So, judge whether it is still an Indymedia meriting even the name, or not, by whether you find this link works: www.indymediascotland.org/node/33234 In case it does not, here is the same story.
Last week's Sunday Post's health page was doing a mental health theme. It did a short report on how an affected person who had been in hospital has been referred onwards to a SAMH project as part of putting his life back together. It portrayed the project entirely positively and invited a charitable supporting interest in it from the public. It is Redhall Walled Garden, in west Edinburgh, a working project that functions by day attendance just like in a job, to do gardening or woodwork. This is not paid as a job, of course.
Why has Indymedia Scotland not made publicly available, any more than a Sunday paper there has, an exposee of hidden abuse, at a social work backed health project in Edinburgh? Redhall Walled Garden, after that Sunday paper did a positive story on it? These facts are backed up by the record of a complaint process.
The Sunday Post then ignored, and has not printed a word about today, the exposee I promptly sent in of how you can really get treated there. NB unlike most of the folks there I was not there for mental health, so SAMH can't contend that my story of Redhall is mental. Instead, at the time it was claiming to be suitable for the autistic condition Asperger's too, and Jobcentre referred me there on those grounds. They wanted me to get Redhall's theory of "recovery" towards routines of work, for work and employability are what it focusses on. Redhall's mental health associations could easily persuade the maltreated to remain silent and do nothing, out of embarrassment to have it known that they were there at all. In my time I remember some of Redhall's attenders feeling this embarrassment around that phase of their working lives and not feeling that a mental health project would be worth having references from, they would be stigmatising.
I am actually a man, but Imogen is the name I adopted during my last month at Redhall in response to the gender discrimination that was happening. It is the really used name I was known by there. I explained this to the Sunday Post and used the name with them too. If they had done their duty to correct their story, and if they had mentioned their source called Imogen, my identity would be totally clear to the peeps who had been at Redhall in my time.
5 years on, I am still struggling to plough through Edinburgh social work's complaints process, which is being mega-slow and appears to be dragging its feet intentionally. It is already 2 years since I had an advocate supported meeting with the council's director of mental health programmes John Armstrong, where he acknowledged how bad the experience sounded, but since then, in a complaint about messages about Redhall going unanswered, they have delayed their process by frequently promising answers and not delivering them. They and SAMH both have continued not to sack Redhall's manager.
Even before things go wrong, what sort of support does Redhall offer? The work there is often miserably muddy, long sessions of standing amid puddles shovelling compost into bags for them to sell. That was just exploitative, when we were not paid employees. When we prepared vegetable beds for planting, they just used to keep us digging over them endlessly to fill up the working time slot concerned. This hardly attracts you to gardening, it makes it seem over the top labour intensive. The skills training they claim to give you is a joke. You just get one-off experiences of different tasks as the occasion arises for them, it's not enough to retain any learning from, but they assume you will. Students of nursing/mental health do short placements there, one was astonished how working orders were barked at her and us all, in a place that claimed to be a gentle refuge.
Worst of all, they are cynically keen on the emotionally uncaring glib idea "Let it go." This is their blanket answer given to anything and everything, every problem in an attender's present or past, including serious abuse histories. They don't want you to campaign or fight back about any of the stuff that has happened to you before. They argue that you can't have time for both this and recovering into a new working life, absurdly as if there was no such thing as time management. This indicated they want to encourage passivity, to produce compliant citizens.The concern is that this is exactly what services like Jobcentre or psychiatrists would want.
Redhall's manager Jan Cameron read the equal opportunities policy as her answer to me in a site meeting, then away from the other peeps' hearing she told me it was unenforceable in practice. She told me that no rules to curb exclusion from groups or the whole community there, no anti-bullying rules against arbitrary personal antagonism, can be enforceable. She called such occurrences "life". She even argued that passivity, letting them happen, is healthier than the stress of fighting them. Staff member Robert Sless, speaking to me alongside her, said "Cliquiness is life." None of these were denied when I made my complaint, that means they stand as said, and no findings were made against their acceptability.
Cameron sided totally with a feeling that she explained that a small number of women held, that their feelings of comfort or discomfort towards the social presence of men should govern whether men were allowed to take part in all facets of the Redhall community's life. It extended into an idea that the men should have no innate liberty to attend any public event outside Redhall, in our own free time, but be dependent on all the Redhall women agreeing we should be invited.
This was begun with a woman who had for months been on good social terms with me of her own initiating, e.g. once asked me to help dig her allotment, and I was very far from being the man she saw most of, she used to attend regular social things outside Redhall with at least 3 other men. But suddenly out of the blue she took offence that I had attended a women's charity race in Glasgow that she was involved in, a mass public event with a thousands audience. Only after the event, without any indication before it, she said I should not have gone there unless she invited me, as if she owned Glasgow. After this, when a female student on short placement at Redhall invited the whole community to attend a comedy event at the Leith Festival itself done my a male Redhall attender, another woman cut me off aggressively half a sentence into declaring my intention to attend, and accuse me of aggression by so declaring.
Cameron asked me to be understanding and compliant towards all this, on grounds that some women have had safety issues with men in their past lives. If they want to have their own groups concerned with their own issues, that would be fine. It is bullying to say they can take over the whole life of a mixed gender community and dictate any level of exclusions they please to each other there. In what is supposed to be a healing community, this denied that the men had any support needs at all. We were never told of this discriminatory line against us before joining Redhall. Cameron also decided the inmates are entitled to divide each other into openly declared inner and outer circles of favour. She called this "life" too and said "we all do it". She said "I'm not going to beat about the bush" that an older man who regularly used to call the women "luvvy" and "darling" was in favour and was in the inner circle of the women causing the problem.
Cameron advised me to avoid the presence of women who there had been any stress with, and to consider myself and them to belong to different circles as a result of it, including to change where I sat at break and lunchtimes. Meaning, she advised me to exclude myself from the company I was used to, to cooperate in my own ill-treatment and become an excluded rejected person voluntarily, for gender discriminatory tyrants to have their way. She did not advise them to make any changes at all, she entirely advised only a victim of malicious behaviour to bow to it and become excluded by it. Redhall's objectives had included improving my confidence. My case history as an autistic was already of having more than a fair life's share of social marginalisation.
With the woman who was arrogant about Glasgow, Cameron held a supposed reconciliation session between us, for appearances' sake, then in the days directly following it, in total contradiction of it, they systematically discouraged us having anything to do with each other and criticised me for seeking to acknowledge her at all, as was part of reestablishing my community belonging. It was when they hammered me with this contradiction that my position there became intolerable. After enduring a few more days waiting for my opportunity to circulate an exposee note to the maximum number of other inmates, I left. When I made my complaint to SAMH, it included that the experience's impact had even desecrated my father's grave, because that same woman had a link to the location on the Clyde where my father's grave is.
When the SAMH investigator interviewed me, he abused my trust in the worst possible way when I was having to share difficult emotional baggage with him stressfully. He gave a faultlessly sympathetic hearing to my point about personal history, then made no mention of it whatever in his report. He did no more investigation than have single interviews with me and with Cameron. He did not even come back to us for reactions to each other's stories, and he spoke to nobody else. On this basis, leaving most of the complained details totally unanswered, he produced a contemptuously brief report of only 6 pages. In it he made findings there was no evidence of malpractice in a series of areas where he had not investigated at all whether there was. The only person who he upheld my complaint against, I had never made it against! This was a student, who was blatantly used as a convenient scapegoat instead of any permanent staff because she was no longer at Redhall. This was done behind her back, based on taking Cameron's word about her, without giving her any chance to defend herself.
To enquiry how any findings could be made that had not been investigated, and that you can't produce a valid report where a long list of complained items are left totally unanswered, they said he had decided it would "not best facilitate" me fitting back into the Redhall community "to point fingers at anyone". Meaning, they said openly he had decided it was better for me not to answer my complaint. They refused any settlement in which I could deduce the missing answers to specific items and draw up a list of them that would pin Redhall's community to function fairly. They fell back on saying you must appeal the findings unless you accept them - but corruptly, this meant appealing a decision not to answer the complaint instead of an actual answers. The first stage had not been done producing anywhere near a complete answer at all and so it needed redoing. The idea of needing to appeal that is corrupt bullying, the complaints process had simply not been carried out.
They offered to return me to Redhall only on terms of accepting the report as a complete answer and made clear that by it I would be tied not to reraise the same items, while they had not been tied to anything and nothing would have changed. A trick deal you would be born yesterday to take. Then they persisted in demanding an appeal instead of acknowledging that choosing not to answer things meant the first stage had not been done. While their published complaints procedure had no time limits in it, eventually SAMH's head office actually wrote: "The only recourse you have is to appeal the outcome. If we do not receive an appeal letter by [only a week hence] we shall consider this matter closed and will not enter into any further correspondence about it."
To a complaint made against this action too, they argued that it was their way of helpfully moving the process along in the interest of sparing me from distress from it being prolonged! It was such blatant bullying, openly in a letter, that a local forum on mental health standards took up lobbying a collective view on its unacceptability. They persisted creditably in the face of SAMH at first insulting them with a waffle answer transparently promising nothing. They succeeded in forcing SAMH into a whole complaints procedure review, resulting from this discrimination crisis in Redhall.
But this does not get Redhall itself reformed nor shown to be, nor redress for what peeps experienced there. The facade of an appeal process is only there for appearances, because it is done by a senior SAMH manager which you would think is a conflict of interest, predictably it just repeats the same result. What is scandalous is he was also a Choose Life coordinator, Greg Burgess, and no answer has ever been extracted from Choose Life about SAMH's standards. A local coordinator of a suicide prevention campaign helps SAMH to corruptly prevent exclusion discrimination and emotional abuse in its projects from being stopped or redressed. His report consisted only of saying he had visited Redhall, got a general impression that I was missed, and swallowed all their silly claims to have trained me in the various skills that in fact they had only given me ineffective brief tasters of. He too claimed to find no evidence for things without looking for any, and again there was no coming back to each side for reactions to each other's answers, as a proper investigation would have done.
SAMH continues to have the ethical nerve to apply for funds for Redhall from businesses. Because it is part of Hardest Hit, at Hardest Hit's Edinburgh demonstration in 2011 I was confronted without warning with the distress of a speaker from Redhall publicly painting as good a place that emotionally ill-treats its inmates so unscrupulously. I heckled her with the truth, which I hope was a revelation to her as she was a more recent Redhall attender than my time. Never did I never extract any willingness from Hardest Hit to acknowledge the issue let alone to issue any notice about it undoing the event's contribution to vulnerable people's ill-treatment and exploitation.
Your [i.e. the Sunday Post's] story on Redhall likewise has inadvertently unknowingly contributed to such, and now that you know, the responsibility toward a vulnerable group and abuse prevention that you took on by reporting supportively on Redhall is now met by undoing this, exposing the real picture.