Candidate in Richmond Park by election

I am a candidate in the Richmond Park by-election as I am concerned that UK policy towards people receiving mental health diagnoses is having a disastrous impact, not only domestically but also on other countries, who look to the UK as an example.

I have seen the marketing strategies of pharmaceutical companies from the inside and I believe it is my job to make people aware. Policy in the UK often seems like a ‘copy-paste’ of the ideas promoted in these marketing strategies.

I also used to work in a psychoneurological institution. I am currently working on a project trying to reduce the use of antipsychotic treatments in long term care institutions in former Soviet Union countries.

In the UK, there are many campaigns aiming to raise awareness about mental health and calling for more money to be allocated to the NHS mental health budget. Too few mention the importance of respecting individuals’ choice and the overall effect of many of these campaigns is that more people are pressurised or forced to accept mental health diagnoses and treatment.

As a result of some campaigns in the UK, if you question mental health diagnoses or the increasing use of psychiatric treatments, you are completely shut out. This has consequences worldwide — what we do is taken as best practice. When I questioned one individual in an emerging market country, he referred to a conference he had just attended in the UK.

I have written to Norman Lamb, the former care minister and Liberal Democrat mental health spokesperson, on the issue of improving an individual’s rights in hospitals. I have also written to Sarah Olney’s campaign team and have not received a response from her. I ask that the Lib Dems really think through everything they have said. I am not seeking any votes in this election.

I am calling for a complete end to forced psychiatric treatment. Once someone has been sectioned, consent should be required for psychiatric treatment even if someone claims an individual lacks capacity. What happens in the UK ultimately affects millions of people in the world.