Monday, 7 October 2013

TV Review: Inside Broadmoor, Episode 2

The way this episode was introduced got me very excited (if that's the right word) for it as it said they wouldn't just focus on the history but also on the debates around it's very existence.
It began where the last episode ended; with John Straffen's escape in 1952.
I found it ironic that they also discussed that stories on Broadmoor sold newspapers (especially considering my previous post) and promoted that the place was to be feared and that mental health was also to be feared.
I couldn't believe that the new Medical Superintendent brought his family to live on the premises! It was sad that his son had memories from the age of 7 at hearing a scream coming from the most notorious ward but I found it encouraging that his father responded by saying that the patient must be having a difficult night. Leading his seven year old son to acknowledge that it was a scream of inner pain and torment and not violence or danger. The son also explains how he saw concern and sympathy on his father's face. Setting him up to be surprisingly non-judgemental of the mentally unwell.
I'm always fascinated by the idea that there was once no anti-psychotic tablets and that the invention of it was thought a miracle.
The programme went on to illustrate how patient's behaviour can actually affect or impact staff when another patient managed to escape under the new Medical Superintendent's management. He went on to hire a Psychologist to try to better understand the reasons behind their actions.
One thing that I'm not sure I support is that it's still classed as a hospital in terms of their dedication being to treating the patients and releasing them. This stands, although I'm assured is rarely the case, that a patient could be released earlier than they would have should they have served a sentence in prison for their crime. I wonder if perhaps they should still serve their sentence relevant to their crime but while undergoing the treatment for their illness.
I was very shocked to hear of a fourteen year old being admitted to Broadmoor and managed to be released to go into a career that made it possible for him to repeat his original crime of poisoning.
The next shocking part was of the two twins who had only committed arson and were sent to Broadmoor because of their (undiagnosed) selected mutism. They were locked away with murderers and rapists when they had hurt no one. It was thought that for a time, patients were admitted to Broadmoor when a prison had no idea what to do with them. It reminded me of an experiment once when a number of students merely claimed they heard voices and were admitted and/or treat with medication.
Psychopaths... I'm not sure that I have an adequate understanding on this diagnosis to form an opinion but from what is said on the programme I don't think persistent anti-social behaviour, aggression and a lack of empathy for other people should warrant a very serious mental health diagnosis. And I am unable to see how Psychopaths also fall under the heading of a 'severe personality disorder.' The next is a direct comment from Professor Tony Maden, a Psychiatrist at Broadmoor from 2001 - 2012.
"People with personality disorders are at the extreme end of the spectrum; they're always aggressive. These people can be very dangerous The difference from a mental illness like schizophrenia is that your personality doesn't come and go. It's your personality and you're stuck with it until you die. "
Speaking as a diagnosed Borderline Personality Disorder sufferer I find that fairly disheartening. He made it sound as though there's no hope for those with PDs. It's a death sentence.
And then the government changed the law; severe personality disorders became viewed as dangerous enough to warrant an admission to Broadmoor.
And then to move Peter Sutcliffe to Broadmoor from a prison for his own safety? And they say now that he will probably remain locked away because of his crimes even though he's more mentally stable. The edges have blurred of the Hospital purpose.