Trinity College Dublin 1997 to 2003 but no Degree (18,300 words). Part II is essay “Can mental illness be seen as a social deviance?” by Michelle Clarke

20th July 2019: National screening 2017 revealed breast cancer.  I advanced a little further and I wrote a book:  Title Fortune Favours the Brave.  Maybe it would be better to read the book than this essay which was my final submission to Trinity College Dublin, as requested, but I never received any acknowledgement.  I just drifted into further ill-health.  Publishers: Michael Terence, Oxford, UK.




Manic depression. The highs and the lows, the possibilities that become impossible. Unlike other students with disabilities I did not have a special needs assistant until the third and final year. The Disabilities Department (representing students with a variety of disabilities) at Trinity College Dublin requested a meeting with me in 2002. My health/disabilities case history could possibly enable a case to be put before the relevant people in the BESS (Business Economics and Social Studies) faculty at Trinity College Dublin which would allow for an alternate assessment instead of completion of final 3rd year examinations. This, at that time, was a most attractive option, if it could be achieved. Somehow, probably as my health deteriorated rapidly, the ambition lost momentum but not without meetings between the professors of the various departments related to BESS, the counselling service (Tenia Kalinok), Ivor Crotty (teaching assistant) who was assigned 1 hour per week with me for the 2002/2003 year. It was agreed that two essays be completed but then there was confusion that five essays or even 10 essays would be required.

It is important to note that at this time in 2003, all assignments, projects had been completed successfully by me and yes I have them all on lever arch files and on computer.

I continued trying to keep the channels of communication open throughout my period of illness, as detailed. I think the following letter best explains how I engaged with the communication. What made communication so difficult is that being partially deaf and with memory deficits as a result of brain damage, I don’t use the phone for communication. I use email. As an introduction I start with this letter written in 2011 to then Provost Hegarty (now replaced by Provost Prendergast) because for over a decade successful communication with the College faltered and I remain in a situation where I engaged with Trinity College Dublin but we failed to negotiate and achieve the outcome ie a Degree for a student with disabilities who had completed the lectures, the course work, the projects, the group assignments.

Last email to Trinity College Dublin

Subject: Professor Hegarty, Provost, Trinity College Dublin:
Best wishes. Enjoy the Queen of England and the visit to Trinity.
A degree that might be possible!!!!
Date: Fri, 13 May 2011 09:58:18 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Provost

Dear Provost Hegarty

I am listening to you now on the radio.

You may or may not know me via my email onslaught.

With great interest I enjoyed your comment about learning ‘as distinct from
exams’. Trinity BESS gave me, with the neuro-psychiatric complications associated due to a horse riding accident, an opportunity to engage with learning albeit at a snails pace. Trinity Horizon project 1997  carried out the initial research via Centre for Women Studies on ‘How to re-integrate women in society with depression’. I was one of the first 15 researched. I then gained access to Trinity College BESS…..I stumbled, I fell, I got hospitalised, ECT too but got back and nearly made it over the final hurdle and fell yet again. This was 2003, the diagnosis was debilitating chronic fatigue – all I do is very little but the education, the confidence, the ability to learn, the use of adaptive technology gained during my years in Trinity College has allowed me to live with a few hours each day…repetitive routine and rest but participating in society by writing.

Catriona Curtis is the last person to correspond with me from Trinity College Dublin. Under the auspices of the Disabilities department and with the support of my Psychologist Tenia Kalinok, Counselling Service Trinity, who I attended for nearly 4 years, the plan was to see if my exceptional health circumstances (i.e. Acquired Brain Injury, Bipolar and exceptional anxiety) would allow me to complete my final exams by way of essays.

I know 2003 is many years ago now but maybe somebody might be able to review my file and see if the outcome of those meetings between BESS professors, the Disabilities team, Declan Treanor, Brian Lucey (Tutor), Counseling service, Tenia Kalinok Counseling Service, ever had an impact on policy and an outcome. I hold a keen interest naturally in the works of Professor Ian Robertson and the neuroscience department also.  If so, maybe I can conclude the degree.

I did submit what was required but there was a conflict about the number of essays: The file was left with BESS on the due date in November 2003 for the attention of Professor Dermot McAleese, Dean of Business and therein I find little correspondence since then.

10 years is a long time and I am sure you will miss Trinity. I wish you the very best in the future. Enjoy the visit of the Queen of England. It is historical times and Peace – let it flow.


Michelle Clarke
Jonathan Swift
‘Give vision to the visionless’

PS: I have progressed to being another research sample in Trinity College Dublin.
TILDA (Professor Kenny – Trinity College Dublin), a study of people aged 50 and monitoring their health and social progress over years. The details of this will be included in my health history file. Samples of hair and blood are now registered with Trinity College Dublin and St James’s Hospital.

Alternate Assessment to final 3rd year BESS exams as a precedent using my case history as proposed by the Disabilities Department Trinity College, Counseling services


March 2015 and now I have reached acceptance that there can be no BESS degree for me from Trinity College Dublin. Too much time has elapsed and it would be impossible for me to return to Trinity College and again seek alternate assessment or to complete the final exams. Instead I am going to take the opportunity of traversing the digital divide and making available to all readers what exactly I did in anticipation of receiving my Degree in 2003.

I prepared a folder for presentation to Professor McAleese, BESS Department, Trinity College Dublin for submission November 17th 2003. It was not acknowledged formally but was referred to in correspondence over the decade that ensued. What I eventually submitted was not exactly as requested because the submission date was November 2003 and my extreme exhaustion/burn-out left me very sick and I had no access to either special needs assistance or to the library. However, I do think what I presented merits some form of recognition even if just negative and No. I have so many boxes of files and I know somewhere there is an exact replica of what I presented that day in November 2003 but I cannot find it. At this point I must state that I was greatly hampered when my only computer hard-drive was removed from my apartment on the instructions on An Garda Siochana for a period in excess of two years, for reasons unknown.  The GSOC finally intervened and my hard drive was returned and I once again had access to all my Trinity College Dublin correspondence, files, reports, projects, emails, essays. It is from these files I can now proceed.

The essay CAN MENTAL ILLNESS BE UNDERSTOOD AS A FORM OF SOCIAL DEVIANCE? although written in September 2003 for practical purposes will be appear in PART II. There was a rapid deterioration in my health between September when I completed the essay and November 17th 2003 when I tried to address my reasons for not complying and providing a second essay. I must point out that mobility and an inability due to head injury to use phones I was unable to effectively communicate with the relevant personnel in Trinity College Dublin. Instead I sought justification and included articles written by me on social issues on Irish Health site, these will be identified as PART III.


Essay and explanation submitted to Professor McAleese as requested for completion date 17th November 2003

The essay was completed first and what is written below has been amended but only slightly because it is necessary to reflect how manic depression, complicated by frontal lobe brain damage due to Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and the onset of chronic fatigue impacted on the final submission as requested by Trinity College Dublin marked for the attention of Professor McAleese, BESS (Business Economics and Social Studies) Department, Arts Building. I hold the original on file if anyone wants to access it or for that matter it may still be available at Trinity College Dublin in the file format I submitted.

File folder presented to BESS Department for the attention of ProfessorMcAleese 17th November 2003. I will always be an activist for the marginalised even without the qualification of a BESS Degree from Trinity College Dublin but always with the confidence that I have gained what I truly value and that is learning and an education. (Up-dated March 2015).

Email submitted as agreed with Trinity College Dublin, 17th November 2003

The Dean
Professor D. McAleese
BESS Faculty
Arts Building
Trinity College Dublin
Dublin 2.

17th November 2003

Dear Professor McAleese

I refer to your letter dated 21st August 2003. Having applied ‘Hasten slowly’.

No is my answer – the content is not acceptable.

I completed the 1st essay as requested title Can mental illness be understood as a form of social deviance? I completed same in September 2003 and realized that my case is ‘not understood’ and that the option you provide is tokenism for my exit from Trinity.

The rest of the correspondence is self explanatory.

I was asked by Declan Treanor, Disabilities Department, Trinity College Dublin to return to Trinity in 2002/2003 to complete my 3rd year BESS degree based the most unusual grounds of neurological brain damage; bipolar illness; anxiety and 5 senses affected from the brain damage, as it was considered the most probable means of effecting a precedent case for alternate assessment provision for people with similar levels of disabilities as outlined by me. The motivation was to make alternate assessment a possibility for those who by health circumstances are ‘different’ but entitled to be included.

I can only say that the professionalism one would expect from a University of such renown is lacking. The only constant support I have had is through the Centre for Women Studies; Dr. Margret Fine-Davis and Dr. Mary McCarthy; and from the Psychology Department and Tenia Kalinok who worked consistently with me over 4/5 years. Individuals also were most supportive and this includes students, lecturers, teaching assistants, tutors, and fellow students particularly those with disabilities.

It is my request that I be afforded the respect that has been lacking. I want my case history of mental illness ‘bipolar’ complicated by anxiety and serious brain damage affecting 5 senses ‘understood’ within the context of acceptable parameters. I was asked in 2002 by Declan Treanor, Disabilities Department Trinity, with my agreement, for medical reports; neuro-psychological reports and provided same. I acted contrary to the
advice of my psychiatrist, Dr Jim Maguire and others. I feel committed by way of life experience to speak out as a human being first and as an individual about the non-inclusion of people due to Trinity College Dublin’s strict regimentation and an inability to adapt.

This file is a sample of the correspondence with Trinity; a sample of letters I write concerning social justice based on the education I have received and the experiences in life I have encountered. The story written in February 2002 was in desperation to no response to myriads of explanations about my health relating to the Senior Tutors correspondence. I was assured that my input would have been minimal. It proved to be
quite the contrary and futile.

I provide a sample of articles written for Fergal Bowers. I started writing when I became virtually immobile in March 2003 and could not sleep. I will prepare an index.


Michelle Clarke.

March 20 2015: I have removed certain personal data but it is held on file.
Where necessary I have updated the correspondence.

Notes attached:

As manic depression (I prefer this definition to bipolar) is evident from what you will read below, I have had to make some amendments but I retain enough to show that the mind is ‘scattered’ but the intention is an underlying need to seek improvement in the conditions of those who are marginalised in society and who can benefit from third level education. It is essential to realise this was written in 2003 and it is now 2015 so significant changes apply. (There is nothing that substantially alters what was submitted, apart from order. I cannot locate the duplicate hard copy file so am relying on data files on the computer).


The introduction to the Folder submitted to Professor McAleese,  17th November 2003, BESS dept, Trinity College Dublin by Michelle Clarke

I have selected this poem to include with the submission.

First they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for the communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a communist

They they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade Unionist

Then they came for me
And there was no one left to speak out for me.

Profound: This was written by Pastor Niemoeller (Victim of the Nazis)

I have been using what energy I have trying to be a voice but it is a wilderness. No-one listens or hears.

Alternate Assessment was what I sought as a precedent for others. (As stated previously, this project was initiated by the Disabilities Department in Trinity College Dublin under the direction of (Declan Treanor, and Orlaith O’Brien). Again the correspondence is significant. A full outline of my medical case history and reports from the relevant medical professionals and neuro-psychologist, Dr Martina McEnroe-O’Connor, with personal notes (on request) were submitted initially in 2002 and throughout 2003 to the year 2015).

The file is for you to determine the decision or to be more apt the inability of Trinity College Dublin, BESS department, to acknowledge receipt of my submission to Professor McAleese thereby ignoring rather than acknowledging receipt on the due date of 17th November 2003. I would question the ability of people to understand ethics, humanity and inclusiveness.

Factors for consideration about people with Disabilities:

The significance of the year is that 2003 was European Year for People with disabilities.

Selected pieces published by Fergal Bowers will form the final part of this submission (see Part III).

Quotations selected: (2015 clarification: I am unable to retain by rote memory anything, again this reflects frontal lobe damage to the brain.  I have used quotations because this is part of my coping strategy, much as I now use twitter to augment my memory daily.

‘Into every tiny scheme for arranging the pattern of human life, it is
necessary to inject a certain dose of anarchism – enough to prevent
immobility leading to decay, but not enough to bring about disruption’
Bertrand Russell: Skeptical Essays

Thank you Ivor (Special needs assistant assigned to me for 1 hour each week in my final year), for treating me with respect, intellect and dignity and for introducing me to Erving Goffman. This significant quote in 2015 I would suggest deeply excoriates what it is like to have mental health complicated by traumatic brain injury within a hostile academic environment.

To explain further the significance of illness especially mental illness,  I refer to:

Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity:

‘For example while the mental patient is in the hospital, and when he is
with adult members of his own family, he is faced with being treated
tactfully as if he were sane when there is known to be some doubt, even
though he may not have any; or he is treated as insane when he knows
this is not just. But for the ex-mental patient, the problem can be
quite different; it is not that he must face the prejudice against
himself, but rather that he must face unwitting acceptance of himself by
individuals who are prejudiced against persons of the kind, he can be
revealed to be. Wherever he goes his behaviour will falsely confirm to
the other that they are in the company of what in effect they demand but
may discover they haven’t obtained, namely a mentally untainted person
like themselves. By intention or in effect the ex mental patient
conceals information about self that I am focusing on in these notes’

March 2015. This may appear confusing in the midst of what ought to be a submission but I would ask the readers to take account of what manic depression is and I quite evidently ruminated on how my declaration of being mentally ill as well as having traumatic injury could prejudice my position. Quotations play a significant part in my rehabilitation because of the memory deficits associated severe limits to short term memory.

Please note: 2001/2002 absent due to illness

Return from illness, but became ill with another condition Academic

Year: 2002/2003

The Purpose:
To establish precedent for alternate assessment.  The proposition was presented to me by Disabilities Department, Trinity College Dublin. The evidence speaks for itself, so I now choose to include a relevant sample. As stated previously I hold hard copies on computer and hardcopy files.


I was asked for medical reports from my psychiatrist and neuro-psychiatrist but albeit the Disabilities Department already held two of Dr Martina McEnroe O’Connor, neuro-psychologists reports, they required a third. They also received a report from Dr Jim Maguire (Psychiatrist). I attended two appointments inspite of being in a poor state of health – these are disturbing and most comprehensive. Clearly, the comments made indicated people bluffed a knowledge of what a neuro-psychological assessment means i.e. apart from Tenia Kalinok, Counselling Department Trinity College Dublin. I also attended Professor Lorraine Cassidy, (Trinity College Dublin) Ophthalmologist (other conditions were found relating to the occipital area of the brain at the time of brain injury.  Again this appears to have been deemed irrelevant.

1915: My conclusion is that like a ship rudderless, the Disabilities Department in
Trinity detached from the mission to obtain alternate assessment based on
my exceptional disability related conditions.

In the words stated in 2003 with the submission made to Professor McAleese, Business Economics Social Studies, Trinity College Dublin.

I suspect: the decision had been made not to proceed with my case and I was not informed. The EU…/trinityfundinghorizon…/4707hori funded a person qualified to deal with my situation for two hours a week (1 hr received). The Disabilities Department in Trinity College Dublin based on my reports, my notes, emails, medical reports made the application. No one suggested paying for the neuro-psychology, psychiatric reports or anything else for that matter. In retrospect (and this is my view in 2003) this did not necessarily reflect procedure in relation to other students with disabilities.

Attending the counselor Tenia Kalinok, was by way of another student who suggested it when I returned after 5 months in hospital and 15 sessions of ECT. Two years later I had a most traumatic divorce with 7 lever arch files being brought into the court. There are other matters that are of no relevance but just cumulative life experience. Year 2003 post divorce I was called before the Annulment court, again most harrowing. Tenia was of key support.

2015 comment: It is necessary to note that all assignments, projects, essays were completed by me for the 2002-2003 academic year.

Account of this is necessary in the decision to provide alternate assessment surely. After the divorce, I continued at Trinity.  5 students – 3rd year decided to group together for our Qualitative Research project. We did considerable work that was rewarded with
either 74 or 76. 2 students continued on and received their Degree. This speaks volumes.

2015 and my chances of ever receiving a Degree from Trinity College Dublin are minimal in spite of completing three academic years and the relevant course work. The provision of alternate assessment would mean I would have to (14 years on) re-sit Third year BESS and that is untenable.

At the time it was explained to me that the the exponential growth of plagiarism would be the stumbling block to achieving alternate assessment.  This is a real problem for me to grasp and if considered is again based on the fact that the message “Ethics” is not being conveyed by the Disabilities Department to the decision makers about my case history and needs. It explains also the procedure to learn off other peoples’ essays as is so possible for many other students therefore providing education without understanding. My view in 2015 is that surely when the Disabilities Department decided to make application for alternate assessment, their grounds took account of my exceptional needs and that Ethics was core to my endeavours. I feel now that I did not receive the support required hence I have no Degree from Trinity College Dublin and yet it was my final year exam and all assignments were completed and successfully I must add).  Return to 2003 submission to Professor McAleese.

Information concerning people with disabilities included:
(this can be contextualised with what achievements have occurred in the last decade)
2003 – Year for the Special Olympics Ability and Talent

We have evidence yet we have so many organizations representing others that the individual’s needs that are mainly case specific are in fact  neglected.

Funded by Irish Exchequer and supported under the National Development
Plan 2000-2006

  • ‘Ready Willing and Able’
  • An Employer’s guide to hiring people with a disability.
  • Over 2,000 people with disabilities receive skills training, through
    FAS, to prepare them for the labour market
  • There are 800 people with disabilities studying in Third Level Institutions. Please note very few people are willing identify with mental health history. (I chose to be open having made the decision at the Trinity Horizon (1997) project (presently Horizon 2020)…/trinityfundinghorizon…/4707). All I want to say is I witnessed others particularly, men (clever men) drift out of the net within the confines  of an Educational system that is supposed to be moving towards inclusion.
  • Many more students with disabilities complete 2nd level education.
  • Inclusion Europe – Fighting discrimination in Europe
    (Inclusion works with the European Commission; and the European Parliament. They convey what their members want. They are involved with self-advocates and their parents in 29 European Countries).
  • The European Association of Societies of Persons with intellectual disability and their family.
  • Objectives:
    To fight against discrimination
    Human rights for people with intellectual disabilities
    Inclusion of all people in society
  • The European directive further endorse provisions for people with disabilities
    Reasonable accommodation
    Positive actions for disabled people are allowed
    Defending your rights
    The right to information (Inability of Trinity College Dublin to respond by email: an
    effective method of communication and assisting a person with special needs)

With 350,000 people with disabilities living in Ireland, we have taken the initiative and brought it closer to home. A total of 46 projects have been chosen to receive EU funding and government grants to further goals and objectives.  Funding of Euros500,000 has been provided by the European Commission and the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. Awareness raising youth and disability, rights, responsibilities and partnership employment are to be beneficiaries.

What the law states?  

The Equal Status Act 2000 https:// › Home › Informations  outlaws discrimination against people with disabilities in employment and vocational training. 70% average of people with disabilities are not in employment.  The Government is committed to bringing through disability employment this year or

Individualism; accommodation; humanity; equality; freedom; justice
Michelle – a student funded by the EU and the State asks the question:

Why discriminate?

I suggest that health may prevent me fitting into the necessary economic model. However I do have a distinct value a social capital worth and experience.  I did not ask for acquired brain injury and the onset of mental illness at the age of 32. I have a wide variety of life experiences. In 6 weeks during a bipolar episode Fergal Bowers approved for publication over 140 articles. My physical capabilities diminished, as Lithium invoked metabolism problems, and the hospital had lost my regular set of bloods. It did not stop me wanting to assist others. This is my choice of social capital. Money can do nothing to improve my life now.

Some examples: As long as my depression is at bay – life is good in an uncomplicated walk down Wellington Road to Baggot Street and a chat to the young girls in the coffee shop. I get to read the paper. You see this is where education assists me. The minute I read it is gone to oblivion but evidently the oblivion is the subconscious and I read something and all those lectures I attended at Trinity, which I fail to remember in a structured form, but in a subliminal way, means there is an understanding that enables me to engage with life. Today’s news linked to pre-accident memory and whatever is subliminal enable me to write about events. I carry the diary that the neuro-surgeon in Zimbabwe told me I would have to carry for the remainder of my life.

Participation related to social contributions while at Trinity College Dublin:-

Centre for Women Studies, Trinity College Dublin. Dr Margret Fine-Davis; Dr Mary McCarthy

Mental Health and the Workplace – Challenges and Opportunities.
Maura and I (both from the first group of 15 people researched by Trinity Horizon project 1996/1997 which included Aware also)…true, spoke about our life experiences as people with mental health problems. Maura is at least a decade younger than me. The conference was held in a lecture theatre in the Arts block, Trinity College Dublin. This was attended by medical professionals in psychiatry; psychology, nurses, social workers and other invited guests. The message was that these professionals do not wish to harm us; in fact it is the concern they have for people with mental health problems and the real futility that exists.

I was asked by KS who was studying at Trinity College Dublin (Social Science) if I would speak to her about mental illness. I knew her from Zimbabwe and felt obliged. This was particularly difficult scenario for me and in retrospect I would caution ethics as a priority when engaging in such research.  (I brought this up at a lecture by Professor Holton as did another student with similar experiences to me. The assumption that the ‘patient’ knows nothing because the aspiring social worker has already assumed the mantle of ‘Social Worker’ leaves the procedure wide open to problems for the interviewee.
(Notes available).

CH a young newly qualified social worker, whom I had met in the Disabilities room, Trinity College Dublin, asked if she could cover my mental health history. It was difficult I was extremely unwell but CH was willing to learn and I knew her objective was to help others. She is now a Mental Health Social worker in Swords. She will confirm it was a very slow process because of my weakness but we got there. CH was possibly the one person who assuaged me with a very simple message. She had cerebral palsy from birth and was never afraid or intimidated, she astutely stated the obvious. She observed that I constantly compared the now and before ie prior to my accident in 1993 and was extremely hard on myself. She helped me gain courage and acceptance. (Completed report available on request).

A partial biography (files exist): It forms the transition of four years counseling at Trinity College Dublin with Tenia Kalinok (Counselling service) and prior to that with Dr. Mary McCarthy, Centre for Women Studies.  It is a biography of a person who moved home 32 times by the age of 43.  It is with this piece of work I intend to promote that Government Ministers foster a concept that people who have had very disturbing
experiences in their lives be provided with education and counseling services within the confines of formal education. This implies a reduction in compensation awards and providing people with coping mechanisms through counseling in the environment of a university campus. In England, they speak of Mental Health Survivors. Let us
consider this option. The shortfall in the compensation amount could be paid to those providing the education.

This document has been given to the Centre for Women Studies together with articles I write, letters to government ministers regarding social justice, letters to Mr. Justice Barr concerning the John Carthy, https:// ›What We Do › Crime & Law Enforcement › Tribunals about whom I feel very strongly. John Carthy coincidentally was in the same class as a fellow student in the Disabilities room and my concern is that John had a manic depression (like me) mental health diagnosis and I have experience of the situations that arise. I personally link drug addiction; mental illness; alcoholism as very close relatives. The cause and the programme is the approach that I would suggest. When I was more mobile (mobility problems due to 100% deafness in my right ear post accident) I attended the evening lectures on these topics. The issue is the competitive factor. Linkages are required. Perhaps the time has changed towards what is consensual. It is my humble wish (and of the other participants who are in contact with me) that the Government decide to re-introduce the concept of the Trinity Horizon Project via FAS, as originally planned. Unfortunately,they deemed it too costly.

The Centre for Women Studies has asked me to sit on the panel relating to mental health. The National Flexi Work-Plan.… is EU funded and supported by Aware, ICTU, IBEC, Trinity, Age Action. Of particular concern to me presently is genetic profiling and I have raised this at a prior meeting. I have also raised the issue that how are we expected to make employers aware of mental health issues when the academics in our elite Universities do not ‘want’ to understand.

Certain lecturers expressly said to me that they value my input at lectures and tutorials. It was Sean Barrett that was the first person that roused in me that ‘voice’ that allowed me to say I don’t agree. Until then I was most intimidated. Education is the only route out of disabilities so profound as mental health and traumatic brain injury and there are two quotes which I will share with you that give me


‘You have to be the change you want to see’

‘I am going to live as if I am going to die tomorrow and learn as if I
am going to learn for the rest of my life.


Yes, I know I can make a contribution. I also know unless I had picked up that random form in the Aware magazine and applied for the Trinity Horizon project I would rest
in an abyss, most likely in assisted living or residential care.

Trinity hardened me; stimulated my mind – the kind of mind that Lord Byron described as a ‘boiling mind’. It gave me an identity: I was free to say I am Mentally Ill, I sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury that was deemed near fatal by the medical profession but the bastions of Academia are opening up to us. The irony being of course that many of the figure heads that attract tourists were products of the same mental illness. Jonathan Swift, had Meningers as I have but people labeled it mentally ill whereas I can say it was per consequence of my brain injury. Let me also say I am in contact with most of the first 15 from the Trinity Horizon Research project and when my health would falter; their
fear would make me try to keep going. People who volunteer like we did and who have a diagnosis of Depression are committed to ensuring a cure, a method of dealing with it, not just for us but our fellow sufferers. The programme ‘I was You’ recently is so poignant to each of us because we feel that is where we are going.

I completed the first essay ‘Can mental illness be seen as a form of Social Deviance’. I realized that the lever arch file (the negotiation process instigated by the Disabilities Department involving the counselling services and others) that resulted in the meeting that brought about your letter, did not convey understanding either of me or the intellectual, physical and emotional difficulties I have. Tenia Kalinok the psychologist understood and she attended the meeting. She has now left Trinity counselling to work overseas. It has been said about your letter that it was apparent Trinity just wanted to pacify me with a token degree. I have mulled this over now and concur with this opinion.

The handling of this matter has been most distressing. I clearly established with Disabilities representative Declan Treanor that I was interested in establishing a precedent so that other students with health complications would be treated in an appropriate manner. If anyone chooses to read the correspondence that must be on file – given that a meeting was held – it clearly states the position.

Trinity dealt with my situation by establishing an Invisible Wall like the Chinese Wall in Corporate Finance departments. I am so numb from oblivion that the motive of precedent would have been suffice for me to keep fighting.

The National Disability Authority is adjacent to where I live. I noted that Professor Holton, was representing Trinity College Dublin on the Mental Health Advisory Committee on the 23rd of October 2003. I became very distressed. I wrote to him, enclosing the essay and the letter that is attached. The next meeting is in December 2003.

To conclude PART I:

I returned from the cardiologist the other day. You see the denial of me is so severe now that I am almost phobic. I cannot socialize with friends – I have limited energy now; I cannot travel because of the fear of a what I call ‘drop dead’ exhaustion. Social Justice is my prime concern and all I can do to achieve that is write and think but people scorn this because it is not compliant with their system of regulation. The reason I understand is that in my former life pre TBI and age 32 that was me– I traded currencies, I studied law, I worked as a PA, I organized conferences for the World Bank in Zimbabwe, I represented the Mashonaland Irish Association  through the auspices of the Department of Foreign Affairs for the visit of President Mary Robinson. I know.

The unprofessional way I was dismissed from Trinity College Dublin and the irrelevance placed on the neuro-psychological findings which involved over 8 hours in two sittings of examination, precious time because of the injuries I have sustained and the implications of dementia or alzheimers in the future. It is for this reason I feel I have a duty and must make representation to Academia. I ask the question are the EU paying too much and the reality is that there is just tokenism. I ask that Academia in Trinity College Dublin move forward to embrace change and include people who have talents and can make valuable

Michelle Clarke
17th November 2003

March 2015 personal reflection

Idealism, naivety are the words that come to mind. It is my intention to
continue as an activist for people in are vulnerable particularly focused on
mental health with particular understanding of manic depression, anxiety and
suicide. Parallel will be my interest in the advancement of neuro-psychiatry
with particular interest in the vast potential of neuroscience. I will continue
to promote the importance of Third Level education for people with disabilities
and in particular for people who have mental health issues or neurological
conditions including Traumatic Brain Injury. Structure and system is essential
to the core being, especially people so afflicted. University provides this,
education facilitates contribution to society.


PART II (Unlike the foregoing which has been amended to reflect 12 years since its submission, I have decided to include the Essay as completed at the time and submitted to Professor McAleese).


Written by: Michelle Clarke- September 2003 (Hard copy available on request which contains footnotes).

Mental illness must be first defined in the context of legislation.-1-  Account is required of the predominantly medical input and the challenge that is faced by Sociologists and other disciplines. It is the biomedical model that has made such an impact on our cultural ideas about the body. The body is determined to be well or ill.-2- This in turn reflects the attitudes and beliefs of people. History reflects its assumptions to interpretations of mental illness and these interpretations prove valid for some people still. Bio-medicine looks to the body and separates other aspects of the human being.-3- Herein lies the conflict necessary to invoke challenge and bring about change. The body is predominant: social, psychological and behavioural factors of the illness stand apart. The illness is pathologised and the disease is allocated to some part of the body (physical reductionism). -4- The Body is seen as the object of regime and control (Foucault, 1979).

This essay will review the historical social construction of mental illness – the pathologised version as enacted by legislation. It will review the myth imbibed by capitalism and science to the stigmatized illness that presently exists. I review the impact of fear as the powerful hidden component. Challenge exists and the entry of sociologists like Comte, Durkheim, Weber, Simmel, to the Chicago School in 1924 like Goffman are discussed in terms of their approach to Deviance. The introduction of Social Movements in line with concept of civil rights in the 1960’s and taking hold in the UK from the 1980’s onwards. For the first time, we saw the opportunity for those designated ‘mentally’ ill to become stakeholders in their own future. The stage where the person who was once the patient (inmate) can refer to themselves as ‘survivor of mental illness’ or just survivor. Children, Education, Amnesty International, the United Nations, the EU and their Quality of Life research programmes are essential to provide the empowerment for the mentally ill to engage and disengage (with the understanding of people). This is vital. Only could those with mental illness have been so poorly treated and disregarded, if people conjured them as ‘deviant’ and not worth input.

Historical Social Construction of Mental illness – the assumptions
The ‘Struggle against Psychiatry’ has a long history. In 1620, the House of Lords received the ‘Petition of the Poor Distracted People in the House of Bedlam’ – the complaint was against inhumane treatment to the inmates. In 1845, the ‘Alleged Lunatics’ Friends Society was formed by ex-patients (Mind, 2003).-5-

The Middle Ages, saw the disappearance of leprosy in the Western World. Between the High Middle Ages and the end of the Crusades, leprosariums multiplied in the cities of Europe. The 17th century saw the creation of the houses of confinement established in Paris and other cities. Ironically, the Great Confinement made the human being – a social being and identity, subject to classification. It would have been economically viable to use the vacated buildings and to use them for the purpose of those held to be deviant, (Foucault,1967).

This period coincided with birth of Capitalism. Power and vanity became the new driving force. In England, the merchant class engaged in speculative ventures – those expectations driven by financial motivation involving commerce with emphasis on the emotions: fear and hope. Core to commerce is competition, envy and avarice and this has a price. The Renaissance period was the time of growth in individualism and this can incubate despotism. A schism arose in the Church dividing the Catholic Church and the Protestant Church.-6- The protestant work ethic, accumulation of capital, and a belief in a pre-destination created a suitable ethos to ignite in people the motivation required to embed Capitalism and class structure (Foucault, 1967: 74)

Mythology origin –Pathologised-Capitalism-Science

‘Suddenly, in a few years in the middle of the 18th century, a fear arose – a fear formulated in medical terms but animated, basically, by a moral myth’.
(Foucault, 1967: 192)

People were in ‘dread’ of a mysterious disease that spread from the houses of confinement that would soon threaten the cities. The disease became pathologised – fears, hallucinations, absent-mindedness all became identifiable symptoms.-7- (The symptoms in the footnote need to be seen in the context of what the Mental Health Act 2001 provides today). (Foucault, 1967: 199). Unreason and mental illness became intermingled. Unreason involves real fear. ‘Dread’ and the implications of fear compounded with the shame, stigma and ‘panopticism’ ensured segregation. Power and control enforce the dogma.

Contradiction and Challenge:-8-
Madness began to invoke thought. It became an issue of raising ‘the original truth’ but rather than it remaining hidden, this truth could ‘hang’ in history forever….This endorsed fear for some, both sides of the divide, but for different motives and different reasons. Fear and its internal impact and method of control and containment are hidden topics for discussion. The inference is weakness, the reality is fear can be used to control the vulnerable. Fear is pervasive in its implications.-9-

‘The truth of madness is what madness is…What madness is, is a form of vision that destroys itself by its own choice of oblivion in the face of existing forms of social tactics and strategy’ (Cooper, D. in Foucault, 1967: Intro)

The Reality is: Madness fascinates: The question stands – Is it madness or is it Vision?
‘It is of little importance on exactly which day in the autumn of 1888, Nietzche went mad for good, and after which his texts no longer afford philosophy but psychiatry: All of them, including the postcard to Strindberg, belong to Nietzche, And all are related to the Birth of Tragedy’. Our view of Nietzche is what he gave and continues to give to the Modern World’ (Blum, 273).

Sociologists’ Definition – Deviance:

‘Deviance always refers to conduct that is in violation of the rules
constructed by a given society or group. In other words, the concept of deviance implies a moral difference. It refers to the refusal or perhaps inability of an individual or group to abide by the moral norms that prevail in the social context in question’
(Berger and Berger, 1972: 305)

The group have defined the rules but the outsider remains outside looking in.-10- The outsider is the source of much speculation, scientific study and theorizing. The question is why does he not want to comply with societal rules?-11-

Sociology and its Origins
Sociology arose in the 19th century.-12- The basics of sociology related to the discovery of the laws of social order and the methodology required to maintain such order. (Berger, 1972; Berger, 1972)

Durkheim (1858-1917) understood deviance in terms of the functioning of society and deemed it preferable to study the society as distinct from individuals. The conduct of a person has categorized them in the minds of others. They are deviant and can be placed in a sub-category thereafter. In his book, Division of Labour, Durkheim highlighted the need for solidarity as people have an inherent need to belong. He wrote of the evolution from the basic operating mechanical society to the more organic society. Durkheim also researched and wrote ‘The Rules of Sociological Society’ in which he established the identity of sociology as distinct from psychological facts. Social facts represent ‘things’ – the approach is objective. (Berger, 1972; Berger, 1972).

Functionalism is the model applied by Durkheim and further progressed by Talcott Parsons in the US. Functionalism is closely applied to the medical model that promotes patient compliance and the bureaucratic structure to the services provided. Illness is seen as a social deviance when social expectations and norms are not achieved. Illness is an unnatural state hence the imperative function is to alleviate the person from it as quickly as possible. The assumption stands that stigma, shame and vulnerability pertain to many illnesses. Functionalists view health as a social commodity; a resource that is essential for individual achievement and the smooth performance of society (Annadale, 1998:10). The medical model is the Institution for Social Control.

Durkheim established views on Suicide and stated that this method of self-destruction was not only a personal tragedy but his findings were that it was a sociological consequence to which one is integrated in society – rare among married people, rarer in a more closely knit religious establishments and more frequent when rapid social change disrupts the social fabric. Social connectedness matters to our life in a profound way. Social networks reinforce healthy norms (Putnam, 2000).

Merton’s work has been productive in that it links with Durkheim’s concept of anomie and the analysis of social class. There have been investigations that link certain class positions to mental illness.

Weber examined the role of ideas in history; Marx focused on the economic aspects. Weber and Durkheim both reviewed the impact of Religion. Weber wrote on ‘The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. It was Georg Simmel who reviewed the role of the Stranger – the dyads and triads. Simmel sought to establish ‘a formal sociology’. These sociologists are European.-13-

Goffman links back to the Chicago School of the 1920’s – America.-14-
Deviance is measured against a perception as to what is reality. The perception of reality is that defined by Society. Perceptions differ, they change. Both normality and deviance are important components of ‘reality’. One must be aware that Society is protective against challenges as to how they define reality:-15-

‘The total institution is a social hybrid, part residential, part community, part formal organization, there in lies its special sociological interest’ (Goffman, 1968: 22)

Goffman engaged with the concept of symbolic interactionism. To Goffman, mental hospitals and prisons are ‘total institutions’. Stigma looks at how people actually cope with ‘spoilt identities’. He exhibits a strong feeling of compassion with the victims of negative ‘social designations’. (Goffman: 1961: 22)

Following the trend set by Mills and Goffman, ‘labelling theory’ emerged. Howard Becker is the most well known representative of this new school. It creates a platform for a hierarchy to develop permitting different levels of authority. It is about distinguishing the social worker from the sociologist, from the psychiatrist or the law enforcement officer from the Doctor. It is important to note that what is called deviant today may be deemed normal in the future.

Another aspect to consider about Deviance is that it is understood as simply one way in which people define a situation. It’s ‘reality’ depends upon the power of the people who do the defining to impose their definition upon others.-16-(Goffman, 1961).

Stigmatization in the context of Mental Illness ensures it is referred to as deviant – the modus operandi is a process which one group of people inflicts upon another. The definition will ‘stick’, depending upon the power of the definers. In that case, those who are thus defined, the stigmatized will have to come to terms both socially and psychologically with the ‘spoilt identity’.-17-


Medicalisation dictates legislation. The 1945 Mental Health Act-19- was only altered in 2001 with much grassroots activity of social movements and charities at a variety of levels. The issue of Rights for the mentally ill remains in limbo in Ireland. However, social movements are in existence.

Social Movements – Nick Crossley
‘Social movements can be viewed as collective enterprises seeking to establish a new order of life…The career of a social movement depicts the emergence of a new order of life.
(Blumer 1969: 99)-20-

Contention Humanities versus Science – US Sociological View 1974
People Question – Can humanity survive with science so prevalent? Sociologists and other social scientists are divided in opinion as to how to best position themselves to address the science versus the humanities issue in the 20th century. The major challenges concern proceeding with research under subsidies from those in power or should they only be investigators committed solely to their own humanist goals. Can they merge both together was the issue? (McClung Lee, 1973)-21-. The reality is that if science provides the genetic proof, it still stands that triggers and environmental factors play a large part in mental illness.

Education – the key factor to effect change: Multiple intelligences exist yet the school curriculum is weighted against non scientific approach students.

Bourdieu defines the sociology of education ‘specifically in terms of its role in understanding; the contribution made by the education system to the reproduction of the structure of power relationships and symbolic relationships between classes’. (Banks, O, 1968:115)

View of Education – US 1974:

‘Students caught up willingly in the regimenting routines of such specialized trade schools and college as those of business, engineering and military, appear to be heedless to their dehumanization’ (McClung Lee, 1974 pg. 1)-22-


‘Our educational procedures are more often geared to the development of believers and technicians rather than independent investigators and thinkers
the mass culture that pervades’ (McClung Lee, 1974: 67)

Representation 1980’s: the approach was more that of a ‘consumerist’ for the patient as distinct from service users or survivor.

The objective is to create social inclusion for people diagnosed with a mental health problem.

Nottingham Advocacy Group was one of the first established in 1986. The movement was towards Survivors speaking out, having a voice and challenging false conceptions perpetuated through mythology and ignorance.

A forward thinking psychiatrist and his client – Dr. Anthony Clare, St. Patrick’s Hospital, Dublin and Spike Milligan, Writer, Comedian with a Manic Depression diagnosis, worked in conjunction to produce a book to provide evidence from both sides. The comparison was drawn that both Cancer and Mental illness are pathologised but the reaction is most likely one of shame in relation to depression, even though a severe depression is life-threatening illness. (Clare, Milligan, 1993).-23-

‘Images of madness in our culture make it starkly clear that it is best avoided or denied – not just because the experience can be alarming, but because it is hard to see oneself simultaneously as ‘crazy’ and as a valid person with a liveable future’ (Sayce, 2002: 8)-24-

‘It addresses one central question: how, and on what basis, do we move beyond the physical de-segregation of hospital closure programmes towards the chance of full participation in social and economic life’. (Sayce, 2002)-25-

Why penalize people who cannot work at 100% range or even a 50% range?-26- Cordis, an arm of the EU is currently researching Quality of Life perspectives.-27- Demographics may cause policy makers to change their attitudes and view people as potential (albeit limited) contributors to taxation.

Empowerment and mental health – the need for ‘Academics with Attitude’ .
This is a movement of ‘passive recipients’ to ‘active subjects’. The approach is to challenge the way we think about ‘mental illness’ mental health and what it means to live with madness. -28-(Barnes, 2001; bowl; 2001:). This is about Changing Attitudes. Mind in the UK run successful campaigns like 1 in 4, with descriptive footage of a severely depressed person. These are areas that need consideration. Essential is the use of the internet and system of email both for self-knowledge and innovative type work consistent with ‘diagnosis’.

Points to realistically consider:
Integration implies the individual will fit in with the system
The person has to change. Inclusion means that system itself will develop self-criticism; acknowledge the way in which it excludes and denies access; and dismantle barriers (Shakespeare 1997 in Sayce 31). -29- Anxiety – Valium, Librium – the wonder drugs-30- of the 1960’s are addictive. Consultants are afraid of insurance actions so are much more controlled in what they prescribe. There is no alternative now for the patient with anxiety i.e. except cigarettes/alcohol. Public policy is to prevent smoking in public places. Both cigarettes and tranquilizers are being restricted at the same time. This has implications for increased intake of alcohol. Mental illness also must be described as a physical illness. There is a need to have the service user as a stakeholder in policy making.-31-

Power of Language – Control
‘Language is itself a site of struggle and one of the purposes of user or survivor movements is to reclaim the right to define and name their own experiences’.-32-

‘The emphasis on science is important. First it implies that the origin of mental illness and the role of intervention can be studied using the methods of observation and logical inference that form the basis of natural science. As such it is based on ‘fact’, not value, and its definition is seen as independent of Culture or social context.-33- This has both a political and organizational implications. It provides justification for the separation of medicine as a discipline and the retention of power over defining and treating mental illness outside political and popular control……Medicine has a non precise definition .

Reduction of stigma and discrimination is starting to appear high on the public policy agenda in a number of countries. The Australian Government have a major Education programme in place. The New Zealand government have adopted a programme based on studies into other marginalized groups e.g. HIV/Aids.

More Enlightened approach – World Perspective
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights encompasses
civil, political, economic and cultural rights.-34-

Community care is deemed more humane than inpatient stays. Ireland, Israel, Netherlands and Spain have 80-90% of the beds in psychiatric hospitals, France, Germany and Japan have 60-75% occupancy in psychiatric hospitals. The difference is found in Australia, Canada and the USA at 40%. (World Health Organisation page 17)

Amnesty International Ireland Sociologically challenges Ireland’s treatment of the mentally ill. (The News on mental health issues from around the world) reports:-)

‘The support for children with, or at risk of mental health from successive Irish governments has not been adequate. The Amnesty publication, Mental Health – the Neglected Quarter, has as its objectives to increase awareness that children’s mental health is a human rights issue, to place this fact firmly before Government, and to lobby much needed reform in Government policy, practice and legislation (Sean Love, Director of Amnesty’s Irish Section).-35-

Gender issues/cultural issues – social factors:
Mental illness must be about multi-disciplinary teams. Psychiatrists opened up to the inclusion of psychology over the past 20 years and it is stated that if trigger events can be limited in a person susceptible to mental illness, and particularly after one event only, it is probable that they will avoid major mental health issues (Aware lecture 2003)  75% of those who commit suicide are men.-36- Black men have above average admittance in to psychiatric hospital in the UK and also to high security areas. Most divorces and separations are started by women and fathers tend to lose contact with their children. There is growing evidence that unemployment has an impact on mental. These are social issues impacting on family structure and society: http//

THE WAY FORWARD (Denial, Stigma, Shame, Education, Multi-disciplinary teams, Respect for difference)

Education is core to understanding and change.
‘The traditional conceptual framework in the subject is that of functionalism, and derives primarily from the writings of the French sociologist Emile Durkheim. The functionalist approach, as Durkheim used it, is to seek for the social function performed by an institution; that is for the part played by the institution in the promotion and maintenance of social cohesion and social unity’. (page etc).

Durkheim referred to the ‘socialization of the young generation’. He sought to imbibe the young generation with values and certain intellectual and physical skills.-37-

The Bright Futures Initiative –
In 1997, the Mental Health Organisation in the UK undertook a major study into the mental health of children and young people. They reviewed the requirements for the emotional and healthy development of children. The 1999 reports Bright Futures was published. Factors that cause children to be susceptible include poverty, poor housing, parental conflict, parental psychiatric problems and abuse.-38- It acknowledges the importance of early intervention. Other reports include The Mental Health of Young Offenders, August 2002 and the Mental Health of Looked After Children, August 2002. -39-

Dr. Fernandez (Amnesty Member),-40- states the need to distinguish between ‘’mental health problems’’ induced by homelessness and ‘’mental illness’’ that may be a factor in becoming or remaining homeless (Amnesty International, 2003: 17). Psychiatric and rehabilitative services but with limited funding are provided at St. Brendan’s Psychiatric Hospital. The main objective is to ‘preserve and regain social function’. The separation from the rest of society in large institutions only ensures exclusion.-41-

IRELAND – Equality and the system of education are formally challenged. It is not inclusive. Is there a link to Mental Illness! Is the scope of the curriculum broad enough?

4500 are now hospitalized in psychiatric hospitals in Ireland. This has reduced from over 21,000 in 1958. By the 1980’s, institutions were costing large sums of money and government policy sought alternatives. Market forces determined the 1980’s de-institutionalisation policies.-42- In the year 2000, admissions were over 20,000 however the issue to be concerned about is that 70% of these were re-admissions. This speaks volumes about the recurrent nature.-43- Dr. Kennedy from Central Mental Hospital in a presentation made a point of the differentiation between those problems that were social i.e. over 80% and those that were psychiatric.-44-

‘To speak of the unspeakable is the beginning of action’ (Millett, 1994)-45-
Who is willing to listen, to hear, to activate change? The Irish psychiatric policy is based on the consumer model and thus adopted by the social movement organizations e.g. Aware and Schizophrenia Ireland. The approach is Top-Down as distinct from user-led action.

‘It is possible to propose a theoretical framework which moves the sociological perspective on from limitations inherent in other sociological traditions within the sociology of health and illness literature, such as psychiatry as a social system (Foucault 1965), or the deviance or the Marxian approaches of Scheff (1999 or Scull (1979 respectively‘ (Speed, E, 2002, 64).  Irish peculiarities mean the model requires adaptation.

Schizophrenia Ireland was set up in 1981. -46- Aware, the voluntary organization was established in 1985.  Aware Ireland, in the UK and NAMI in America support the biological basis of mental ‘illness’. Aware is involved in the ‘promotion of research into biological, psychological and social aspects of Depression’ (Aware, 2001).-47- The Minister of Health has put in place an appointed study group to review analytically psychiatric services and community based service (Foreward iii) is now in place.

‘There has been a lack of any concerted mental health service users’ movement within the Republic of Ireland. Mental Health service users’ movements have a marked orientation towards strategies of empowerment and the provision of peer advocacy and support mental health service users’ (Speede, 2002). This is only acceptable if the objective is to change educational policy and introduce multi-disciplinary teams to work in the best interests of the service-user. If this occurs and with the distinct advantage of the internet, survivors can become empowered.

Research – What do we know? What does the future hold?

1997 The Trinity Horizon Project of the Centre of Women Studies covered a period of 4 years and developed a pro-type training and counseling programme for the women recovering from depression to facilitate their re-entry to the workplace. The research was carried out in collaboration with Aware, IBEC, ICTU and FAS.

The stance was from the humanitarian and social perspective. This was aimed at creating survivors. It was concerned with confronting the hidden secret associated with mental illness, dealing with the stigma that pertained and to emphasize just how under-resourced mental health services are. Funds were provided by the EU. A conference was held by the Trinity Horizon project – titled Mental Health and the Workplace: Challenges and Opportunites. It had access to transnational models – this provided a cross cultural dimension. Norbert Tietz, Director, EX+JOB in Wunstorf, Germany.

Immediately receptive is the term social firm. The firm was based on a philosophy of work and part of this was about integration of the participants with the public. Work experience included bar/restaurant work open to the public, fridge recycling plant, used children’s clothes shops, furniture shop and a music shop. The innovation of work came from the community as a whole in collaboration with the psychiatric hospital. The re-cycling dimension proved very successful. It appealed on the environmentally friendly factor. German companies must employ 6% of people with disabilities. If they choose not to pay, they must pay and fine and the money is paid into a fund for people with disabilities.

Professor McKeon, Psychiatrist of St. Patrick’s hospital and founding member of Aware reiterated that people with mental health difficulties, especially those with depression, make excellent employees. If anything, he stressed that this group with their over-anxiety to do well are exemplary employees. ‘Their exaggerated sense of responsibility and loyalty, traits which sometimes contribute to their difficulties, are positive elements for an employer. They are the first at work and have a commitment to any task they undertake. In dealing with their illness, they have already proven their ability to face and overcome difficulties and demonstrated their tenacity and courage’ (Trinity Horizon Project, Centre for Women Studies, 2000: viii)-48-

Yet, such a daring programme proved too expensive for the NRB to undertake. The NRB was subsequently subsumed into FAS – no rehabilitative programme as per the research was in put place yet. In fact, community employment which provided a meager alternative, but an alternative form of rehabilitation is being drastically cut back by Government policy.


National Policy framework – stakeholders – Survivors. Rights based Mental Health legislation is needed. Expenditure in psychiatric services has been reduced since 1976 by 20%. Mental illness is about social implications, coping strategies, psychological services and engaging with denial, particularly within the family context.-49- Power and control needs to be monitored.-50- Mental illness merits a consensual approach if people are to be integrated in society. Social workers need to interact with sociologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, educationalists, and most important in line with the wisdom of Carl Jung, Psychiatrist, Psychologist – they must involve the patient. -51-The Trinity Horizon Research proved too costly an approach but a new direction and approach is in place the National Flexi-Work Partnership Work-Life Balance Project

Comte named a new dimension called sociology; Durkheim elaborated and defined society as an integrated whole; Weber, shared Durkheim’s interest in religions and structure but also was concerned with ideals; and Simmel spoke of the ‘Stranger’. The intervening years saw institutionalization, medicalisation, of people who are ‘Different’. Why should an idealist be different, there might be a latent talent, that is inhibited by structure yet innovation lies there untapped. The challenge rests with Education and incorporation of a broader syllabus, to the Universities to take in hand those non-conformists and educate them and add the dimension to their education,-52- and the education of other students. People are mental health survivors but they must be given a chance. Denial, stigma, shame, must be removed and if it takes the conflict of referring to a person as socially deviant, for the reaction to come – ‘but no you are not in horror’. This is the step forward to dealing with denial. This is reality brought about by fear that no-one cares to acknowledge – hence the suicides are dismissed in shame, in silence, in fear. The medical profession live in fear that they too ‘will break the threshold’ that applies to every human being. This can be intuitively sensed from them. Sociologists need to take stock of the heritage of their founding fathers – perhaps it is time not to seek the credibility of being totally scientific and consider a more humanistic, open, consensual and interactive approach and work within multi-disciplinary teams with the objective of improving society.-53-

My parting comment is about Suicide. Dr. Kelly, (Iraq war 2003) leading scientist in search of nuclear arms in Iraq had the choice to conform to the status quo – to have his knuckles wrapped. He was an individual, deliberated, he knew the outcome if he conformed. Perhaps the issue is – could he have lived with his conscience? Durkheim reviewed suicide in this context. Yet our society does not see that people differ, a ‘Stranger’, -54-holding intuitive sentiments similar to what Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet ‘there is something rotten in the State of Denmark.

March 2015-Contextualised over a decade:  Deviance is deviance surely not as defined by mental health.  The shocking murder of Elaine O’Hara by a man who was socially deviant and so arrogant that he believed he could not be convicted and who was not going to use the defence of Insanity.
Dwyer did not plead insanity. He is found guilty of Murder. He preyed on a vulnerable woman called Elaine O’Hara who had been admitted to Ireland’s most elite psychiatric hospital, St Edmundsbury, on 14 occasions, under the most eminent of psychiatrists including Dr Anthony Clare. The paradox, the person with a mental illness the victim of society’s inability to provide for her mental health need and the murderer, the narcissist, the psychopath, devoid of conscience who saw vulnerable women as objects for his gratification. The question is will people abuse the term mental health and include him as mentally ill. I sincerely hope not. This social deviance stands apart from what mental illness is about. Again I say lets use the term Manic Depression again instead of the sanitised Bipolar. The manic applies to the high but also to the low.


1 An act to provide the involuntary admission to approved centres of persons suffering from mental disorders, to provide for the involuntary admission of such persons and, for the those purposes, to provide for the establishment of a Mental Health Commission and the appointment of Mental Health Commission tribunals and an Inspector of Mental Health Services, to repeal in part the Mental Treatment Act 1945 and to provide for related matters. “Mental Illness” means a state of mind of a person which affects the person’s thinking, perceiving, emotion and judgement and which seriously impairs the mental functions of the person to the extent that he or she requires care and medical treatment in his or her own interest or in the interest of other persons (Mental Health Act 2001)(return)
2 Distribution of wellness and illness throughout population does not fall in equal proportions (return)
3 Western medicine: science puts forward the belief that the body is separate from the mind and spirit (return)
4 Etiology is about identifying causes for each disease and scourcing cures. A machine capable of repair is the metaphor (return)
5 Exhibitions of inmates would be held and people paid to see those deemed ‘Mad’ (return)
6 Certain earlier sociologists particularly Durkheim and Weber, who carried out considerable research into different religions, linked it closely with the regimented system of values and rules relating to societies (return)
7 It was confinement of the debauched; the spendthrift fathers; prodigal sons; blasphemers, men who “seek to undo themselves”, libertines….One tenth of all the arrests were in Paris for the Hospital General concern “the insane”< “demented” men< individuals of “wandering mind” and persons who have become “completely mad” Foucault, 1967). No mention of alcohol or drugs. (return)
8 Lord Byron: Van Gogh; Churchill; Don Quioxte; Goya personalised mood distortion to black periods. Churchill referred to “Black Dog”. Aware St Patrick’s Hospital run a website titled “Black Dog” (return)
9 ‘Fear of fear refers to the anticipation of anxiety and thoughts that the mental and physical symptoms of anxiety will lead to worse consequences – a thought that in turn generates more anxiety. For example, mounting feelings of anxiety often make the patient anticipate that he or she will lose control and behave in a dis-inhibited way, or even become insane; while rapid heart action may lead the patient to expect a cardiac arrest or coronary thrombosis (Mathews A, Gelder M, Johnston D, 1981:5) (return)
10 Normal personality: how to define it? Perhaps – efficient self perception, realistic self-esteem and acceptance; voluntary control over behaviour; a true perception of the world; sustaining relationships and giving affection; self direction and productivity (Social psychology notes 2nd yr Business Economics and Social Studies Trinity notes (return)
11 Having been institutionalised and detache from society on numerous occasions, you are the outsider looking in (personal comment). Some explanations of psychosis use these exact words’ (return)
12 The name ‘Sociology’ was invented by Auguste Comete (1798-1857) – Philosophy (Positivism) (return)
13 Robert Merton sought to explain deviant behaviour in terms of social structure. He puts forward the idea that all forms of deviant behaviour ‘from differentials in the access to the success goals of a society by legitimate means….Deviance thus occurs as a result of discrepancy between the aspirations which society has socialised into its members and the way that society has provided for realising such aspirations. Merton uses the Durkheimian concept of anomie to refer to such a situation’. This reflects the goal oriented, materialistic strain in America (return)
14 Malfunction appears to determine deviance. ‘Agoraphobia is illness because one should not be afraid of open spaces. Homosexuality is illness because heterosexuality is the social norm. Divorce is illness because it signals failure of marriage….all these and many more have been said to be signs of mental illness (Berger 1963:6) (return)
15 It was then and still is my belief that any group of persons – prisoners, primitives, pilots, or patients – develop a life of their own that becomes meaningful, reasonable and normal once you get close to it, and that a good way to learn about any of these worlds is to submit oneself in the company of the members to the daily round of petty contingencies to which they are subject (Goffman) (return)
16 Mental illness/mood disorder is about lapses to weakness in moral and physical health – this inherent vulnerability is exploited (this includes family; employers, corporates, insurance companies, regimented bodies like education, the legal profession; the Church; non conformists too are not acceptable. Yet medical ethics was horrifically breached by Mengele with use of humans for scientific experiments (NAZI Germany) (return)
17 Victor Frankl (1962) Survivor from Auchwitz (Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Logotherapist, writer. ‘When we describe a responsible person we mean that in every area of his life he is able to meet the demands of this world’. Logotherapy concerns expanding the scope of visions (psychologically) for the patient. Here is the challenge to society. (return)
18 Comment from House of Lords UK: Quite evidently explanations for mental illness and institutionalisation were unclear to those engaged in scrutiny “As we get to know more about the complexity of the human mind, so we try to make our shades of responsibility more complext, and so I thing we get into deeper and deeper muddles Baroness Wootton of Abiger, House of Lords 1962 (return)
19 Irish 1945 Act was based on the earlier English legislation (return)
20 Examples include: Mind UK, (Aware, Grow, Irish Mental Health Advocacy in Ireland and Ireland Mental Health Association of Ireland etc) (return)
21 This was 1974. Now in the UK it is the medical profession who are linking to Humanities for medical conferences (return)
22 What about the social impact of science on man as a social creature? The most obvious is the impact of domestic gadgetry, healt-care facilities, urban and industrial structures and the ultimate threat of nuclear war (McClung Lee, 1974) (return)
23 Surprisingly I sought the implication and definition of fear in his book – there was none. Doctors have an issue with fear (return)
24 Denial is corrosive. Aware now operate a ‘Beat the Blues’ campaign in secondary schools. This is successful. Parents may have very fixed interpretations and refuse to encourage a child to engage at the expense of the child. (return)
25 This book includes several sources including the survivors together with lawyers, policy makers, activists, medical health professions. Primarily the research was completed in the US and UK in the late 1990’s. Reference is made to systems in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. (return)
26 Vincent Van Gogh. His pre-occupation was to give, not to receive financially. His paintings were sold after his death and amrketing applied to accumulate worth. The same applied to letters he wrote. He was socially oriented. (return)
27 Presently, the Centre for Women Studies in Trinity College Dublin are carrying out research which is part of the Equal Community Initiative and the European Social Fund. It involves a mental health advisory committee. University of Dublin; Aware: Age Action; IBEC; Congress of Trade Unions; FAS and mental health survivors will convene over the next two years. The June meeting was a bilateral meeting: Working party of employers and the Mental Health Advisory group including mental health survivors. The focus is National Flexi work – Work Life Balance. (return)
28 Marian Barnes is a member of National Health Action Zone evaluation team focusing on community involvement. (return)
29 ‘People who are seriously disadvantaged in society rarely have just single problems – they have multiple interlocking problems. They do not compete on a level playing field. Empowerment must address all their problems together if it is to be meaningful’. (Davy, 1999, 37) (return)
30 Drugs have side affects; muscle wastage ensures body weakness; anorexia/bulimia can be side affects related to mood disorder or just a manifestation of self-harm, vision, co-ordination, perception, judgment, attention deficits etc (return)
31 The Barr Tribunal (John Carthy RIP): Labeled a Manic Depressive. Somehow anxiety has been removed from language of mental health otherwise he would likely not have been shot dead by An Gardai Siochana. Anxiety drugs (Benzos) are now causing negative reporting as they are deemed too addictive and there are basically no alternatives. It could be said that the cigarettes were used to taunt John Carthy RIP, cigarettes could have calmed his anxiety. Many people go contrary to regulations and even legislation especially relating to drugs and alcohol to help them cope with stress, anxiety, depression. This is a social issue and was addressed by Dr Harry Kennedy (Psychiatrist) who has accommodation problems at the Central Mental Hospital. It is linked to crime. (return)
32 Mental Act of England and Wales defines ‘Mental Disorder’ as mental illness, personality disorder, severe mental impairment. (return)
33 Perhaps this should mean it is a component part of a spectrum that deals with those diagnosed mentally ill. A more equitable distribution of funds in terms of time input would be required. hroughout population does not fall in equal proportions (return)
34 All persons have the right to the best available mental health care, which shall be part of the health and social care system. MI Principle Amnesty Mental Health Report – the Neglected Quarter). (return)
35 Ireland ratified the UN Convention on Rights of the Child in 1992, whereby it undertook to provide a specialised mental health regime to identify, treat and protect children under 18 years or at risk of mental illness. (return)
36 The State in Ireland and the Church are prejudiced in regard to a person with mental illness. Denial applies. (return)
37 ‘The most sensible way to lower rates of depression and suicide is …to spread accurate information among the general public about what depression is’ Dr Fernandex (Amnesty) and St. Brendan’s Hospital; Breaking the Cycle of Depression; (Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell), The European Studies Institute. (return)
38 see 37 (return)
39 17th September 2003: Psychiatrist Dr Kay Redfield Jamieson (US psychiatrist, a manic depressive) is in Ireland. New breakthrough relating to the prediction of suicide is announced. It involves hospital, an MRI scan, a Pet scan. The question is how probable it is that suicidal people will proceed through the functional medical channel. (return)
40 Dr Fernandez – Psychiatrist, St Brendan’s Psychiatric hospital, Dublin (return)
41 Serious findings: 70% re-admission each year. This strongly indicates hostile social situations: alcoholism, marital conflict, drug addicts etc. Each psychiatric admission involves a review of cocktail medications and monitoring. New drugs, new side effects, new body hostility limitations and re-adjustment. Each hospital admission means there is possibly a new psychiatric label, the range is manic depression to borderline personality disorder to manic depression. It is important to note that many doctors in psychiatric are in temporary postings and often from overseas (return)
42 Driven by former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (Conservative Party) (return)
43 The social aspects, alcohol, drug abuse, family strife, lack of occupation to regain acceptance in a community. (return)
44 Irish Penal Reform Trust. Former President Ireland – Dr Mary Robinson dated December 2002 (return)
45 The Arts address the social issues. Jack Nicholson in One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest, and As Good as it Gets, drew considerable attention to institutional care and to obsessive compulsive disorder. A Beautiful Mind says so much more about Schizophrenia and brilliance. ‘Strangers’ can contribute. (return)
46 Interested patients, family members, professionals, advocates (return)
47 Similar stance by MHAI, Department of Health and Regional health boards (return) Education as distince from the workplace appealed to a number of ‘guinea pigs’ One student is accepted for her PhD in psychology; others opted for community projects in the arts. 48 (return)
49 This is real. It involves children; family court – referred to recently by a Judge as an Armageddon for children; the Catholic Church that acts without a cheecks and balances system provided by the State re people diagnosed with manic depression, schizophrenia. Proper education is essential. We are told that as many as one in four people will suffer from depression in their lifetime. (return)
50 Forfeiture of control of self, family affairs, the need of an ally as distinct from a carer to assuage the difference in personality and preent abusive use of power relations. Relatives seeking the advice from the medical team disempowers the individual. Mind – Respect campaign. Stigma reduced but inclusion is a different issue. Mental health provides no security for those within the Irish court system. The courts have power to seek discovery of documents in the context of divorce leaving the person with severe mental health problems discriminated against. The system is adversarial and damaging. The Annulment by the Catholic Church, a male dominated court again discriminates. (return)
51 Account must be taken that the stakeholder may be subject to health limitations that are greater at different times (return)
52 European social funds opened the gates in the 1990’s but a lack of understanding, prejudice, fear, shame, stigma resulted in people gaining access to Trinity College Dublin but health provisions not in place for crisis situations. Many students left without completing their degrees and more men than women (return)
53 Goya painted ‘the Madhouse’ ‘he must have experienced before that grovel of flesh in the void, that nakedness among bare walls, something related to a contemporary pathos; the symbolic tinsel that crowned the insane kings….left in view suppliant bodies, bodies vulnerable to chains and whips, which contradicted the delirium of the faces…The man in the tricorne is not made because he has stuck an old hat upon his nakedness…(Foucault 1967; 265) (return)
54 Perhaps Simmel perceived the Stranger as an individual – the outlier who would take the risk to restore an equilibrium(return)


Amnesty International, 2003. Mental Illness, the Neglected Quarter. Dublin. Irish Division Report
Amnesty International, 2003. Mental Illness, the Neglected Quarter – Homelessness. Dublin. Irish Division Report
Banks, O. (ed) 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971. The Sociology of Education. B.T.
Barnes M, and Bowl R, 2001. Taking over the asylum – empowerment and mental health. Palgrave Press. Hampshire
Bursford Limited. Guildford, London, and Winchester.
Becker, H.. 1963. Outsiders Studies in the Sociology of Deviance. The Free Press. New York
Becker, P. and B. Becker 1974 (ed), Sociology: A Biographical Approach. Penguin: USA
Barnes n, and r bowl, Taking over the Asylum Empowerment and Mental Health: London:. Palgrave
Centre for Women Studies, 2003. National Flexi-Work Partnership Work-Life Balance Project. Dublin. University of Dublin.
Clare A, and Milligan, (ed) 1989, 1993. Depression and How to Survive it. London. Ebury Press.
Cohen, S. 2001. .States of Denial Knowing about Atrocities and Suffering. Cambridge: Polity press in association with Blackwell Publishing
Crossley, N. 2002. Making Sense of Social Movements. London: Open University press
Foucault, M. 1967. Madness and Civilisation. London: Ruthledge Publishers
Goffman, E. 1966, 1968, 1987, 1991. Asylums. London: Penquin.
Goffman, E. 1963, 1968, 1990 Stigma – Notes on the Management of Spoilt Identity. New Jersey: Penquin
Hunt, P, 1966. Stigma – The experience of Disabilility. Dublin. Geoffrey Chapman and Co.
Mathews, A and Gelder, M, and Johnston, D 1981 Agoraphobia Nature and Treatment. New York: The Guilford Press
Millett, K. 1994. The Politics of Cruelty. An Essay on the Literature of Political Imprisonment. New York and London. W.W. Norton and Co.
McClung Lee, A, 1973. Toward Humanist Sociology. New Jersey, Prentice Hall.
Putnam, Robert D. Bowling Alone – The collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Touchstone.
Sayce, L. 2000. Fron Psychiatric Patient to Citizen – Overturn discrimination and Social Exlusion). London. Palgrave.

Certain background notes related to the preparation of this essay:

DENIAL: (Real: in context of essay)

All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of fact….The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them…..In nationalist thought there are facts which are both true and untrue. Every nationalist is haunted by the belief that the past can be altered….Material facts are suppressed, dates altered, quotations removed from their context and doctored so as to change their meaning….Indifference to objective truth is encouraged by the sealing off of one part of the world from the other, which makes it harder and harder to discover what is happening…. If one harbors anywhere in one’s mind a nationalist loyalty or hatred, certain facts although in a sense know to be true, are inadmissible George Orwell, Notes on National in Denial Preface (Cohen, 2001)

‘Denial is transferred across generations and echoed in the wider political culture: if we deny reality, if we don’t feel the pain of what is happening in Bosnia or in the house next door, we don’t act….to change these realities Cohen, 2001: pg

Mentally ill and the Welfare State – the gaps that could be filled, if seen or called to public attention.

The Experience of Disability – ‘25 shillings in 1966’.
‘They reflect a much deeper problem of a distortion of the structure and the value-system of society itself. Achievement, productivity, vigour, health, and youth are admired to an extreme. Incapacity, non productiveness, slowness and old age are implicitly if not explicitly deplored. Such a system of values moulds and reinforces an elaborate social hierarchy…….It is possible to secure real gains for those who are disabled without calling for a reconstruction of society and schooling new attitudes to the entire population…..Stigma foreward.

The common factor is human relationships. ‘They realize how widespread are feelings of protectiveness, superiority, aloofness and even revulsion towards them. Ordinary people expect them to become passive and compliant dependants, an isolated category of the pitied who are thrust out of sight at home or in institutions. No wonder they write of the bitterness and frustration involved in playing the role of an invalid’….. Society has to realize that first and foremost we are people equally with non disabled.

The European alliance of homeless organizations FEANTSA notes
‘Housing and homelessness are inseparable. Becoming homeless is generally the upshot of a series of life events that push some person into exclusion. But housing is often not their only problem: they also have health (lifestyle, sickness, dependency, etc), psychological and social problems (isolation, loss of self-confidence, depression etc) which mount up to fast-track homelessness. Unfortunately few countries take account of this.


PART III was a website in existence in 2003 and is still in existence. Health and the onset of Chronic Fatigue meant my interaction was through contribution to this health site. Unable to complete a second essay, it was my decision to include in the file folder to Professor McAleese a number of articles I had written in the period May 2003 to November 2003. As stated I would have retained a duplicate of the file folder I submitted but I cannot find it so I have accessed my computer files and will now include 8 pieces written by me. You will see that links are still active. The views were entirely my own in 2003 and what is interesting about reading them now is that Stigma, Suicide, War, Mental Health, have seen little advancement for the positive. However, cigarettes under the direction of former Minister for Health James Reilly, Fine Gael, have significant warnings and ominous pictures to advise people, to educate them that smoking is not advisable.

No 1

Subject: Message posted
Date: Monday, August 25, 2003 9:30 AM

Thank you for your comment, which has now been reviewed by the Editor and has been posted on the relevant site discussion area.

— Original Message —

Great Reaction – Let’s Ban cigarettes
Societies are made up of the people who are the Givers and the Takers. In other words the Generous and the Selfish.

Human beings differ. Who shouts loudest? Sometimes I feel (as distinct from think) it is the selfish people.

Their behaviour often indicates more than what one expects. It can state their inferiority complex that necessitates them being heard, making the waiter most servile, unjust criticism; complaining about the food.

I fall under the psychiatric label. I don’t smoke mainly because I had severe asthma until I was 27. However, I suffer from acute anxiety so therefore I need BENZOS.

A Question for Readers to Ponder over?
Do many people recall going to a mass or reading the Bible?

Reflection is often a good pursuit i.e. if anxiety, is about destroy your life.

Fear, Anxiety, etc. are constantly referred to in the Bible etc. Then switch your mind to beads, the Orthodox use them, the Jews use them and we the Catholics use them. The Muslims adhere to habitual, repetitive religious practices also.

Back to cigarettes: I wonder how many people smoke to curtail their stress. The next point is if you know people who did smoke and then gave it up, do you recall how many extra stone some put on?

Stress and Anxiety can work very well for you in the productive work environment that measures peoples economic worth today……but what about me?…….the person who had a world at her feet in her twenties and was beholder to a large number of benzos by her 30’s. You see I tipped the balance.

Language is elusive. Depression is a word we can easily grasp these days but ANXIETY AND STRESS – they are somewhat hidden within the word depression.

The drugs now are not two but possibly one. Valium conjures up potential insurance claims as addictions become apparent. But what about the person who has the real stress who needs them?

Road rage; workplace stress; break down in marriages and social structure……not being empowered sufficiently at school level to follow a given path……yes these people have a need. Before anyone outright says no…….let them provide a sufficient mental health service, let them understand what it is to be in the smoking room in say the ramshackle psychiatric unit in Blanchardstown Hospital.

I suggest there is a need…..and there could be a high cost. We talk about cancer. What about mental health, heart disease per consequence, the number of suicides……80% of suicides now in the UK are young men under the age of 35.

We are not addressing these problems because we do not want to know.

Then what about eating and drinking? If smoking is like me twiddling my hair, a method of dealing with anxiety…….then there is going to have to be chocolate etc.

It scares me when economics dictates all. We need Ethics and a level of acceptance. What about those people who are elderly and who relish the pipe, cigar, cigarette in a public place so that they can see real live people as distinct from their friends in Coronation Street.

Just a few thoughts.

You can view the article, along with all comments, by clicking the following link:

No 2
Subject: Message posted
Date: Monday, August 25, 2003 9:24 AM

Thank you for your comment, which has now been reviewed by the Editor and has been posted on the relevant site discussion area.

— Original Message —

Dr. Neary and Obstetrics
I would ask people to consider the person and the behaviour.

Do we expect too much from our medical professionals?
Insurance shortly will be prohibitive and we will be unable to provide the services. This has serious implications.

I would suggest it is time that the cartel – high point criteria that applies to medicine be seriously reviewed. I agree with Noel Dempsey and the science route. Nursing degrees ought to permit the option of entry to medicine. Several of the nurses I know had wanted to study medicine but did not get the points.

If you break the cartel, supply and demand alters. The cost of the services reduce. Then the insurance will fall. We must also consider that if within a constitution, a system of checks and balances applies, the same ought to apply to the medical profession.

It must be remembered at all times doctors are human; they have one of the highest rates of suicide (nicely concealed) and this in itself states a non supportive system in times of crisis. It is my belief that doctors level of fear regarding depression etc. is suffice for them to exclude their own. i.e. Denial.

Reduce salaries; empower others to realise their ambitions and not necessarily on crazy high points.

For the people who witnessed what was going on……and this applies in Government; in Religious institutions; in schools, etc. I provide this quote. Try listening to people, if even to speak to a homeless person and just listen to what it is they have to say. My experience is that they often talk the language of children i.e. the truth

Confucious (Beween 4th-5th centuries)

‘To know what is right and not to do it is the worst cowardice’

There is an epidemic in this country….nobody acknowledges correspondence; nobody listens and hears; nobody goes ‘by the book’…… the parameters are there for the widening.

I suggest these people stand accountable. As a woman recently returning to Auschwitz remarked about a statue (the woman was revisiting for the first time her pilgrim path)…….those who don’t react are basically capitulating.

We need Ethics revived.

It is okay to say ‘I don’t know’. Medicine is the worst offender here. We are all actors on a stage but in some cases therein lies real danger.


You can view the article, along with all comments, by clicking the following link:

No 3
Subject: Message posted
Date: Friday, June 06, 2003 9:39 AM

Thank you for your comment, which has now been reviewed by the Editor and has been posted on the relevant site discussion area.

— Original Message —

SARS OLYMPIC TRAVEL BAN PARTIALLY OVERTURNED: Time is approaching, the Torch was lit and the journey to Ireland has begun.

This is the European Year of People with Disabilities – the objective is to challenge people to highlight the benefits of full integration for society as a whole.

Changing attitudes is one aspect but the breaking down of barriers and obstacles also needs attention.

The European Year of People with Disabilities (EYOD) is very much people driven. A budget of Euro 12 million was provided but mostly distributed to national level.

At a national level, more local stakeholders will be involved and this will stimulate awareness. It is hoped this new awareness will impact into policy objectives for equality for those with disabilities.

‘At the event opening in Athens, European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, Anna Diamantopoulou talked about ‘invisible citizens’……One in four Europeans has a family member affected by a disability;only 4% have a colleague with a disability and only 2% know a disabled pupil at school. Europeans with a disability are less likely to have a job or a business or have a complete tertiary education. They are less likely to be ‘married’ (Social Agenda – European Commission Employment and Social Affairs April 2003 – free EU Office).

The EYPD has established a new framework. A number of major companies have volunteered to establish actions plans in favour of people with disabilities. These include Hewlett Packard; Volkswagen; Sony; Manpower and others.

The recruitment company Adecco has committed to placing 7,000 people with disabilities on the EU labour market during 2003. IBM has also made provision in line EYPD.

In Ireland, we need to remember that the Disabilities Bill has been delayed. However, it is important to remember that legislation fights discrimination.

There will be lots of fun and excitement with the participants, their families and friends but there will also be opportunities to compare how different countries look at Special Needs and Disabilities provision. I note in Spain, the University provides 3% of student places to people with disabilities.

Chinese Proverb:
‘The true miracle is not to fly in the air
Or to walk on the water


You can view the article, along with all comments, by clicking the following link:

No 4

Subject: Message posted
Date: Thursday, June 12, 2003 9:41 AM
Thank you for your comment, which has now been reviewed by the Editor and has been posted on the relevant site discussion area.

— Original Message —

Charged for being drunk and at A&E

Personally, I cannot understand why this is not in place. The health boards are losing money, the staff are stretched beyond reason, the waiting lists need serious attention and there are people who are purposely becoming drunk.

There is a word called Respect. This word can be used in terms of self-respect but there is also respect for others. I was rushed by ambulance to St. James’s recently. I commend all there for their effort. I had seen the RTE Prime Time programme and I was horrified.

There is a word called Shame. It has disappeared from our language otherwise we would respect ourselves, our families, people in general. The effort ought to be combined.

You get drunk – you are admitted to A&E – The person who takes your details should get work details, family etc. The bill for the ambulance which must be about 400 euros and the treatment by all concerned should be charged at full cost. The bill should be sent out say 10 days after the event to invoke shame. Also there should be something like the points system re driving with a hefty penalty.

It is time to stop the slip shod approach to administration. The internet was the research tool for the second world war and here we are not ‘pruning’ and seeking accountability from people for behaviour that is not acceptable.

Perhaps for breaches there should be community service.

QUOTE: ‘Addiction camouflages a vast inner emptiness, a gaping hole’
Carl Jung

Also……..Prince of Tides Film
‘There are no verdicts to childhood – only consequences and the bright freight of memory’

You can view the article, along with all comments, by clicking the following link:

No 5

Subject: Message posted
Date: Sunday, May 04, 2003 8:32 AM

Thank you for your comment, which has now been reviewed by the Editor and has been posted on the relevant site discussion area.

— Original Message —

Forms – the maze

Michelle agrees with you. In the days of the email, I believe life has become incredibly complicated for the average individual. This is a true paradox.

Forms as far as I can see endorse the sociological perspective of Talcott Parsons circa (1950’s). Parsons created the hierarchical bureaucratic system theory. Given that it was a foundation process, it is acceptable. What is not clear is the way administration has clogged up the effectiveness.

We see today the Farmers walk in and look for what they are entitled to in some Government Office. Yet again, they make the news.

You get a licence, you go to the post office, you go to the hospital, you go for bloods…….nothing works efficiently. And now people are so afraid that someone will sue them, they don’t answer correspondence, enter details on files that might be discriminatory (say depression). What has happened? Who is thinking?

This creates a big monster that has lots of power. Always remember, there are many ways to gain control over or intimidate other people. You can be the secretary working for say two people. It is simple if one annoys you – each time he/she hands you something to do just put it to the bottom of the list.

Part of my medical condition is I cannot understand money. It has become increasingly worse so that now I must take an amount and hope people when asked to take the price of what I am buying are honest.

The last time I entered a depression (lasted nearly 2 years), I know that only for a friend of mine, who took me in hand and identified the problem, I could get nothing sorted out. This was the absolute opposite of my pre-accident days. This caused me to become so anxious and frustrated with myself. It was so bad that I avoided places like the revenue who said I had not paid my tax and that within 3 days ‘they were sending a truck to collect assets….they would break down the door’. I tried to explain – they would not listen. It is past but in my former self it would not have happened. Then of course, those who know you and worry for you, say leave it – let someone else fight the battles.

I know after this experience it is with difficulty that I enter a bank or deal with an official. For me, I have every sympathy with the kids on the street, those who beg because if my experience is anything to go by – it is a humbling encounter with bureaucracy that I avoid.

Goffman ought to be read. He writes about Asylums and us/them and Stigma.

‘Certainty is the sin of bigots, terrorists and pharisees –
Compassion makes us think we may be wrong’ unknown

Enjoy the Long Weekend

Some effective Think Tanks are required – a little bit of that military precision, with the Irish endorsed.

You can view your comment, along with all comments, by clicking the following link:

No 6

Thank you for your comment, which has now been reviewed by the Editor and has been posted on the relevant site discussion area.

— Original Message —

Yet another group of people gathering together to make a plan for ‘Us’. I have encountered so much inability by those that represent the mentally ill to converse with ‘us’. The problem clearly is fear.

A programme was run by the Centre for Women Studies in Trinity in 1996 concerned with the re-integration of women and depression back into society. I was one of the first 15 selected. The research funded by Horizon 1997 for several years but the NRB (National Rehabilitation Board) found it to costly to implement.

Without it I could never have gone to Trinity College Dublin – the syllabus provided me with the necessary coping mechanisms but alas the inability of academia to meet the needs of those with disability particularly mental illness, and their inability to correspond and to consistently ignore your emails forces me to write and ask people to take on board the systems and representative organisations who exclude people especially people with mental illness or traumatic brain injury. We need an inclusive society.

Research by sociologists re. mental health should involve people who have had mental health problems on an equal footing. The question needs to be asked who decides what is to be researched? who funds it? what are the motives? The concept of the research making up the questions to my mind skews it. I of course may be wrong…….

Everyone has talents – a Platonic regimented approach to education does not invoke the best in people and is blatantly not suitable to young people who could be described as having say a sensitive nature.

I wrote to compliment an academic on a paper regarding rights for the like of ‘me’ and many times since trying to get an acknowledgement based on principle – it has been to no avail. This is ignorance and from the legal profession. I even raised it at a Fine Gael meeting on Crime. Charles Murray referred to the creation of the Underclass in America in the 1960’s – we are doing the same here. Mental illness is about stigma, shame, labels, limited if any health insurance is not paid for, Church hostility when marriage goes wrong. It is about an adversarial system that is penal to the person who is part of the revolving door of psychiatric.

People must wake up.

We are losing too many men to suicide. A child of 13 who had been raped at 10 is one of the latest to take her life. No one listens or cares as long as the presentation of the document for the meeting is acceptable. We are too far removed from reality.

Shame – it is absolutely a disgrace about the woman arrested and held for 10 hours re. the hoax calls.

We also must think about John Carthy. His crime to ask for a cigarette and to be shot dead.

In England they speak about Mental Health Survivors – we need to be talking Survivors here. In order to survive you need rehabilitation like the .

One final point. Why is alcoholism and drug addiction (illegal) not included with mental illness?.

A recent study shows that women enter mainly as depressives while men enter hospitals as alcoholics. Of course men are likely to have the large salaries etc. The link is very close between depression and alcohol. What skews this research?

It is coping strategies that people ought to be looking at.


‘Treat people as if they are what they ought to be and YOU WILL HELP THEM BECOME WHAT THEY ARE CAPABLE OF BECOMING’

You can view the article, along with all comments, by clicking the following link:

No 7

Subject: Message posted
Date: Tuesday, May 06, 2003 9:20 AM

Thank you for your comment, which has now been reviewed by the Editor and has been posted on the relevant site discussion area.

— Original Message —

Michelle responds to Annabel.

I absolutely agree with you. I was one of the people chosen for the Trinity Horizon Research Programme in 1996. The research concerned the re-integration of women who suffered depression back to the work environment. Towards the end of the programme we had discussions about obtaining work and possibly being ‘creative about our C.V.’s’. Most of the group of 15 could not produce a linear effect CV.

One point that is becoming quite apparent is the link between creativity and depression. Churchill who suffered from what he referred to ‘as his black dog’ openly referred to his solace in painting.

We had the opportunity of having Drama Classes with Michael Caven, Drama – Trinity College Dublin as part of our syllabus. At first we were not confident but in the end I must say that it proved a most satisfactory method of helping one cope with society and people when one is ‘under the weather’.

Drama for me was a coping skill. In fact when I met the psychologist by chance from the programme and I was running very scared of being in the divorce court room, she reminded me of drama…….I was able to step outside my sadness and pretend to be coping. I would have found it a very difficult life event if I had been undignified.

Back to Community employment.

It provided access for one woman into education, it provided access for another to art, another to drama, another working with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) support……I would say that this is a positive recommendation for a transition move from one situation to another.

I don’t understand as we face health problems, education problems, the arts provision reduction in funds (particularly as it draws in so many tourists and income to the country), that those economically motivated capitalists in Government cannot put an ‘economic’ value to social capital that is readily available and beneficial to the governmental areas they are encountering most problems with. Community employment has worked very well since it came into being in the early 1990’s. New Opportunites for Women, a Youth Programme, a health programme, an education programme has been funded by the EU and the outcome has been progress i.e. until today’s figures when unemployment has reached a three year high.

The recession only ceased in Ireland in 1994. The 1980’s recession in some academic circles is regarded as worse than the 1950’s. I know how bad it was because I emigrated with my husband. I also know in 1992 there was no change as we moved to Zimbabwe for him to work with John Sisk contractors. I returned in 1995 and my luck penny changed as I was accepted by the Trinity Horizon 1007 project and then into Trinity College Dublin as a BESS student. (This would not have been possibly with European Social funds).

I notice that country towns now maintain a very high standard and again community employment is the source.

Quote as it is Michelle. First Enjoy the Long Weekend

George Santayana
‘He who forgets the past is doomed to repeat it’

Let us not forget that preparations are presently being made re. the Disabilities Bill and its presentation in July. Community employment is most relevant in the context of people with disabilities, mental health problems and for those nearing retirement who feel more capable of doing a reduced amount of work – particularly those who keep parks maintained, towns tidy etc.


You can view your comment, along with all comments, by clicking the following link:

No 8

Subject: Message posted
Date: Wednesday, August 27, 2003 9:39 AM

Thank you for your comment, which has now been reviewed by the Editor and has been posted on the relevant site discussion area.

— Original Message —

As September approaches and as children return to school, it is time for parents, teachers, children themselves to consider situations that may occur while at school, namely bullying.

I read an excellent article in the Times last week by Louise Holden. An awareness education course is to be run in Rathmines about bullying. Declan Byrne based in Coolmine is involved and has written on this topic. He has knowledge of bullying situations over 30 years. His stated objective is to ‘Deter bullies before they do the emotional damage’. For all the attention they receive, remember bullies are in the minority group. However, parents need to prepare themselves to provide the children with coping strategies. They must empower their children. They must be aware and work in line with the teaching staff, the Board, the parents association.

Teachers need to be firm and make children aware about Tolerance and Respect. Teachers also need support from parents in this regard.

No child is born a bully, the behaviour develops. This relates to the early attempts of the child to assert his own control and the method he/she learns. If the child attains power, status and control by bullying other children, Byrne suggests that it takes a powerful argument to make the change.

This point is an interesting one and worth reflection in relation to bullying and life in general – PERCEPTION IS VITAL. ONE CHILD’S BANTER IS ANOTHER CHILD’S BULLYING.

A person is a person and the behaviour is the behaviour.

Avoid the age old comments – Bullying will do no harm, it will harden the child up or it is part of life.

It does not. It is up to people to stop it thriving –

We have the knowledge; we have a changing society; children become adults and unchecked learned practices are taken from school; to the workplace; to their ability to identify those with ‘say poor health and in vulnerable positions’; to apply it to those institutions like those for the mentally ill; and those in care.

The one point people ought to consider is that we live a lot longer and it becomes more likely that we will end up living in Old People’s Homes and bullying applies across the people spectrum; when you are vulnerable and beholden, it is not easy to complain.

It is best to teach children to identify and cope young.

Some suggestions:
Role play bully coping strategy techniques with your child. There are plenty of books now about self-esteem and children.

Again, children are precious but to allow a child to victimise and bully is fair to nobody. It is worth thinking about the impact on their lives and others who they bullied. Some children survive but then there are others and the consequences manifest at a future time and can be fatal.

I think an Ethics focused class needs to be added to school curriculum to form a general value system and educate children in a more empathetic way.

Michelle Clarke.
Quote: E.F. Schumacher
‘Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, more violent.
It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction’

You can view the article, along with all comments, by clicking the following link:


From: “Fergal Bowers”
Subject: To Michelle from
Date: Wednesday, March 05, 2003 2:07 PM


Thanks for your e-mail and indeed I do remember your contribution at the Aware lecture that I gave.

I will read through the material that you submitted to me. I may ask you later whether I can post it to as a discussions topic in the YOUR VIEW area which is very popular. Let me read it first though and I will get back to you as soon as I am able.


Fergal Bowers

Conclusion 7th April 2015

We are told we need closure. It was 17th November 2003 and I did not comply with the proposals suggested at Trinity College Dublin and submitted a file folder of the foregoing. I now call closure. I don’t need their BESS degree. More than anyone can possibly imagine, that is apart from others who shared the experience of being a student at Trinity College Dublin, education has empowered me, challenged me and given me coping strategies. Who knows? this week I read that Trinity College Dublin have MOOC’s ie online history. This may be the next step forward for me. It is centenary year in 2016. My grandfather Michael Comyn KC was a founder member of Sinn Fein and alongside Arthur Griffith they raised funds in Kansas, USA, in 1914. The Dictionary of Biography RIA details his life, but there is a lot more to add.

About michelleclarke2015

Life event that changes all: Horse riding accident in Zimbabwe in 1993, a fractured skull et al including bipolar anxiety, chronic fatigue …. co-morbidities (Nietzche 'He who has the reason why can deal with any how' details my health history from 1993 to date). 17th 2017 August operation for breast cancer (no indications just an appointment came from BreastCheck through the Post). Trinity College Dublin Business Economics and Social Studies (but no degree) 1997-2003; UCD 1997/1998 night classes) essays, projects, writings. Trinity Horizon Programme 1997/98 (Centre for Women Studies Trinity College Dublin/St. Patrick's Foundation (Professor McKeon) EU Horizon funded: research study of 15 women (I was one of this group and it became the cornerstone of my journey to now 2017) over 9 mth period diagnosed with depression and their reintegration into society, with special emphasis on work, arts, further education; Notes from time at Trinity Horizon Project 1997/98; Articles written for 2003/2004; St Patricks Foundation monthly lecture notes for a specific period in time; Selection of Poetry including poems written by people I know; Quotations 1998-2017; other writings mainly with theme of social justice under the heading Citizen Journalism Ireland. Letters written to friends about life in Zimbabwe; Family history including Michael Comyn KC, my grandfather, my grandmother's family, the O'Donnellan ffrench Blake-Forsters; Moral wrong: An acrimonious divorce but the real injustice was the Catholic Church granting an annulment – you can read it and make your own judgment, I have mine. Topics I have written about include annual Brain Awareness week, Mashonaland Irish Associataion in Zimbabwe, Suicide (a life sentence to those left behind); Nostalgia: Tara Hill, Co. Meath.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

408 Responses to Trinity College Dublin 1997 to 2003 but no Degree (18,300 words). Part II is essay “Can mental illness be seen as a social deviance?” by Michelle Clarke

  1. Pingback: CAN MENTAL ILLNESS BE UNDERSTOOD AS A FORM OF SOCIAL DEVIANCE? Written by: Michelle Clarke- September 2003 submitted to Professor McAleese, BESS, Department, Trinity College Dublin. For further details see earlier entry Trinity College 1997 to 2003 but no

  2. Pingback: CAN MENTAL ILLNESS BE UNDERSTOOD AS A FORM OF SOCIAL DEVIANCE? Written by: Michelle Clarke- September 2003 submitted to Professor McAleese, BESS, Department, Trinity College Dublin. For further details see earlier entry Trinity College 1997 to 2003 but no

  3. Pingback: CAN MENTAL ILLNESS BE UNDERSTOOD AS A FORM OF SOCIAL DEVIANCE? Written by: Michelle Clarke- September 2003 submitted to Professor McAleese, BESS, Department, Trinity College Dublin. For further details see earlier entry Trinity College 1997 to 2003 but no

  4. Pingback: CAN MENTAL ILLNESS BE UNDERSTOOD AS A FORM OF SOCIAL DEVIANCE? Written by: Michelle Clarke- September 2003 submitted to Professor McAleese, BESS, Department, Trinity College Dublin. For further details see earlier entry Trinity College 1997 to 2003 but no

  5. Pingback: CAN MENTAL ILLNESS BE UNDERSTOOD AS A FORM OF SOCIAL DEVIANCE? Written by: Michelle Clarke- September 2003 submitted to Professor McAleese, BESS, Department, Trinity College Dublin. For further details see earlier entry Trinity College 1997 to 2003 but no

  6. Pingback: Trinity College Dublin 1997 to 2003 but no Degree by Michelle Clarke | canisgallicus

  7. Pingback: Trinity College Dublin 1997 to 2003 but no Degree (18,300 words). Part II is essay “Can mental illness be seen as a social deviance” by Michelle Clarke | canisgallicus


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s