Thursday, September 14, 2006

Open E-mail to Major MH Charity Directors

Dear Mental Health Charity Directors,

I am writing to draw your attention to the launch of a new blog at established to openly question the way almost the entire MH charity sector, particularly the lazy and imperious London based element, now appears to function to serve and perpetuate itself.

The sector is also rife with corruption and abuse.

In the last 18 months alone we have seen one director , who even the Charity Commission advised people to distance themselves from, forced to leave one charity for misusing and abusing its staff, resources and clients being immediately employed at senior level by another MH charity run by his friend, a fellow Director. He was later discovered to be involved in targetting MH service users with pornography. There was an illegal drugs aspect too.

The MH charity sectors response? Directors and Trustees straining their necks to look the other way.

Is the face of the MH charity sector you all really want the public to see?

Making complaints about this type of thing doesnt help either , the MH charities in question made no genuine attempts to investigate indeed as Jodi Berg the Independent Complaints Reviewer for the Charity Commission has noted in her latest report ,
"70% of charities have no complaints procedure, 79% don't think that they need one and... 77% of small and medium sized charities think that it is the Commission's job to deal with complaints for them".

What Ms Berg is actually saying is that many charities have utter contempt for the very people they claim to serve and have no interest in being accountable.

And of course, none of you are.

We have also seen hundreds of thousands of pounds spent on duplicated and lazy ' anti-stigma ' campaigns ' that were never properly audited for effectiveness .

Another prominent London based MH charity wasted tens of thousands of pounds arguing with the general public about the backfiring of a senseless publicity stunt which never deserved to be commissioned in the first place. The charity antagonised people and got itself evicted from a shopping centre.

This charity now lists this public relations disaster as a success.

We have also witnessed totally boundaryless behaviour between MH charities and the Government quango NIMHE, boundaryless behaviour that has called into question the independence of one particular charity which now appears to be lobbying and advocating for various Government Departments.

Most recently, we have also seen the kept Government policy driven academics of the same charity cut £3 payments to workers with learning difficulties to 'modernise' work services while they received massive salaries for psuedo intellectualising this mean spirited approach.

Let me repeat that:

MH charity sector academics on massive salaries decided that people with learning difficulties should work for nothing.

What on earth is charitable about that?

Only one MH charity, the national charity 'Mind' showed the slightest interest in commenting on this clear injustice however that interest, filtered through Mind's own ambitious plans to expand its role as a service provider, never quite materialised into the appropriate advocacy response most people would have expected from this national household name charity.

Indeed, a brief glance at the websites of your organisations is telling.

The Mental Health Foundation - preoccupied with organising exotic sponsored cycling holidays in South America to fund the increasingly refined lifestyles of its 'cut and paste' policy advisors and PR team.

Rethink - imploring people to play the Monday Lottery to help keep its coffers full and scrape back the money it wasted on its disasterous and counter productive ' Churchill in a Straitjacket ' campaign. .

Mental Health Media - selling service users products and services to help explain their rights.

Together - abstractly talking up concern for the 'happiness' of service users but doing nothing to combat injustice and abuse when its staff and projects are implicated.

The Richmond Fellowship - too busy trying to secure deals with NHS Trusts to waste much time worrying about impoverishing and discriminating against ordinary services users who get in their way.

Its time ordinary mental health service users sent out a loud and clear message to all the directors of all the major MH charities to let you know that we are keeping an eye on you and that we want funders and the general public to seriously think about what MH charities actually do for ordinary people with mental health problems before donating money to your organisations.

Please acknowledge receipt.

Des Curley

Sent to the following people

Andrew McCulloch
Director of The Mental Health Foundation

Jane Drabble
Chair of Mental Health Media

Paul Farmer
Director of Mind

Cliff Prior
Director of Rethink

Gil Hitchon

Angela Greatley
The Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health


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