5th August 2016

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Ed Smith
Chair of Not-Monitor, or whatever it's called.  In conversation with Roy L
Good conversation, networking and a glass of wine.  What's not to like!
Get on with it
News and Comment from Roy Lilley
It has been the home of writers, artists, the upper middle classes and cab drivers.
T.S. Elliot lived there.  In the square you'll find the hotel where some 'Titanic passengers' stayed, overnight, before joining their fateful journey the following day.
In the corner, one of the thirteen remaining Cabmen's Shelters; the small green ornate sheds that serve incomparable bacon sandwiches to London's taxi drivers.
Look carefully in the gardens, in the centre and you will see, at the foot of an oak tree, a silver plaque commemorating the tributes that were laid in remembrance of those who suffered in the London Bombings of 7th July 2005.  

We are in Bloomsbury, just along the road from Tavistock Square... in Russell Square.
The day before yesterday I passed through Russell Sq.  Once a sweeping centre of quiet elegance, now across the road from the University of London's main buildings; packed with students from around the world and a pass-through for tourists... it looks tired.  Drained of its once famous energy.
Pavements speckled with the detritus of chewing gum and litter.  Road signs, street signs, neon signs, so many signs they become an invisible visual blur.
The streets painted with white signs, yellow lines, pink lines, warnings and hazards.  Look-left-right, look here, don't step there.  Instructions and warnings.  Pavements uneven, flag-stones broken, holes, trips and traps for the unwary.  The London Borough of Camden neglects the Square; a victim of austerity, no doubt.
The tube station pours out tourist during the day and sucks in office workers later.  It is a Pret-a-Mess.
The once elegant buildings are now schools for foreign language companies, businesses, institutes and societies.
How would I know just a day later, the Square would be the scene of another tragedy?  A killing in the street.
Six people were stabbed in an attack in Russell Square. One person killed, five injured.
The official logs will tell you; London's Metropolitan Police and London Ambulance Services arrived at 2233hrs.
Six people were found injured with one woman later pronounced dead at the scene. One man was arrested after being tasered by police.
The Police are exploring terrorism as a possible motive but later added; "mental health is a significant factor in this case."
The suspect is a 19-year-old male and the deceased victim a woman in her 60s.
'Mental health', a significant factor...
Talk to policemen and women and they will tell you 'mental health' plays a significant factor in 40% of the incidents they are called to.  Some days it can be as high as 80%.
Police services have become the front line for mental health services.  In many parts of the country community mental health workers are part of police response teams.
Our mental health services are the Russell Square of the NHS; full, confusing, threadbare, neglected, exhausted and the scene of tragedy.  Struggling to cope. 
The number of deaths, annually, among mental health patients in England has risen 21% over the last three years from 1,412 to 1,713.  If they were hip-replacement patients we would have acted by now.
In January the Guardian reported:
"...the number of those killing themselves or trying to do so has increased, by 26% from 595 in 2012-13 to 751 in 2014-15. It covers both those being treated as inpatients for serious mental health problems and also those who are being cared for while still living at home."
If cataract replacement patients killed themselves we would have acted by now.
What do we know about mental health?  More than one in four of us with have a problem with the way we think and behave; depressed, anxious. 
Move to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and most of us would know more about how a rocket gets to the moon than why a nineteen year old boy would take a knife and stab six people in the street.
The weight of depression, the black dog, whispering voices, isolation, loneliness, fear, uncontrollable mood swings, manic obsession, hallucinations, delusions.  What do we know of any of this?
Our repertoire to combat these illnesses; drugs that might have side effects that are likely to make the patient feel worse and talking  therapies that have a queue to access them that would reach around Russell Square and back.
NHSE has promised mental health; a report, prevention, access, integration and a billion quid.
It's a start - get on with it.
Have a good weekend.
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Know something I don't - email me in confidence.
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26th Sept Kings Fund  5.30pm.
Ed Smith 
Chair of Not-Monitor 
(I must find out what they are called!)
Great evening in prospect.  He has a huge experience and a raconteur 
Plus the usual wine and networking. 
Special ticket prices
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