Page last updated at 05:41 GMT, Monday, 15 September 2003 06:41 UK

'Medication alone doesn't cure'

Paul Grey
Paul Grey spent 10 years in the mental health care system
Paul Grey looks every inch the successful businessman in smart suit and tie, neatly groomed hair and gold-rimmed glasses.

He runs a thriving building firm but just a few years ago the 33-year-old was repeatedly and forcibly admitted to hospital under the Mental Health Act.

"There were occasions when I would lie down in the middle of a busy road and an ambulance would be called and I'd be taken to hospital.

"Other times I jumped into ponds and other crazy things but at the time I was living in this fantasy world," Mr Grey recalled.

Mr Grey's problems began in 1990 when he was under stress at work.

His mental health rapidly deteriorated to the point he was delusional and eventually he was sectioned by police - forcibly admitted to a mental health care unit.

It was the first of many such admissions over the next 10 years.

"When I was sectioned there were occasions when I was held down by nurses and injected or put into isolation.

Treatment never stops - there's never an end
Paul Grey
"The medication is very powerful - I ended up two stone overweight because it gives you cravings. I was on a cocktail of all sorts of stuff and they had serious side effects," he said.

Mr Grey said the treatment was not pleasant but he was more upset by the attitudes that accompanied it such as a refusal to listen to patients' concerns.

"The bottom line for me is that, like in the business world, you listen.

"You listen to your customers, listen to what they want to do and then you develop your product or service around the individual's needs."

"The missing elements are hope and compassion and if they're missing and all that's left is medication, it doesn't work."

Faith

And he is not convinced that introducing culturally-specific treatment would help solve the problems.

"If somebody has pre-conceived ideas about what I'm about and then does things they might think culturally-appropriate to me without listening to me and understanding me then that could become a problem in itself," he said.

Mr Grey puts his recovery down to his Christian faith and a determination to prove his psychiatrists wrong.

"Medication alone doesn't cure, that is a reality. It might relieve, but it doesn't cure. The bible was my inspiration, something I could hold onto.

"Treatment never stops - there's never an end. No-one ever says to you 'you're well'. I just pulled away from it," he said.

By 1999 Mr Grey was well enough to marry and set up a business but still wanted to help give others hope of life after mental illness.

Now as well as running his building firm he is also a mental health consultant.

His latest project - Unlocking Potential - involves working with young black men in east London trying to assimilate them into the world of work.

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