The first of its kind in the UK – The Project’s purpose is to set up and run a therapeutic Centre, initially in Cornwall , for those suffering from schizophrenias and other mental illnesses. By adopting an orthomolecular treatment approach, this will be the first Centre of its type in the UK .
We want to avoid systems that are more convenient for the provider and favour the administration, as these can be less than efficient. We will keep the patient’s needs and well-being in the foreground when planning the operational systems, rules and regulations. Proposed systems must be easy to use and understand and will be thoroughly checked to ensure that they provide as much patient focus and efficiency as possible before they are accepted and implemented. To achieve this will require a pragmatic and flexible approach.
Our treatment will be based on the pioneering work of Dr.Abram Hoffer and Dr.Carl Pfeiffer, in Canada and America respectively, known as orthomolecular or nutritional medicine. Our aim is to help participants re-enter society with a programme that will include occupational and recreational therapies, social re-education, psychotherapy and an holistic approach through
- Use of the orthomolecular method
- Developing the strengths of participants and helping them live in a community setting
- Involvement in the Centre such as taking part in our organic horticulture programme, gardening, cooking and cleaning. This will provide a structure and belonging in their lives plus a re-introduction to decision making and the issues of living as a group
- Recreational activities which will include supported contacts in the outside community when appropriate
- Encouraging family contact
- Activities that focus on relationships, regaining independence, housing and re-training for work. This will involve counselling sessions, therapy groups and practical groups to aid the relearning of basic living skills
- Self medication including nutritional maintenance and relapse awareness
- Regular physical exercise
Our staff, who will be studiously vetted and come from the ‘top’ end of the employment market, will be dedicated to the aims of the Centre and skilled and experienced in helping people suffering from a considerable range of mental illnesses and problems.
We will provide secure residential facilities for up to 18 people as well as offering the opportunity to use the Centre for conferences, training and research once we are up and running. The setting will be rural, possibly a previous farm site, where the peaceful relaxing environment will aid the recovery process and provide a base for our work. It is hoped that our organic horticulture programme, an integral part of the recovery regime, will fulfil both its therapeutic responsibilities and satisfy the needs of the Centre.
We are suggesting that residents will be aged between 18 and 65 years without a history of serious offences such as violence, sexual assaults, drug or alcohol abuse. The expected stay would be between six months and two years although the Centre will treat each participant and their needs on an individual basis. All entrants will be registered with a local GP and a close working relationship will be developed with relevant services such as Community Health teams, the County Council, the Health Authority and Social Services. Enrolling at the Chy-Sawel Treatment Centre will be a lifestyle changing experience and because the patients will be learning a new way of living to help them overcome their problems, we intend to refer to them as ‘students’.
On arrival at the Centre each student will undergo tests for any biochemical and cerebral allergies plus checks for abnormal levels of toxic metals, such as lead, mercury, copper, cadmium and aluminium. Levels of vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids and fats will be checked and all of this information will help indicate the appropriate individual treatment. This may initially mean a continuation of psychotropic medications but with a long-term view of reducing and eventually eliminating their need. Combining nutrients with medication can provide a number of advantages e.g. some nutrients progress the activity of the medications while others can be substituted for them. This will lead to the reduction of dosage as the body begins to do for itself what the drugs were prescribed for.
Nutrients will be supplied in regulated amounts to recreate biochemical balance in the same way that supplements are given when a normal diet is insufficient. Fresh fruits and vegetables (grown and harvested on our farm wherever possible), fish, fowl and whole grains form the basis of the diet whilst refined flours, white sugar, caffeine, processed foods, dairy products and chemical additives will be avoided. A rotation diet will ensure that students who are being treated for cerebral allergies will avoid hypoallergenic foods such as wheat, soy and eggs. Initially, some students will be overweight due to inadequate diets, heavy medication and lack of exercise whilst others will be underweight and malnourished – Chy-Sawel will instil healthy and sound dietary habits and re-educate its students by showing them that three healthy meals per day are satisfying both medically and socially.
As stated, we will look to accommodate a maximum of 18 students at any one time basically split into three units of 6, defined by their state of recovery. There will be a natural progression as the initial intake of severely ill move on to the next unit as they improve and then finally to individual flatlets which will prepare them to cope on their own. Students will gradually learn to become more self sufficient, intellectually as well as practically, living in a structured environment where they will be expected to manage their own nutrient / medication programme and attend all courses relevant to their needs. In time, they will be required to undertake household chores, volunteer and part time jobs as and when they are capable of doing so. In this way, the Centre will develop positive links with the local community, helping to combat the stigma and reduce the discrimination associated with mental illness. As the Centre becomes established, it is intended that provision will be made to include further education classes in association with one of the local colleges, again enhancing the rehabilitation process. We will find out the interests and activities that the students enjoyed prior to their illness and incorporate these into their recovery programme. This should help to create a friendlier and more interesting atmosphere and overcome any feelings that this is just another ‘hospital treatment’. Most sufferers dislike taking psychiatric drugs because of the severe and unpleasant side effects. Their appreciation that we are working towards curtailing that treatment will, in itself, be a strong motivating factor for their compliance and perseverance. We will involve their families at all times as it is recognised that they have an important role to play and must understand how they can co-operate in and assist the recovery. It should be remembered that, for the majority of our students, Chy-Sawel will be looked on as a last resort after years of psychiatric treatment and numerous periods of hospitalisation. With the introduction of their recovery programme, the student’s concentration will improve, confusion will diminish and they will be able to appreciate what we are offering them……. hope!