have never seen my daughter so happy that someone had listened to her for once as the team just kept pushing more and more drugs. The more I saw this the more outspoken I became in her defense but they turn people against you. They put words and ideas in my daughter’s head that I was interfering in the care. They gang up on you and have the power to turn someone against you. They banned me from the scheme because of an incident at home. My daughter was extremely unstable and allowed to associate herself by the team with the wrong company. Time and time again she went m issing. ON one my cousing who was in a leading West End Show starring opposite James Corden got me tickets to bring my daughter but she was so far gone she h ad forgotten this show and was out and police wre looking for her as she had not taken her so called “medication”. I got to find out that she was in the company of someone highly unsuitable who I had to confront myself on two occasions and who threatened to kill my neighbours and later I got threats myself. The team knew full well where she was yet they were not helpful to the police so they told me. I later had to confrom this man myself and he nearly punched me in the face in the street. Then he started to write and send text messages and he obviously knew where I lived. Can you believe this same man was allowed to visit at the Maudsley which I call a prison camp. This high security hospital allowed this man on their ward so the social worker let it slip and y et I as a mother was banned and constantly threatened with arrest myself. The reason I was threatened with arrest was because I had discovered what was going on at this horrific hell on earth place. This place has its own blog if you look on the website of Speak Out Against Psychiatry Laz Go. I fully commend this brave account of what goes on behind closed doors. My own daughter’s face was covered in bruises and I have not had a satisfactory response. I set up my own website called on the Posterous site to detail how shocking the care is in the UK. So my 25 year old daughter was transferred after 8 admissions to the National Psychosis Unit, Royal Bethlem Hospital in Beckeneham Kent, promised in writing a drug free period of assessment by Professor Robin Murray who let everyone down and distanced himself. No sooner had she arrived they tried to push Clozapine at her. This was a drug she did not want to go on and had signed an advanced declaration. To cut a long story short they put her on this whilst drugged up to her neck and also Metformine for Diabetes but given off label for weight loss althoug Dr Ann Blake Tracy says it is to cover their backs to counteract diabetes. Whilst on this drug she could hardly walk let alone function, had emergency doctors called out on several occasions to her. Members of Speak Out Against Psychiatry got in touch – a peaceful group who wish to expose the injustive of psychiatry – mainly patients who have themselves suffered tremendous abuse. They did this outside the Bethlem and I had already applied as a volunteer to Kent Police as I was so apalled at what I saw going oin inside this hospital. Within a day she was moved to Cambian Four Star Wards who have won Best CAre Provider 2012. Immediately whilst on a section my daughter has been deprived proper contact especially with me – escorted leave – now supervised phone calls they say is at her request. They got rid of her solicitor who had permission to liaise with me from my daughter and tried to replace this solicitor with Welsh Firms. However my daughter was totally confused with this and told me so but later the phone was never working and in the office charging for a long time. Staff did nothing about this. I have nothing to hide – they will not give me a reason why I am banned or be honest about it. They even refused the file to my solicitor for the managers meeting. This hospital like to associate themselves with Ruby Wax and Roger Black – celebrities to boost their image but I am apalled. I am banned from having my daughter stay with me at Xmas. Her father had time alone with my daughter but I h ad two escorts there all time when they brought her home yesterday and treated like a criminal. I laid on a party and invited my neighbours and friends who have known her since a little girl. I think the staff were taken by surprise at this as I had gone to a lot of trouble to make it nice as I will not for the first time ever see my daughter at Xmas thanks to CAMBIAN FOUR STAR WARDS AND ENFIELD MENTAL H EALTH who pay for this service and who make out they do not know what it going on half the time when I am sure they do.

    As regards the police, I still wish that I had a job in the police but what I really wanted to do was work as a Community Police Support Officer. The team have labelled me as aggressive and nasty – my daughter has repeated to me what the Consultant Psychiatrist had to say about me behind my back. I wanted to share this insight with you all. I thought the police training was excellent on mental health and when a mental health patient is suffering from Akathisia (Psychosis as a direct result of the mind altering LSD-like drugs) you cannot always reason with such a person. However it can help if someone was called who is close to that person that they get on with instead of approaching them with a vast number of police as requested by a friend of mine when she saw on one occasion my daughter being surrounded whilst in a terrible state of mind. If any police officers think the person they are taking back to the mental h ealth unit is getting help and support YOU ARE ALL VERY VERY WRONG. In no time they dumped my daughter back into society in a terrible disturbed state of mind into a scheme she was totally unhappy as something bad had happened to her there. The care is drug pushing and nothing much else and then they are keen to get rid of someone and dump them back into society where social services are hopeless and do not give proper support and the Crisis Team stay away when someone is suffering from a condition like Akathisia so I am afraid that leaves the police to bring someone in that is suffering badly from this kind of condition. It is not always abuse or bad family that cause mental illness. In both my daughters cases there have been other reasons such as bullying for my youngest daughter a child – severe bullying involving my house and car being targeted and what about rape. This is h ard to prove when someone is under the mental health especially if a case has not been brought immediately by social services for whatever reason and it is a year gone and that person is on a high level of drugs. So, it was because of my personal experience as you can see that was my reason for applying to the police as I found that many people (not just the police) but in the community even training and qualified nursing staff seemed to have a complete lack of understanding from either a carers point of v iew or patient. It is the drugs that cause the psychosis in many cases, lead to mass shootings and violence as documented recently in the papers -I am sure it is the drugs as I have seen exactly what they have done to my daughter and have seen such behaviour. In her own words my daughter said “it feels like I am crawling out of my skin – please help me” All she got was dismissive attitudes from the team and more pushing of drugs and was ignored. This is the current state of care in the UK and to top it all I will not be seeing my daughter at Xmas because of the team of Enfield Mental Health and CAmbian Four Star Wards and for anyone who thinks I have advised or will advise her to stop taking the drugs you are so wrong. Coming off these drugs is so very very dangerous and can lead to suicide and psychosis. We were told as a family they are not addictive – that is so untrue. Unlike illicit drugs there is no help to come off them and people do this in the community at great risk to their health and severe illness and without support in many cases. It has opened my eyes to listen to the patients and I am trying to get Root and Branch, Chy Sawel and Soteria set up. Root & Branch Project offer brilliant ideas which I have featured on my website. Patients are very supportive of one another and can respond to one another rather than someone official such as nurses, doctors and the police. I noticed my daughter was h elping those around her who were weak and even more vulnerable. There is no help and descrimination is rife against a patient getting back on their feet in society once they have a label over their head and by the way I have a tape full of laughing psychiatrists who say it takes 2 minutes to come up with diagnoses and others saying that an empty practise means no money for them. The money from the drugs go the pharmaceutical industry and Government donot care. There are no centres like Earth House over here just acute wards that can make jpatients worse. Books to read are by Prof David Healy Pharmageddon, Dr Candace Pert, Molecules of Emotion, Dr Ann Blake Tracy Prozac Panacea Pandora and Dr William Walsh Nutrient Power.

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