Sunday, 26 August 2012

Education, education, education

It's been a while since I blogged here, as you can imagine it's not easy getting the time to sit and write about this and to be honest, I don't always feel like it either. But I'm in the mood for typing tonight so here we go...

I want to talk about something positive today! Gareth is what is known as an EBE (eebee) an Expert By Experience and works alongside EBOs (eebows) Experts By Occupation to deliver training to the NHS about personality disorders. Together an EBE and an EBO educate classes of NHS staff on the realities of having a pd. What makes these classes so special, in my opinion, is the presence of the EBE. Having someone there who lives with pd every day is an invaluable teaching tool.

But why would NHS staff need training in PD? Especially mental health nurses, surely they know all about personality disorders from their degrees right? Wrong! The coverage of personality disorders in mental health training is either zero or pitiful. Most RMNs (Registered Mental Nurses) actually know very little if anything at all about personality disorders and what they do know is usually so far from the truth it actually frightens me to death! RMNs are the ones looking after people in hospital with mental health problems and a high percentage (Gareth would know the exact figure) of people with mental health issues have a personality disorder.

Part of the training that Gareth does involves asking the class (usually RMNs) what they honestly think of people with PDs. Answers usually go something like this, "pain in the arse", "manipulative", "evil", "difficult"... so if this was the opinion of someone being paid to look after your husband when he's in hospital at his most vulnerable would you be happy?!

Fortunately over 3 days training Gareth and an EBO explain to the class how pd's are developed, look at the myths surrounding pd's (namely that all people with PDs are evil, difficult, manipulative and a pain in the arse!) and thanks to people like Gareth they get to understand what it is actually like having to live with one. A group of psychiatrists (yes he trains top psychiatrists too) gave Gareth a standing ovation during one session after he answered their (many) questions honestly.

I'm going to ask Gareth to help me write another post on what he covers in the training as although only 6 people read this at the moment, 6 people understanding pd is better than none and you never know one day other people may read this too. Sian xx


  1. I think part of the problem with mental illness is that it scares people in the way that physical illness doesn't. They don't understand it and that invokes fear, so anything Gareth can do to help people to understand can only be a good thing.

    Thank you for sharing Sian and Gareth. Although I rarely know what the right thing to say is, I do feel I'm learning something be reading this.

  2. IT is scary that the people who are paid to help don't have a clue but it is a good thing that they too are learning :)

    Sian - I am sure you are helping a great many more than you think, there are 6 people who have joined but I'll bet there are a hell of a lot more who are reading along and also being educated along the way :) xx

  3. I'm reading too - I just don't use Google's "follower" thingy

    and I'm certainly keen to be educated - and I'm glad that Gareth has the opportunity to help the NHS caregivers gain a more thorough understanding into personality disorders