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This is the cruel but comic story of a well intentioned amateur who trips over the official system of professional mental health care. Alan Main retires as a science teacher and volunteers in a mental health day centre in a small town in Warwickshire. The centre is run by Maria, a charismatic woman who set the centre up at very low cost, using mainly volunteers and members themselves to run it. Alan has a few surprises at first, but finds he is good at the work and enjoys it. He gets on well with the members, who remind him of the teenagers he used to like, with their moods, occasional bizarre behaviour, but who are often funny and caring of each other. He uses his experience to run groups and workshops, and starts studying to learn more about mental illness.
The State system is encroaching, however, and Maria is sacked, being replaced by Liza, a professional manager. The trustees make no effort to defend Maria, being more interested in their own reputation than the members’ or Maria’s welfare. Alan and some of the members are outspoken about what is happening, with little effect. Alan is told on the eve of his final exam by Maria and her assistant Michelle that he is suspended for two breaches of confidentiality. He appeals against this, as the charges have been fabricated. His college tutor, Glad, tells him he will not win, but he must keep on fighting as it is only informed outsiders who can change the system. He takes his case as high as he can, even to the top County NHS manager, but gets nowhere. He realises that volunteers have no rights. And he watches helplessly as the day centre is changed beyond recognition by the authorities. The community is destroyed in the name of the current mental health dogma. His anger abates in time and he looks back wryly upon the whole episode. He vows never to get involved with the NHS mental health world again, but keeps contact with the members with whom he made friends.
Keywords:- Battle Against Bureaucracy, Modern Community, Community Fight, Anti authority Comedy, Misuse Of Authority, David And Goliath, One Man’s Struggle, Mental Health Drama, One Man Against The Government.
Genres:- General Non-Fiction