A Tayside mental health worker who stuck his fingers around the mouth of a mentally ill service user to make them ‘smile’ has been hit with an 18-month warning.
Mindspace worker Alastair Jamieson also belittled a colleague at least four times over the course of more than a year – and asked a visiting female student if she wanted to “come play” with him.
A disciplinary hearing heard he stuck his fingers around the sides of a service user’s mouth sometime in 2015 and in 2016, in the presence of a colleague and other service users, forcing them into a grin.
Jamieson also asked a female student, “do you want to come play with me?” between October 2015 and June 2017 – and failed to tell regulators at the Scottish Services Social Council (SSSC) that he had been given a written warning by Mindspace about his conduct.
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He also belittled a co-worker named as Colleague Z to the point of “emotional harm” over several months.
Among other incidents said to have contributed to the mistreatment of the man – who had depression, anxiety and PTSD – Jamieson suggested Colleague Z wasn’t a “real man” by practising mindfulness, a coping strategy for those with mental health issues.
And prior to a job interview, he belittled the worker in front of his colleagues, telling him: “Sir, if you are going to secure employment here you will need to be more subservient.”
The SSSC has placed an 18-month warning on his record.
Referring directly to the incident where he stuck his fingers around a man’s mouth, the watchdog said: “Your behaviour was physically abusive and offensive to the individual concerned.
“It could have caused emotional harm, particularly given that the service worked with people who lived with mental health issues, including the service user, who might be more vulnerable to a risk of harm of this nature.”
It added that his behaviour towards the female student was “likely to cause embarrassment and distress, particularly given your seniority”, and described his treatment of Colleague Z as “disrespectful and belittling”.
Jamieson, who has an otherwise unblemished and lengthy record of social work practise, was said to have shown “insight and regret” for his behaviour at the hearing at Dundee’s Compass House.
He did not respond to a request for comment.
A spokeswoman for Mindspace said: “We can confirm that the individual in question has not been employed at Mindspace for several years.
“We believe our safeguards enabled us to deal with this matter effectively; however, we are prevented by law from discussing anything further”.