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Cardiff student tells of sectioning nightmare – from Gair Rhydd – Cardiff University student newspaper

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Cardiff student tells of sectioning nightmare Posted in News by Alexander Norton on March 3, 2015 http://cardiffstudentmedia.co.uk/gairrhydd/news/cardiff-student-tells-sectioning-nightmare/ A mature student has revealed to Gair Rhydd details of eighteen turbulent years as a mental health patient. Wesley Gerrard, 37, is currently studying Translation at Cardiff University’s School of Modern Languages – but for nearly two decades his academic career has been disrupted by a series of detainments. Gerrard claimed that his extensive experiences with the system have been far from positive and provoked him to set up the campaign site ‘endofterror.org’. The site aims to raise awareness of his experiences – but this in itself has brought him problems. “As soon as I started publishing stories on ‘endofterror’, I’ve had major police involvement. I came to realise it was dangerous to publish this sort of thing,” he said. In all, the part-time DJ claimed to have been sectioned under the Mental Health Act on “fifteen to twenty” occasions. He claimed that his encounters with mental health services started when he was studying for an undergraduate degree in Geography at University College London in 1997. “I ran into some trouble in London and when I came home, my parents forced me to go to an outpatient appointment. “Since then I haven’t really progressed or gotten out of the system.” He said that he was discouraged from undertaking further education by the fact that they “wouldn’t let me out of hospital to complete my exams [and] sectioned me whilst I was preparing my dissertation”. Despite this, he re-entered higher education with the Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning in around 2008, and subsequently progressed to undertake a full degree. However, he still had encounters with mental health authorities – until an academic “would not accept me pulling out of classes and put me in touch with disability advisor.” “They said: ‘enough is enough, we’re not going to have this student’s life ruined anymore’. It made me very happy knowing I was going to get some protection from Cardiff University.” The University’s intervention reportedly caused the mental health authorities to “lay off me”, and despite averaging a sectioning a year he came to an agreement with mental health authorities “not to disrupt his studies for three years”. However, over the festive period he once again found himself incarcerated at St. Caldcot’s Hospital – and was accused by the authorities of having delusions over his status…

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