As some of us start to enjoy the first tentative signs of spring and try to manage our tiredness and frustration with the last few months of lockdown, spare a thought for the clinicians trying to keep things going in the specialities most affected by Covid19. There is no recovery plan for them at service … Continue reading Caring for the Carers
Last week, John, Chris and myself, the three authors of Intelligent Kindness, did a webinar for the Royal College of Psychiatrists, ‘In Place of Fear’ You can watch it here if you’re interested: In Place of Fear We provoked some interesting discussion, and the hour flew by quickly with themes left hanging and questions left … Continue reading In Place of Fear – an on-going conversation.
I was told this week about a 93 year old Russian woman, the mother of a friend, who has been talking about these Covid times as being worse than the hardships of living in Russia during the second world war or at any time in between. It’s not the only comparison to the Second World … Continue reading Struggling Against the Grain
Months of various degrees of lockdown have squished my memory, fusing time, order and clarity but some scenes will remain etched for ever. I share them with you in no particular order but I shall start with my Dad’s illness and death in December which for obvious reasons loom large. The grim night I spent … Continue reading Human nature: fragments from 2020
In the early days of the pandemic, during those balmy April days when the sun shone down on grassy verges bursting to life at the sides of empty roads, whilst health care staff were managing levels of agonising illness and mortality they had never experienced before, it only took a blackbird singing or a particularly … Continue reading We need to talk about Death
Thank you to Toni Fazaeli for her response to my last blog post, drawing my attention to an article in the New Scientist on ‘Missed Connections’. The article focuses on social connections, from casual conversations on the bus to relationships with extended family and friends. All are much reduced in the present circumstances, and closely … Continue reading The Erosion of Social Capital
What a relief to hear Chris Whitty and others finally start to talk about the balance of risk. This concept seems to have been sadly lacking from the public discourse over the last few months when it should have been fundamental to our understanding and strategy. Bear with me as I use an example from … Continue reading Balancing Risk
What has been going on with Covid-19 in Leicester? I’m intrigued. The high number of cases, identified in early June - now thankfully coming down - has not been reflected in a significant increase in hospital admissions or even clinical presentations to GPs. Why should this be? Back in June, when it was clear that … Continue reading Questions, questions, questions….
Leicester citizens are struggling. We knew there was a local spike in cases of Covid-19 and thought the powers-that-be might delay shops, pubs and restaurants opening in parts of the city, but the announcement of such a strict lock-down came as a horrible shock. Up till then, it had felt as if our hopes had … Continue reading The Longest Lock-down in the World
I have avoided writing about mental health services so far, because the subject is too close to my heart and the situation such that I don’t know where to start. But this morning I had an upsetting call from a family member, A, a young nurse on an elderly mental health ward. Since the pandemic … Continue reading Left Behind?
Since the pandemic started, I have been offering psychological support to staff working on Covid19 wards in the local hospitals, as well as speaking to friends and family on the ‘frontline’. “I feel like a bad nurse”, or a variation on this theme, is probably the most common sentiment expressed – be it nurse, doctor, … Continue reading Moral Injury
Well the last blog seemed to attract very mixed responses with some people feeling I should have expressed more obvious fury. In fact, I’ve been outraged for many years with the role Dominic Cummings has taken in government. But I was interested in coming at the story from a different angle and had been quite … Continue reading ‘Turning a blind eye’
Is it possible to write about Dominic Cummings and Intelligent Kindness in the same blog? I’m going to give it a try. First, I have a huge amount of sympathy for an overworked harassed man whose wife contacts him to say she feels so ill she can’t look after their four year old. The situation … Continue reading Cummings and goings
Last week we held a virtual family bake-off to celebrate my grand-daughter, Poppy’s first birthday. A lovely occasion but the context made it poignant. I would give a lot to have her warm little body cuddled-up in my lap, or play ‘this little piggy went to market’ with her tiny toes, or feel the triumphant … Continue reading Granny Deprivation
There is a deep-seated impulse in most of us to roll our sleeves up and try to engage with, and help each other, in a crisis. Most of my career as a medical psychotherapist was spent running a therapeutic community for young adults whose personalities had been pushed badly out of joint by very difficult … Continue reading Community and creativity: doing our best for each other
I’m left wanting to pick up a difficult issue in Chris and John’s blog on the harmful effects of Blame. Of course I understand that Covid-19 is beyond anyone’s control, that people were going to die however prepared and competent our leaders. I understand that our need to blame someone in these circumstances can make … Continue reading So what do we do with our anger then?
Someone needs to think about our nurseries. Most of them are closed although they are supposed to be open for the children of key workers. I’ve heard frontline staff complain that even where they are open, they are reluctant to take the children of NHS workers because of the perceived risk of infection – so … Continue reading So where are the kids?
I am a republican through and through and have never had much interest in the extravagant rituals and seedy scandals that surround our royal family. Nevertheless, the Queen in her old-age has grown on me, and her address to the nation last Sunday seemed to manage a level of wisdom and humanity that our politicians … Continue reading The containing role of leadership