An E Mail From MIND in Haringey

I have received an e mail from ‘David Pascall CBE’, Chair of MIND in Haringey, who has told me that he ‘wishes to protest in the strongest possible terms’ about my ‘defamatory and unpleasant blog’ – he is cross about my post ‘In The News At Present’.  Mr Pascall and his CBE tell me that the Trustees of MIND in Haringey are ‘committed and passionate’, that many of them ‘have been or are service users’ and that ‘it is disgraceful’ that I chose to ‘distort their entries on our website’. He reminds me that they are ‘impressive people’ and also boasts of the wonders of ‘my Chief Executive’.

Mr Pascall and his CBE may not like my blog but it is not defamatory. I did not ‘distort’ anyone’s entries from their website – the information that I used for my post was taken directly from the website of MIND in Haringey. It is now obligatory to be committed and passionate if one works in any area of health and social care, but I didn’t suggest that the Trustees of MIND in Haringey weren’t. What I was pointing out in my blog post was that many of the Trustees had professional backgrounds in health and social care, that only one of them was not white British in an area of London with a highly diverse population in terms of ethnicity and that they all seemed to have been able to build careers for themselves – none of the Trustees were homeless or had spent years on benefits. Despite his fuming at my ‘defamatory’ blog, Mr Pascall CBE has not supplied me with any information at all that contradicts my observations. Indeed he praises the time that the Trustees are giving to MIND in Haringey whilst they are ‘trying to build careers’! Mr Pascall CBE reminding me that many of them were or are service users is pointless – I mentioned the ‘service users’ among the Trustees by name on my blog. He reminds me of his own bad experiences as a result of mental health problems – again, I did mention on my post that the Chairman had experienced mental health problems and I said nothing to invalidate his own experiences.

The only fact that I seem to have got wrong on my original post was that Madeleine McGivern is no longer a Trustee of MIND in Haringey. Madeleine has left to work with national MIND. I was relying on the website of MIND in Haringey for my information – and when I looked at that website before writing my post, it stated that Madeleine McGivern was a Trustee. This would seem to be an argument for MIND in Haringey updating their website rather than sending me a rude e mail. However I am happy to clarify that Madeleine McGivern is no longer a Trustee of MIND in Haringey and I do apologise for misleading readers with regard to this. Mr Pascall states that MIND in Haringey have 12 Trustees, a normal number for a charity in their position – I questioned whether MIND is Haringey was top heavy.

Mr Pascall CBE explains that MIND in Haringey is one of the local MINDs affiliated to national MIND and these are ‘all operating as independent charities for the benefit of our communities’. He states that ‘we have no involvement in national MIND’s campaigns regarding issues such as workplace capability assessments’ and informs me that MIND in Haringey receives no support for core costs from statutory services, Haringey Council or from national MIND.

I have told Mr Pascall that the activities of national MIND and their Chief Exec Paul Farmer are doing MIND in Haringey far more damage than my blog is. I received an e mail some months ago from someone appalled at the activities of national MIND who told me that some local MINDs were getting very upset about what was going on in national MIND. Surely it is time for local MINDs to either disaffiliate from national MIND or speak out against some of the questionable campaigns that national MIND are running. Until Mr Pascall CBE e mailed I did not realise that the local MINDs received no funding from national MIND. If this is the case, why are the local MINDs even bothering with them? They’re receiving no support but are suffering reputational damage as a result of Paul Farmer et al.

Mr Pascall CBE wanted me to publish his e mail on my blog. Because he is accusing me of something that I haven’t done I will not be doing this – I am always happy to correct factual errors on the blog but I’m not publishing silly rants from people who boast about their gongs. I have invited Mr Pascall CBE to use my comments section to detail the ways in which MIND in Haringey are benefiting the local community if he wishes.

Although I accept that MIND in Haringey are independent of national MIND I cannot help but note the tactics that Mr Pascall is using – he’s letting me know that he has a gong, he’s telling me that he represents and helps service users but he’s going to take steps to have my blog taken down. So the Voice of the Service Users is going to silence another Service User because she’s saying something that he doesn’t like. And anyway he’s got a gong. Mr Pascall CBE, something tells me that like Madeleine McGivern, you too could have a great future in national MIND…

Author: Sally Baker

I am a writer and a sociologist, originally from Somerset, but I've been based in Wales for most of my life. I had my first encounter with a mental health professional in 1984 at the age of 21. My GP described this man to my then partner - who also became a sociologist - as someone who had experienced 'considerable success'. My meeting with this psychiatrist was a disaster and we attempted to complain about his insensitivity and highly inappropriate behaviour. That was the first time we were threatened and pressurised to withdraw a complaint against a mental health professional. This man is long dead - he was a retired psychiatrist from the North Wales Hospital Denbigh, T. Gwynne Williams, who was working shifts in the student health centre at University College of North Wales (now Bangor University). We discovered years later that this 'successful man' was notorious - he had been an enthusiastic lobotomist...

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