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    It looks like i am going to have to wait another year to get a place on the conversion degree, then do a year at that, before going for my masters? Or should i just hang up my coat and say enough's enough?!?
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    Why would you hang up your coat? Are you planning on retiring 40 years early?
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    (Original post by ~Tara~)
    Why would you hang up your coat? Are you planning on retiring 40 years early?
    I am 35 now with acute chronic paranoid schizophrenia and a criminal record such that not even a charity shop/pub/or supermarket will touch me.


    None of them even offer me an interview, not even a call back.

    And I have been in and out of education since 1997, when i got my gcses, failed at a levels, passed the first year of an avce and then eventually got my degree. I have also spent over three years in this time in psychiatric locked wards.

    So yes, i think i am entitled to the benefits, that the government are, at present, refusing to cough up.


    Thanks again.
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    (Original post by john2054)
    I am 35 now with acute chronic paranoid schizophrenia and a criminal record such that not even a charity shop/pub/or supermarket will touch me.


    None of them even offer me an interview, not even a call back.

    And I have been in and out of education since 1997, when i got my gcses, failed at a levels, passed the first year of an avce and then eventually got my degree. I have also spent over three years in this time in psychiatric locked wards.

    So yes, i think i am entitled to the benefits, that the government are, at present, refusing to cough up.


    Thanks again.
    If you can't get a job you may as well keep studying. Obviously I don't know much about your situation but wouldn't it be a good way to keep you occupied?
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    Getting a degree with all of that hardship that you've faced. You're pretty amazing!

    I think if you feel stable enough and able to do the work, I don't think you should let your background stop you. Depending on your criminal offence it doesn't necessarily exclude you from what you want to do so as long as your mental health condition is managed.

    Yeah the government is pants. Are you getting any PIP?
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    (Original post by Shumaya)
    If you can't get a job you may as well keep studying. Obviously I don't know much about your situation but wouldn't it be a good way to keep you occupied?
    I do quite like studying, it's just this degree is praised as the be all and end all, and now i have got one, i don't feel really to have placed myself in that much a better situation. I might just join the gym, and go clubbing again. So that at least i will feel rich, and hang out with all of the studs and hos
    (Original post by ~Tara~)
    Getting a degree with all of that hardship that you've faced. You're pretty amazing!

    I think if you feel stable enough and able to do the work, I don't think you should let your background stop you. Depending on your criminal offence it doesn't necessarily exclude you from what you want to do so as long as your mental health condition is managed.

    Yeah the government is pants. Are you getting any PIP?
    I love our government, and i can quite understand them making it more difficult for claimants not to get benefits. I'm not on pip and i'm not sure that i'm eligible for it. The thing is my wife works and earns full time, so in theory she should start contributing something towards the upkeep bills and rent. Which i'm sure she will, give her time. And god bless her! Thanks...

    PS i think that is also a reason for why i am not eligible for esa, because my wife is earning.
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    If by masters you mean to qualify as some type of psychologist, you may have difficulties as most (if not all, I don't know for sure) will require a DBS criminal records check. If this is the case, you may want to talk to the unis you are interested in for the masters and explain your situation, to see what they say
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    (Original post by *Interrobang*)
    If by masters you mean to qualify as some type of psychologist, you may have difficulties as most (if not all, I don't know for sure) will require a DBS criminal records check. If this is the case, you may want to talk to the unis you are interested in for the masters and explain your situation, to see what they say
    Thanks Interrobang, i have already had a preliminary conversation around these lines. I think it may well be the case that i can do the degree, just won't be able to work in the field because of this record. In which case i will be tempted to ask, is it worth my time and money going for another five or six years of study, and another £43k or so in debt, if i am going to finish in the same place as i started at???
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    (Original post by john2054)
    Thanks Interrobang, i have already had a preliminary conversation around these lines. I think it may well be the case that i can do the degree, just won't be able to work in the field because of this record. In which case i will be tempted to ask, is it worth my time and money going for another five or six years of study, and another £43k or so in debt, if i am going to finish in the same place as i started at???
    I would only suggest doing the conversion course if your aim is to become some kind of psychologist. A lot of jobs do not specify a degree subject, only a classification, so I don't see what else the conversion degree would add. However, I'm not sure what to suggest with getting a job given your situation
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    (Original post by *Interrobang*)
    I would only suggest doing the conversion course if your aim is to become some kind of psychologist. A lot of jobs do not specify a degree subject, only a classification, so I don't see what else the conversion degree would add. However, I'm not sure what to suggest with getting a job given your situation
    Thanks for that. the thing is that i have an interest in schizophrenia, and have already written my dissertation and a third year sociology unit on it, so it makes sense to take this further. However the best degree i can do to prepare me for a doctorate in this subject, is the mental health research masters at notts, and i have already spoken to the head of this programme, who confirmed to me that i would need the conversion degree, to go down this route. But they are full up for this year. I guess i don't mind having a year out, thanks. PS i am going to london in two and a half hours, thanks.
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    (Original post by john2054)
    Thanks for that. the thing is that i have an interest in schizophrenia, and have already written my dissertation and a third year sociology unit on it, so it makes sense to take this further. However the best degree i can do to prepare me for a doctorate in this subject, is the mental health research masters at notts, and i have already spoken to the head of this programme, who confirmed to me that i would need the conversion degree, to go down this route. But they are full up for this year. I guess i don't mind having a year out, thanks. PS i am going to london in two and a half hours, thanks.
    It's likely that doing research with vulnerable people would also require a DBS check - I would also contact universities and ask their policies on that. If it's an interest (but not necessarily leading to a job), you could see about doing a course/modules through the OU, for example
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    Have you spoken to the British Psychological society and the hpcp? They are best placed to give advice on criminal records as they are the regulatory bodies involved.

    You could choose academia rather than direct client/patient route. I would certainly make sure you exhaust every route before making a decision on this
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    (Original post by john2054)
    I am 35 now with acute chronic paranoid schizophrenia and a criminal record such that not even a charity shop/pub/or supermarket will touch me.


    None of them even offer me an interview, not even a call back.

    And I have been in and out of education since 1997, when i got my gcses, failed at a levels, passed the first year of an avce and then eventually got my degree. I have also spent over three years in this time in psychiatric locked wards.

    So yes, i think i am entitled to the benefits, that the government are, at present, refusing to cough up.


    Thanks again.
    As someone who is a practicing psychologist, and whose doctoral thesis covered schizophrenia/psychosis, there are some things to think about.

    1) Be aware that psychology, and in particular anything to do with mental health, is an extremely competitive field. Having been through the system myself as well as being involved in hiring psychology graduates and psychologists, you will be up against people who have almost perfect records and grades. Thats both for applied (e.g. clinical, forensic psychology) and academic (research and teaching)settings. The undergraduate level is probably the easiest part, as there are many psychology courses and most institutions have to recruit actively. However, there is a phenomenol drop off after this when it comes to going any higher. Thats not to say "don't study" -its just going in with your eyes open and being able to set your expectations.

    2) As others have mentioned most professional psychology doctorates will have DRB checks (and enhanced ones at that) and this will preclude several pathways for individuals with criminal records. If your record indicates things like a past speeding offence, then that may be okay. If its something more substantial then that will be a major obstacle. Even if you want to do straight research into mental illness or any vulnerable client group, you are likely to need to pass DRB checks (I did when I was in pure research). This isn't about not giving people second chances, its about risk. I can't imagine any primary investigator opening themselves upto a future investigation if anything goes wrong and they probably wouldn't get past HR in the first place. There may be other ways to study schizophrenia without any client contact (e.g. neuroscience or animal work), but I would check with people in that field whether your record would preclude any work in that area.

    3) While undergrad is fairly managable, doctorates are incredibly draining on anyone's mental health. I am a big believer in encouraging people with mental health problems into educaton and supporting them through it, but I also think it is cruel to put potentially vulnerable people into situations that are almost designed to push them to their limits and beyond. Before you go down the study pathway, do make sure you are in a good place mentally and already have the necessary support and help to keep you there.

    4) On the other hand there are alternative pathways for service users/ex service users to contribute to mental health. The service user movement is a rapidly developing field that links to clinical services, academia, politics, journalism and other fields, and people do find work in this field. The movement values expertise by experience and diversity, and there are a range of jobs slowly opening up. For example, on my clinical psychology training course we have a service user coordinator involved in teaching and selection, which was a paid role. Later on in my second clinical job, we had another service user rep who advised the service and gave input on what we did, which was paid too.

    There is some stuff to think about, but it's just one persons perspective. What I would advise anyone to do is to identify a person who is in the type of job you would like and make contact with them. Ask them about their work life background, what they had to do and the challenges to get there. Be open about your strengths, ambitions and limitations and see what they say. The more information you can get the better.
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    (Original post by *Interrobang*)
    It's likely that doing research with vulnerable people would also require a DBS check - I would also contact universities and ask their policies on that. If it's an interest (but not necessarily leading to a job), you could see about doing a course/modules through the OU, for example
    (Original post by ~Tara~)
    Have you spoken to the British Psychological society and the hpcp? They are best placed to give advice on criminal records as they are the regulatory bodies involved.

    You could choose academia rather than direct client/patient route. I would certainly make sure you exhaust every route before making a decision on this
    (Original post by Lord Asriel)
    As someone who is a practicing psychologist, and whose doctoral thesis covered schizophrenia/psychosis, there are some things to think about.

    1) Be aware that psychology, and in particular anything to do with mental health, is an extremely competitive field. Having been through the system myself as well as being involved in hiring psychology graduates and psychologists, you will be up against people who have almost perfect records and grades. Thats both for applied (e.g. clinical, forensic psychology) and academic (research and teaching)settings. The undergraduate level is probably the easiest part, as there are many psychology courses and most institutions have to recruit actively. However, there is a phenomenol drop off after this when it comes to going any higher. Thats not to say "don't study" -its just going in with your eyes open and being able to set your expectations.

    2) As others have mentioned most professional psychology doctorates will have DRB checks (and enhanced ones at that) and this will preclude several pathways for individuals with criminal records. If your record indicates things like a past speeding offence, then that may be okay. If its something more substantial then that will be a major obstacle. Even if you want to do straight research into mental illness or any vulnerable client group, you are likely to need to pass DRB checks (I did when I was in pure research). This isn't about not giving people second chances, its about risk. I can't imagine any primary investigator opening themselves upto a future investigation if anything goes wrong and they probably wouldn't get past HR in the first place. There may be other ways to study schizophrenia without any client contact (e.g. neuroscience or animal work), but I would check with people in that field whether your record would preclude any work in that area.

    3) While undergrad is fairly managable, doctorates are incredibly draining on anyone's mental health. I am a big believer in encouraging people with mental health problems into educaton and supporting them through it, but I also think it is cruel to put potentially vulnerable people into situations that are almost designed to push them to their limits and beyond. Before you go down the study pathway, do make sure you are in a good place mentally and already have the necessary support and help to keep you there.

    4) On the other hand there are alternative pathways for service users/ex service users to contribute to mental health. The service user movement is a rapidly developing field that links to clinical services, academia, politics, journalism and other fields, and people do find work in this field. The movement values expertise by experience and diversity, and there are a range of jobs slowly opening up. For example, on my clinical psychology training course we have a service user coordinator involved in teaching and selection, which was a paid role. Later on in my second clinical job, we had another service user rep who advised the service and gave input on what we did, which was paid too.

    There is some stuff to think about, but it's just one persons perspective. What I would advise anyone to do is to identify a person who is in the type of job you would like and make contact with them. Ask them about their work life background, what they had to do and the challenges to get there. Be open about your strengths, ambitions and limitations and see what they say. The more information you can get the better.
    Thanks peops, i am waiting for my dbs check to come back. And i understand that i won't be able to work with people in my research, however i am still confident in my ability to produce a meaty dissertation, based purely on academic endeavours. That's not to say that i won't talk to service users throughout this time. God help me, some of my best friends, who i talk to on a daily basis fall in to this category. Just that i won't directly include these conversations in to my endeavours, or if i do, i will make sure that they are properly referenced.

    Also thanks for your concern as to my mental wellbeing, but again this is something else that i am confident that with the right amount of support and academic feedback, is another fence i can jump (equestrian). Something which i will need to spend more time considering, is whether it is worth my time and money, studying and reading for another six or so years, to complete a qualification, just to add the letters of a doctor, before and after my name. This being said, i do think it would be pretty cool. Again i should stress, anyone who thinks that the academic environment clearly should spend a month or two on the wards, as an in patient, to get a real taste of suffering and pressure.

    This isn't to say that i don't value your contributions, just that this whole, my cv is better than yours, seems to me pretty artificial, when compared with my real lived experience.

    Also it is true that my own experiences are only one man's triumphs, or should that be one family's, but be this as it may, we are all only individuals before thrown in to the mix (dj term). So to round up: yes i will think very carefully before considering a conversion to psychology degree, and the expense being one factor. I am also toying with the idea of going in to project management (engineering) or data (i.t.) but i fear that i will encounter stigma, which is the discrimination of people based on their mental health status, on whatever field i choose to pursue. Not to mention that my ba research was on schizophrenia, so i do have a certain degree of insight in to this matter. And yes i also have to accept that a certain amount of my findings will be distorted by my own allusions. I take this as a given. Thanks again.
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    No one is questioning your experience or academic rigour. It was actually pointed out that people with lived experience are very valuable and can offer insights which wouldn't otherwise be available.

    However, there's no getting away from it being difficult. It's just a different kind of difficult. I've survived some of the most heinous experiences but I still get frustrated with everyday stuff like everyone else. I've found studying now hard because it requires a constant and consistent level of engagement and ability. My mental health ebbs and flows even with a lot of support. It has impacted my ability to study and to produce to the standard I am capable of when at my peak mental health.
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    (Original post by ~Tara~)
    No one is questioning your experience or academic rigour. It was actually pointed out that people with lived experience are very valuable and can offer insights which wouldn't otherwise be available.

    However, there's no getting away from it being difficult. It's just a different kind of difficult. I've survived some of the most heinous experiences but I still get frustrated with everyday stuff like everyone else. I've found studying now hard because it requires a constant and consistent level of engagement and ability. My mental health ebbs and flows even with a lot of support. It has impacted my ability to study and to produce to the standard I am capable of when at my peak mental health.
    Good points Tara. Ask me again in the morning when i am less out of it okay? x
 
 
 
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