Yessica's Journey Blog

Welcome to the Yessica's Journey Blog Site, a Journey through Mental Health, Wellbeing and Creativity.


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Invited by Time to Change to the House of Commons to celebrate World Mental Health Day 2013

© Copyright 2013 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Copyright Extracts from Time to Change Website Article. Please do not copy or download images or text.

Link to Anastacia’s article on the Time to Change Website

Link to Time to Change Website Article
What a way to celebrate World Mental Health Day. I was given the most amazing opportunity and was invited to the Terrace Pavillion at the House of Commons to celebrate parliament’s work in challenging mental health discrimination with Time to Change and charities Mind and Rethink. Some of the Time to Change Champions across the country were invited to the event as a thank you for their support to the campaign. I feel very privileged to have been given this once in a lifetime opportunity.

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Anastacia centre with Time to Change Champions at the House of Commons on World Mental Health Day

Nick Clegg the Deputy Prime Minister, Alastair Campbell and other MPs including Kevan Jones were there. The event was held to celebrate the successful work of Time to change and focused on MPs talking about their own mental health and making a pledge and commitment to giving more support to the mental health and wellbeing of their employees and ending discrimination in the workplace. The event also celebrated the passing of the Mental Health Discrimination No 2 Act 2013 which allows people who have had experience of mental health problems to be MPs, Company Directors and Jurors.

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MPs are beginning to speak out about their own mental health. Many organisations and employers have pledged to address mental health issues.

Below slideshow showing images from event.

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Attitudes are slowly changing and it is through the hard work of campaigns like Time to Change, mental health organisations and people who speak out about their own mental health that has helped to make these changes possible.

Having the strength and courage to speak out is not easy but it is through people’s individual qualities, through their determination and passion that will help to change attitudes in our society. Just having a conversation with someone goes a long way to help break down the barriers and stereotypes associated with mental health. Through education we can learn to think differently, we can start to understand and empathise and that is when people will begin to change how they perceive mental health.

It is important to realise that we all have mental health and we are all unique individuals so this affects our whole society. If mental health affects everyone, our society needs to first recognise this in order to change it. Mental health affects everything in our lives, including our relationships and work, this is why it is fundamental to change society as a whole so we can start to find new creative and innovative ways to help support future generations of people.

Not only do some people who have mental health difficulties face stigma and discrimination in our society but they are also faced with a lack of support, difficulty in accessing services and staff shortages mainly due to severe cuts in mental health budgets. The Government needs to recognise this and take mental health seriously. Mental Health services are struggling and I hope that more will be done to provide the support that is needed for future generations of people with mental health difficulties.

I am very fortunate to have received the care I needed through the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust recently, it has made a huge difference to my life and I am extremely grateful to the staff who supported me. They were very understanding and compassionate and I can’t thank them enough for the help they gave me.

Lizzie Green Project Manager at Time to Change

Lizzie Green Project Manager at Time to Change

I met so many lovely people at the event and was slightly nervous but very excited about going to the House of Commons. It was really nice to meet the staff from the campaign including Lizzie Green who is the Project Officer, Social Leadership Team at Time to Change who made me feel really welcome.

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I also met Sue Baker who is the Director of Time to Change and it was really good to talk to her about mental health.

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Link to Time to Change Article
Quote Extract from Sue Baker, Director taken from Time to Change Article.
‘…we are seeing unprecedented support from many different industries who now see the importance of tackling mental health stigma and discrimination… in the last year and a half, we’ve seen huge improvements in the way that mental health is perceived in Parliament and among the public as a whole…’

Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change

Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change

I met some really nice Time to Change Champions and we got on so well. It was nice to meet so many friendly people and we had quite a laugh.

Anastacia and Time to Change Champions

Anastacia and Time to Change Champions

The Houses of Parliament are incredible. The architecture is just beautiful and I found it so inspirational to be there. It definitely has the Wow Factor and I have never been anywhere like it in my life, it was quite surreal. There was a lot of security there which is understandable and we had to be searched and scanned before we went in, bit like being at an Airport.

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Sue Baker and MPs

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Keith Winstein and Lizzie Green who work for Time to Change with the Photographer in the Pavillion

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Alastair Campbell who attended the event

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Guests at the House of Commons Pavillion

The reception was held in the Pavillion overlooking the Thames and we were served canopies which was really nice.

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I got a bit lost trying to find my way out of Parliament, it is so huge and like a maze inside. I managed to buy a souvenir – a little teddy who is quite cute. I was not allowed to take photos in certain areas of the building and after three glasses of wine and getting lost I took a picture of a beautiful ceiling by mistake. A security man came over and I apologised and offered to delete it from my camera but he said it was OK but they would just lock me in the tower which I found quite funny.

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I feel so lucky to have been given this amazing opportunity and I had such a fantastic day, met so many lovely people, saw the most amazing architecture and enjoyed every moment of it. To be involved in something so special and important in helping to improve attitudes about mental health is something I will never forget. Thank you Time to Change and special thanks to Oz Osborne Rural Communities Co-ordinator and Sarah James, Eastern Regional Co-ordinator from Time to Change who nominated me.

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Below more pictures of the House of Commons. For additional pictures see slideshow near top of article.

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Invite from Time to Change to attend event at House of Commons

Invite from Time to Change to attend event at House of Commons

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Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Mentors – Huge thanks to Peter Gianfrancesco and Welcome to New Mentor Amanda Hedley Chief Executive Officer

© Copyright 2013 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved Please do not copy or download images or text.

Peter Gianfrancesco and Amanda Hedley New CEO at Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind

Peter Gianfrancesco and Amanda Hedley New CEO at Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind

I would like to say a Huge thank you to Peter Gianfrancesco for all his help and support on the ‘Yessica’s Journey’ project. Peter who is the Chief Executive at Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind, has been my mentor for several years and has been a huge asset to the project with his knowledge and experience of mental health and wellbeing. I would like to thank him for all the help he has given me over the years and for believing in me and not giving up on me despite the difficulties I have had with the project. I would like to thank Peter and Mind for helping to fund the project. We are staying in touch which is great, Peter has always shown a genuine interest in the project and I won’t let him down.

Anastacia with Peter Gianfrancesco

Anastacia with Peter Gianfrancesco

Peter is leaving Mind to work abroad in America and Australia. It is very sad to lose Peter and he will be missed by so many people including myself. I wish him well for the future and look forward to seeing him at the launch of ‘Yessica’s Journey’ in a few years time with Trisha. Peter is a brilliant communicator, great listener and an extremely caring person. He has a great sense of humor and has done so much in developing Mind with his innovative ideas for which he should be very proud.

Anastacia with Amanda Hedley New Mentor for the Project

Anastacia with Amanda Hedley New Mentor for the Project

I would like to welcome Amanda Hedley the new Chief Executive Officer at Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind to the ‘Yessica’s Journey’ project. Amanda is my new mentor and I am looking forward to working with her in the future. I would like to thank Amanda for her interest and support and I enjoyed showing both Peter and Amanda the development of the project. I would also like to congratulate Amanda on her new job at Mind and wish her well.

Amanda has a background working in the NHS for many years and her experience and knowledge of Mental Health will be a huge asset to the project.

Peter and Amanda

Peter and Amanda


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Yessica’s Journey NHS Mentors – Huge thank you to Roz Brooks and Welcome to New Mentors Michele Allott and Graham Creelman

© Copyright 2013 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

I would like to thank Roz Brooks for all her support and help on the ‘Yessica’s Journey’ project as my mentor. Roz is the Director of Nursing and Patient Safety at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and is sadly leaving at the end of the month. She has been my mentor for several years and has helped me so much.  She has always given me her time even though she is incredibly busy and is someone who has always got back to me which I do appreciate.  She also has a great sense of humor so I have enjoyed our meetings. She helped and supported me to apply for further funding from the NHS Charitable funds earlier this year and we successfully received it to make some of the puppets for the animation, so huge thanks to Roz, Maggie Wheeler, Graham Creelman and the Trust.

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From Left to Right – Mentor Meeting with Roz Brooks Director of Nursing and Patient Safety, Michele Allott Deputy Director of Nursing and Patient Safety at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and Anastacia

Maggie Wheeler was also my mentor and left earlier this year. She was the Chair of the Trust and also helped and supported me with Roz throughout the project. Maggie showed a genuine interest in my project and also helped support the Charitable funding bid. She has always been so enthusiastic and encouraging. I have stayed in touch with Maggie which is great, she has a great sense of humor so I have enjoyed working with her. Maggie is now the Chair of the Norfolk and Suffolk Dementia Alliance and Chair of the Garage and is an Associate at Foresight Partnership . Gary Page is the New Chair at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust and I wish him well in his new role at the Trust. Please click here to see earlier Blog about Maggie.

I will really miss Maggie and Roz as I enjoyed working with both of them. Thanks for putting up with me and keep in touch.  I would also like to thank both of you for your help earlier this year and last year when I had a relapse – I appreciate all the help and support you gave me and thank you both and will always be grateful to the Trust for the help I received through my care when I was unwell.

Maggie Wheeler Chair of the Trust from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and Anastacia - Yessica's Journey Meeting

Maggie Wheeler Chair of the Trust from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and Anastacia . Maggie has been one of the mentors for the Yessica’s Journey project

I am so pleased to announce that Michele Allott is one of my new mentors for the project at the NHS. Michele is the Deputy Director of Nursing and Patient Safety at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. She has already been a huge help and she really has shown a genuine interest in the project. I would like to welcome Michele to the project and look forward to working with her in the future. We have already had a meeting together with Roz and I showed them the progress and development of the project. Please see picture below. They both suggested that we promote the project more within the NHS which is great and I am looking forward to working with Michele.

Michele has worked for many years within the NHS and has a background in Mental Health, her experience and knowledge will be a huge benefit to the project.

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From Left to Right – Mentor Meeting with Roz Brooks Director of Nursing and Patient Safety, Michele Allott Deputy Director of Nursing and Patient Safety at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and Anastacia

I am pleased to announce that Graham Creelman who is the Non-Executive Director, Deputy Chair and Senior Independent Director at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is also my new mentor for the ‘Yessica’s Journey’ Project. Graham joined the project earlier this year and has been a huge help to the project already and I would like to welcome him to the project. I have shown Graham the progress of the project.

He has had a long career in journalism, film making and production. He was also the managing director of Anglia TV and director of regional programming for the ITV network. Graham is currently a consultant on creativity within organisations including the Norwich University of the Arts which is where I worked for 15 years and also did my degree. He also has an OBE for services to broadcasting. Grahams experience in film making and creativity will be a huge help to the project.

Graham Creelman Non Executive Director at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

Graham Creelman Non Executive Director at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust – showing Graham the development of the project

I have been very lucky with all the mentors I have had from the NHS. Michele and Graham will be fantastic for the project and I can’t thank them enough for their time and patience.

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From Left to Right – Mentor Meeting with Roz Brooks Director of Nursing and Patient Safety, Michele Allott Deputy Director of Nursing and Patient Safety at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

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Graham Creelman Non Executive Director at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

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From Left to Right – Mentor Meeting with Roz Brooks Director of Nursing and Patient Safety, Michele Allott Deputy Director of Nursing and Patient Safety at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust


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Collecting Yessica Puppet Heads from David Neat

© Copyright 2013 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved Please do not copy/download images or text.

David Neat in his Studio

I was so excited as I travelled down to London to see David Neat who has made Yessica’s Heads for the Stop Motion Puppet in ‘Yessica’s Journey’. She looks amazing and David has done a fantastic job of creating her, she looks so beautiful. It was so lovely to see her come to life and finally her heads are finished. Seeing all my designs and hard work finally finished was a very special moment for me. I have changed her design many times over the years, her design often reflecting the emotional mood I was in. I have noticed how when I was really unwell my drawings and designs are quite different to when I am feeling more well. She started off being quite abstract and strange-looking but I realised that some of my ideas would not work for the wider audience so I kept some of my original ideas and modified it.

David is an extremely talented Sculptor, Model Maker and teacher and I am very lucky to have met him. He has made the set for the animation which looks amazing. I managed to pusade him to make her heads as he had never made a puppet head before and the budget was very small for the amount of work and time he has given to it.  He is also very busy with his own art and teaching commitments. It was a challenge for him and he learnt many new techniques. He spent a lot of time on it and managed to solve many difficult problems in making her. One of her heads was particularly hard to make.

I would like to thank David Neat for all the hard work he has put into this project, his time and commitment and his attention to detail. I will always be grateful to him, he is a very kind man and I don’t think anyone else would have cared as much as he has about making her and the set to such a high standard. His passion for his work shines though her and I hope he is as proud of her as I am.

Testing Yessica Armature on Perforated Metal Sheet

Testing Yessica Armature on Perforated Metal Sheet

Unfortunately I can’t show her or the designs until 6/8 months before the film is due to be completed in 2016 but I can assure everyone that you will be impressed with the high standard and quality of his work. Without David I don’t think the animation would look as professional and without his help and commitment to the project I would have really struggled. He has created my ideas beautifully and to see everything come to life has truly been special to me.

I have not been the easiest person to work with either and David has always been very patient with me and I have no idea how he has put up with me at times. Often I would come up with so many ideas, change my mind a lot and I was always behind and late with getting designs to David which caused so many delays.

When I got her back I only had a few days to test out the heads on the armature as I then had to take her back to London for Fiona Barty to make her body and Costume. It was great to finally do some stop motion animation just for testing to make sure everything was working and see any problems there may be with animating her.

The set and puppets will all be used hopefully in training workshops, events, exhibitions and will permanently go on display. It will be used to inspire people both in Mental Health, Education and Art. I hope it also encourages creativity in people and a passion for their work whatever medium that may be.

Thank you David.


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Antony the Five Ways to Wellbeing Ant Poster in the St. Stephens Underpass in Norwich

© Copyright 2013 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not download or copy images or text. Screenshot – © Copyright 2013 Joe Black. All rights reserved.

Link to St. Stephens Paste Up Website to view images

One of the images detailed in this blog is by Photographer Joe Black, please click on links below to see more of his work. Joe Black Photographer Website  /  Joe Black Photographer Facebook Page

Antony the Five Ways to Wellbeing Poster in the Norwich Underpass

Antony the Five Ways to Wellbeing Poster in the Norwich Underpass

I was asked to be involved in an exciting project which has helped to transform St. Stephens Street underpass in Norwich, sparking discussion through paste up and street art. This has been a huge success and has helped to spark discussion about Mental Health as well as giving the gloomy underpass a makeover. This was organised by Community Service Volunteers and Time to Change. There were many artists who contributed to the work pasted up. For more images from Artists involved in the project please click on the link at the top of this blog. Laura Wigby who works at the BBC organised the project. I created a colourful poster of Antony the Five Ways to Wellbeing Ant to cheer the underpass up and hopefully people who walk past the poster. The Five Ways to Wellbeing can help everyone feel more positive about their lives and can help with mental wellbeing – Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give. For more information about the Five Ways to Wellbeing and Antony click on link below.

Five Ways to Wellbeing Website – New Economics Foundation

Antony the Five Ways to Wellbeing Ant

Image taken by Joe Black, Photographer of me pasting up my poster

© Copyright Joe Black. All rights reserved. Do not download or use this screenshot. Image taken by Joe Black, Photographer of me pasting up my poster

I really like this image taken by Joe Black, who is a photographer. © Copyright Joe Black. All rights reserved. This image is a screenshot from the following site where you can view more images by Joe Black. St. Stephens Paste Up Website to view images.  Joe Black is a talented photographer and you can view his website and facebook page by clicking on the following links:  Joe Black Photographer Website

Joe Black Photographer Facebook Page

He also put a lovely illustration up of a dragon, see below.

Joe Black, Photographers Illustration and poster

Joe Black, Photographers Illustration and poster. © Copyright Joe Black. All rights Reserved

Antony Poster in the Underpass

Antony Poster in the Underpass

One of the Artists involved with the project with her work.

Artist Nicola Simmonds showing her work.

Dyslexia Poster from one of the Artists

Dyslexia Poster created by Nicola Simmons. @ Copyright Nicola Simmons. All rights reserved

Poster

Dyslexic Poster Created by Nicola Simmons. © Copyright Nicola Simmons. All rights reserved

Nicola Simmons created this very clever poster about Dyslexia above. It would be interesting to do research into connections between Mental Health, Dyslexia and Creativity. I am Dyslexic and I was diagnosed quite late in life and always wondered why I found reading and retaining information so hard.

Article in the EEN and EDP

Artists involved in the project – Article in the EEN and EDP Newspaper

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Article in the EDP and EEN Newspaper of St Stephens Paste up

 Below Slideshow of images

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Oz Osborne talks about the Human Library at Chalk Circle Theatre Company Event

© Copyright 2013 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

Human Library Website
Chalk Circle Theatre Company Facebook
Oz Osborne setting up for the Human Library talk at Take Five

Oz Osborne setting up for the Human Library talk at Take Five

On the 30th October last year Oz Osborne who works for Time to Change gave a presentation about the Human Library at Take Five. Adina Levay and Suzanna Coppolina asked Oz to give a talk at their Chalk Circle event.

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Oz is very passionate about the Human Library and does many presentations and events all over the country to introduce the concept to the public. The human library is just like a book library but there is a difference, instead of the library loaning out books it loans out people. So you don’t borrow a book to read you borrow a person to read, through talking and listening to them. Just like you learn and develop knowledge through reading books, you can learn from interacting with people. Most people have some prejudices and typically stereotype people so by borrowing a book from the Human Library shelf on a choosen topic of interest, it may help you to open and change your mind, your attitude and views and help you to learn and gain new knowledge by asking people directly, listening and talking to them. By learning more about the person and their subject you can help to challenge stereotypes, stigma and discrimination and change attitudes in our culture. Book titles can be anything – Bipolar Disorder, Transgender, Learning Disability, Wheelchair user, Refugee and so on. It is a great opportunity to ask questions and learn about new subjects by asking people direct. Through conversation and interactivity learning becomes easier and interesting and is more likely to be remembered and has probably more of an effect on people. These are people who are talking about subjects, certain aspects of their lives that they have real lived experience from which is always more informative than many books.

Don’t judge a book by its cover is just the same as saying don’t judge people by first impressions when you don’t know anything about them, don’t judge people because of their colour, sexuality, mental health, appearance and so on. Unfortunately, in our society today we all do it so this is a fantastic idea and opportunity to change perceptions and re-educate people.

Oz talking about the Human Library

Oz talking about the Human Library

Oz talking about the Human Library

Oz talking about the Human Library

The event was very successful and I really enjoyed it. I had never been to a human library event before and I found it really interesting. We were split into two groups and we had a chance to talk to a human book. I have been asked to be a book before but always said no as I felt too nervous to do it. I can see why it is so successful and I am sure the books on loan enjoy it as much as the borrowers, it is a great way to meet new people, change attitudes and gain new knowledge.

Below slideshow of pictures from event.

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Yessica’s Journey Presentation – Chalk Circle Theatre Company

© Copyright 2013 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

Chalk Circle Theatre Company Facebook
The British Association for the Person-Centred Approach
Kate Hayes Person-Centred Therapist
Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Website
Norfok and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust Website
Five Ways to Wellbeing New Economics Foundation Website

Bit behind on my blogging…opps. Please take a look at Kate Hayes report about the event, at the end of this blog which is brilliant, thanks Kate for sending to me. On the 25th September 2012 last year I was thrilled to be asked to do a presentation about Yessica’s Journey and my art to a group of people invited through the Chalk Circle Theatre Company. The event was held in Norwich in the evening at Take Five and was a great success. The Chalk Circle held several events around the theme of mental health so I was so pleased that they asked me to be involved and for giving me the opportunity to show my artwork. Thank you to Suzanna Coppolina and Adina Levay for giving me the opportunity to show my work and for your kind invitation and support.

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Suzannah Coppolina Director Chalk Circle and Anastacia at Yessica’s Journey Presentation

Screenshot of Chalk Circle invite to the Yessica's Journey Event

Screenshot of Chalk Circle invite to the Yessica’s Journey Event

Quote from Suzannah Coppolina Director – ‘Chalk Circle is a newly established professional theatre company working in collaboration with local and international theatre practitioners. Our aim is to create contemporary, innovative, challenging and cutting-edge theatre in Norwich and the surrounding area. Last year we produced 4.48 Psychosis written by playwright Sarah Kane. Sarah Kane is one of the most powerful and controversial playwrights of our time and her plays have been widely performed in Europe and South America. We, at The Chalk Circle Theatre Company would like to support and raise awareness of mental health and aim to host panel discussions, rehearsed readings, art exhibits and workshops based around the subject matter within the play.’

Suzanna and Adina created a fantastic play which I went to see last year – 4.48 Psychosis written by Sarah Kane. Adina directed the play and Suzanna was the main actress in the play. They both created an outstanding play and I was hugely impressed with their talent and creativity.

I displayed some of my artwork from Yessica’s Journey on the wall and also some other artwork from the Five Ways to Wellbeing diary and the character Antony the ant. I also brought my stop motion puppet ‘Undine’ and various information about animation in general.

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Anastacias artwork on display

Tim Burton is my favourite director and has influenced and inspired me a great deal. I bought one of his books along for people to look at – a very creative person and hugely talented. I also displayed an armature for a stop motion puppet which is like a skeleton for the character which allows the character to move and be manipulated into different positions. I also took some flick books and my Zoetrope and Praxinoscope which is one of the early methods of creating animation using illusion and a revolving wheel. I used to use these when I taught animation. I thought it would be interesting to not only show my artwork but also incorporate a little bit of animation history.

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Anastacias artwork on display

The Praxinoscope has a circle of mirrors within its centre which reflect a strip of drawings located within the inner part of the spinning wheel. When the wheel spins at speed it gives the illusion of moving images. The images appear stationary whilst the wheel is turning. Each drawing shows a different movement and when run in order, in rapid succession one image after another and at speed they blend together to magically make the image appear to animate. This replaced the Zoetrope which was less effective as it only had narrow slits and no mirrors making the image hard to see. See image of Praxinoscope below.

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Praxinoscope with mirrors front left of picture

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My Apple Mac with artwork displayed and projector and speakers lent by Oz for the presentation

I took along my Apple Mac and had my artwork displayed on the projector screen changing every few seconds. Oz lent me his projector and speakers which was really useful. I also used this to show the showreel of my animation work which advertises the Yessica’s Journey project and my animation film ‘Undine’ which I completed for my degree which is around the same time that I became unwell so I felt it was relevant to the event.

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Oz Osborne talking about his involvement with Yessica’s Journey at the presentation

I invited Oz Osborne to be a guest speaker and also to introduce everyone who was talking at the event. Oz has been involved with the project from the beginning and has helped support me throughout. He has also helped with the writing of the script and is now the Production Manager for the project. He also works with the Human Library and Time to Change and is passionate about the Five Ways to Wellbeing which he also talked about.

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Anastacia talking at the presentation

I was really nervous about talking in front of everyone and especially about my work and my mental health difficulties. I had no idea what I was going to say but everyone said I did OK so I was really pleased. My presentation was around 45 mins I think and I showed the films and answered a few questions afterwards. I am pleased I did it as it gave me a lot of confidence which I have always struggled with.

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People at the presentaton. My friend Silvia came and the lady at the front is a Neurologist from New York who just happened to be in the pub.

There was a small group of people who came to attend the event so I was pleased. I met a Neurologist from New York and she was really interested in my art and creativity. Her partner and her just happened to be in the pub and wondered through and looked at my art and asked if they could attend which is lovely.

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Ruth Turner Psychologist from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

Maggie Wheeler, Chair of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust kindly asked Ruth Turner who is a psychologist to give a talk about the work of the Trust and Mental Health. I wanted to ask some of the organisations who were involved with supporting and funding the project and did not want the whole event to centre around my artwork as I thought this would make the event really interesting to people. Ruth was fantastic and everyone was really interested in what she was saying about the NHS. She explained information really clearly and she was asked many questions so clearly the audience had an interest which was nice to see.

It was really nice as I met up with Ruth at the Chalk Circle 4.48 Psychosis play several months later with some of her colleagues.

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Ruth Turner

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Kate Hayes person-centred therapist from Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind

Kate Hayes is a person-centred therapist and a member of the co ordinating group for British Association for the Person-Centred Approach (BAPCA). She works for Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind. Thanks to Paola Colombo, Manager at Mind and Peter Gianfrancesco, Chief Executive of Mind for asking Kate to give a talk at the event. Mind are one of the funders for the project and Peter is my mentor for the project. Please see the brilliant report at the end of this blog from Kate who wrote about the event which was published in the membership Journal for the British Association for The Person- Centred Approach

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Kate Hayes talking at the event

Kate gave a really interesting talk and like Ruth there were plenty of questions from the audience. She did a fantastic job and it was really interesting to have two speakers from different backgrounds talking about mental health. Below is a picture of Kate and her son with Paola Colombo.

It is really nice as I have remained in contact with Kate and we sometimes meet up for a chat. She is also an artist so we have a lot in common.

Thank you to Ruth and Kate for coming to the event and giving your time to talk about your work, I do appreciate it. Thank you also to Oz for all your help and for coming to the event to talk and help me set up – thanks for your encouragement.

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Paola Colombo and Oz Osborne at the event talking

Below is some more photos of the event.

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Article written by Kate Hayes, Person-Centred Therapist

© Copyright 2012 Kate Hayes. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

This Article was published in the membership Journal for the British Association for The Person- Centred Approach www.bapca.org.uk

Yessica’s Journey, Chalk Circle, Frank Bruno and the person-centred approach.

It’s been an interesting month.

I have been fortunate enough to be introduced to a radical new theatre company called Chalk Circle. The company have started rehearsals for a production of the Sara Kane Play 4.48 Psychosis. The play starts in Norwich on November 8th at The Garage. The company has links to Norwich Mind and as a result of a discussion with a colleague I was invited along to meet the actors as they wanted to ask me questions about therapeutic approaches to psychosis and suicide. It was a daunting task.

Sara Kane, the author of the play committed suicide after writing it and the actors were struggling with how to represent the author sensitively and accurately. My contribution was minimal but many questions, some I could answer and others I couldn’t, were put my way. What I could say was how historically ways of ‘treating’ and supporting people who were experiencing distress have been under developed as the medicalization of distress has been the norm. I was able to share that there are creative and empathic ways to be alongside people in distress that are beginning to become more visible in society and have been around for more than half a century and are present within the Person-Centred approach, the Soteria network and Positive Psychology.

Chalk Circle encourage other artists and subsequently I was invited to attend an evening introducing Anastacia Tohill’s animation’ Yessica’s Journey’. Anastacia experienced a ‘psychotic breakdown’ as she chooses to describe it, at the age of 41 when she was at Art School. She courageously continued with her final show work ‘Undine’. She explained how she discovered a new depth and level of creativity as she struggled through her harrowing experience. This prompted her to make a film all about her experience; the project is named ‘Yessica’s Journey’. It is anticipated to be ready in three years and is going to be part of an awareness raising campaign around Mental Health Difficulties, Psychosis and Wellbeing – helping people to understand as well as challenge the stigma and discrimination associated with it.  On September 24th at take 5 in Norwich she exhibited some of the drawings and designs for the animation. Anastacia invited myself, a clinical psychologist Ruth Turner and Oz Osborne from Stuff Stigma, The Human Library and Time to Change to talk about approaches to psychosis and mental health. I called my talk ‘Psychosis A natural reaction to a distressing world?’.

I had not shared a platform with a Norfolk clinical psychologist before and as I was being introduced by Oz who was talking intensely to her in a corner, I thought I’d best speak with him before the evening started. As I approached I was interested to hear Ruth explaining to Oz how the only way of contacting people in distress is not through CBT but through listening to them and validating their experience. ..and then they calm down. On further discussion she explained she had studied Stephen Joseph and Gillian Proctors work for a dissertation she’d written about positive psychological attitudes to carers for dementia. She knew about post traumatic growth and fully accepted that rather than trying to persuade people to think differently, if you accept ‘where they are’ they can move towards growth. I appreciate this is not news to us, but for me this was an exciting dialogue as my local trust has been traditionally disinterested in the person-centred approach and now it seemed a  chink of light is opening up.

Anastacia’s brief animation Undine, made during her breakdown, was a remarkable film. The film is set in a farmyard  as a young woman‘s head opens the sequence in stark relief as a pair of scissors cuts her long hair and sobbing and the slicing scissors punctuate the image. The woman progresses through a journey moving through darkness to light in a beautifully illustrated and coloured animation. The film held a depth of sadness and distress but it was also surrounded by beauty and hope. Anastacia’s vision has developed throughout her process of growth and after 4 years of determination she has attracted the level of funding she felt she needed to create the work ‘Yessica’s Journey’. She managed to get some talking therapy recently which she feels is part of the key to her ongoing growth process. This is being provided by the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and is incredibly hard to access. The people I see through the NHS are not under the mental health team and traditionally the only interventions offered are CBT and medication.

The evening was packed with interesting talks. I have already written about the Human Library in a previous PCQ. Oz is the person who brought it to the UK from Denmark. It originated from a music festival where there were so many different gangs and tribes in attendance they evolved this idea of a person being ‘a book’ that can be borrowed and listened to in order to effect mediation between differences. The project has grown and tours the country breaking down prejudice and stigma.

Ruth Turner spoke mainly about the early intervention service that works with young people who have had a first psychotic episode. They have three years of access to the team and services include taking them to University by taxi in order to attend lectures. It’s clearly a service that struggles with ethical dilemmas and also does not seem to have a counselling facility in built. Ruth seemed frustrated by forms and inconsistencies in the service and was not afraid to say that the system often makes people worse.

I was next and I acknowledged and responded to Anastacia’s film. At events such as these it’s easy for moments to ‘get lost’ and I wished to bring the focus back to the remarkable work we had seen an hour before. I shared my strong sense that the film and her process felt like a beautiful demonstration of the actualising tendency coming through her distress. She is achieving exactly what she wishes to achieve and as a result will impact on other people’s lives.  She beamed brilliantly back at me. I shared how it had made me think about the creative aspects of the person- centred approach and how Carl Rogers’ daughter Natalie had developed her own expressive arts therapy called the ‘creative connection’ and that this had evolved as a therapeutic approach in itself. I mentioned I had run certificates at the UEA on ‘contacting the creative self’ and this aspect of nurturing growth is recognised and supported by person-centred practitioners. I explained some of the theory around the approach, the importance and valuing of coming alongside a person, of listening to them, acknowledging their experience as valid for them and offering warmth and acceptance. I explained how in 1996 I had tried to offer counselling at a local support centre for people who had experienced severe breakdowns, called Bridges  as I felt strongly then that people who had gone through breakdowns or severe mental and emotional distress would benefit from person-centred processes. But there was no funding and the concern was that so many people would want it there would not be enough therapists to offer it.

Right up to the present day this valuable resource has not been introduced in to the mental health trust and their focus on medication and CBT remains intact. I introduced the philosophy around the Soteria network and Soteria houses. I also referred to the work of Dion Van Verde and the wards he runs in Belgium based on the Pre Therapy approach developed by Prouty and its growing influence in the UK. The multi-cultural audience was of a broad age ranging from seven to early seventies. I nicked (but attributed) Richard Bentalls phrases ‘social inequality drives people crazy, racial discrimination drives people crazy, Cities drive people crazy, Gay bi and transgender discrimination drives people crazy. My talk was more a dialogue and people were clearly keen to speak out about the medicalization of distress and appreciated the view that often natural responses were turned into and identified as illness. I also spoke about BAPCA, how it is open to a broad range of practitioners who are involved with or interested in the person-centred approach, the practitioner research network and our intention to gather evidence. I mentioned Frank Bruno’s visit to a charity event for Norwich and Norfolk Central Mind and how he expressed very strong feeling about the focus on medication and how there was a need for alternative therapies to be used.  I referred to Ben Goldacre’s article in the Guardian that had been published that weekend about the drug industry and mentioned Robert Whitaker’s books.

At the end I shared this quote from Carl Rogers ‘the curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change’.

This was well received and I hope that those who were at the talk will now naturally consider the person-centred approach as a way of being that is accessible to all. I also posed the idea that we are still evolving emotionally and that was welcomed by many within the group.

My son Jo who had come to support me reassured me I had done a good job and at the end said to me ‘The solutions to mental health drives people crazy’.

Here’s hoping that state of affairs may soon change.

Quote from Anastacia, the artist: –  ‘I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and feel it has helped me a great deal with my confidence, something which is very important in helping people with mental health difficulties. I would like to thank Suzanna Coppolina Company Director and Adina Levay Artistic Director for giving me the opportunity to share and talk about my work at the ‘Chalk Circle’ event. I would also like to thank Oz Osborne who gave a talk about his role on the project and his work with Time to Change, Rethink and the Human Library. Kate Hayes, Accredited Therapist and Ruth Turner, NHS Psychologist for giving up their time to talk at the event. I thought all the talks were so interesting and informative and clearly by the reaction of the people asking questions there was a great deal of interest which was lovely to see. It was clear to see how passionate people are about their work. Thank you also to Maggie Wheeler, Chair of the NHS Trust, Peter Gianfrancesco Chief Executive of Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind and Paola Colombo Mind Inclusion Manager for your support.’

‘Yessica’s Journey’ is an animation project about my journey through mental health difficulties and how I learned and developed a healing process to improve my wellbeing. The project is anticipated to be completed in 2015 and incorporates Stop Motion and 2D animation. The film is funded by, The Wellcome Trust, Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind, The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, and has also been supported by Rethink and the Bipolar Disorder Research Network. The film incorporates the New Economics Foundation Five Ways to Wellbeing – Connect, Be active, Take notice, Keep learning, and Give. It is hoped that by showing a small glimpse of someone’s lived experience that it will help to educate and enhance people’s understanding, give people hope, and help to end and challenge the stigma and discrimination associated with it. It is also hoped that it highlights the importance of improving your wellbeing and encourages creativity in people, something which is very important. As a Freelance Artist I specialise in Animation and Illustration. I use mixed media styles, combining traditional with digital methods to create unique and meaningful art.’ For further information please see website links. Yessica’s Journey Website: http://www.yessicasjourney.com https://yessicasjourney.wordpress.com/ | Anastacia’s Website: http://www.anastaciatohill.co.uk

Kate Hayes Mbacp (acc) http://www.counselling-and-psychotherapy.org/


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Article about New Bipolar UK Self Help Group in Norwich for Mind Associates Magazine

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. Screenshot from Mind Associates Magazine Simon Barker. Quotes from Chris Stokes, Gemma Nicholls and Janet Conway

Bipolar UK Website

Norwich Bipolar UK Self Help Group Contact – norwich@bipolarukgroups.org.uk

Screenshot from the Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Associates Magazine showing article about the new self help group which I organised

I was thrilled to be asked by Simon Barker to write an article for the Mind Associates Magazine about the new Bipolar UK Self Help Group in Norwich.  Simon is a Mind First Aid Manager and Mind Associate for the Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind organisation. See screenshot above of final article which looks great.
I decided to ask the Facilitator of the group who first initiated the idea to have a group in Norwich to write the main piece for the article – Chris Stokes. I also asked Gemma Nicholls who is also helping to facilitate the group for a quote and Janet Conway who is the Group Development Officer at Bipolar UK.  I organised the article and was pleased to have it published in the magazine.
I am so pleased that a group like this has been set up in Norwich and it will help many people who have Bipolar as well as their families, friends and carers. I wish the group well and I know it will be a huge success. The turnout for the first meeting was well attended. Unfortunately I can’t attend the meetings but I have joined the mailing list which will keep me informed of what the group is doing. They intend getting interesting speakers at some of their group meetings and have invited Maggie Wheeler, Chair of the NHS Trust and Janet Conway from Bipolar UK to talk at the next meeting in October.
Below is the article I helped to organise which you can read more clearly for further information.

22/8/2012 Article for ‘Associates Magazine’ Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind 398 words

New Norwich Bipolar UK Self-Help Group

Bipolar UK Logo

First Meeting 6th September 6.30pm-8.30pm
Meetings:  First Thursday of each month
Quaker (Friends) Meeting House
Upper Goat Lane
Norwich NR2 1EW
For further information contact Chris Stokes and Gemma Nicholls at: norwich@bipolarukgroups.org.uk
Bipolar UK Website:  www.bipolaruk.org.uk

Chris Stokes: Group Facilitator

‘The Quaker (Friends) Meeting House is conveniently situated in the heart of the city and the room which we shall use for our meetings is comfortable and easily accessible on the ground floor.’

‘When I was diagnosed with bipolar last year after 30 years of misdiagnosis, what I really wanted most of all wasn’t to read books about bipolar or to look at websites about bipolar, but to meet somebody with bipolar and ask some questions. How would I cope? Is bipolar a death sentence? What are the medications like? But when I tried to find a bipolar group in Norwich, I realised there wasn’t one. That’s why I decided to start one. I believe that our new group, organised as part of the wonderful national charity Bipolar UK, will be a huge asset to Norwich and a lifeline for people with bipolar, their carers and their families.’

‘Anyone whose life is affected by bipolar is welcome at our meetings.  You can attend as many or as few meetings as you like, you’re free to leave whenever you want, and you don’t have to speak if you don’t feel like it, although everyone will have the opportunity to do so.’

Gemma Nicholls: Group Facilitator

‘The planning meeting held in July was well attended so this bodes well for the future of the group and shows just how important and needed a self help group is in Norwich. There was a lot of positive energy in the room to make this a success and the turnout suggests that the group will become invaluable for many people affected by bipolar. I look forward to the start.’

Janet Conway: Group Development Officer at Bipolar UK

‘We at Bipolar UK are delighted that a new self-help group for people affected by the bipolar condition is being launched in Norwich. As the only national charity dedicated to supporting people affected by bipolar, we rely a great deal on the willing volunteers who run our national network of self-help groups, and who do so much to raise awareness of the condition and to support people in their own communities.’


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Maggie Wheeler and Roz Brooks from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust are the New NHS Representatives for ‘Yessica’s Journey’

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust Website

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. Images taken by Diane Smith who works at the NHS.

Maggie Wheeler Chair of the Trust from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and Anastacia – Yessica’s Journey Meeting

I was thrilled to have a meeting with Maggie Wheeler, who is the Chair of the Trust and Roz Brooks who is the Director of Nursing, Patient Safety and Quality at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust – Hellesdon Hospital. After having to cancel many meetings I finally got to show them some of the development of the work for the ‘Yessica’s Journey’ project. I showed them my portfolio of designs including some of the sound and models from the project. I really enjoyed showing them the work and they both seemed really interested in how the project was progressing. I am also pleased to announce that Maggie and Roz are now officially the NHS Representatives for the project which is amazing.

Quote from Maggie and Roz  “we are so pleased to be associated with this fantastic project. It will really help people understand mental ill health in an accessible way. We were fascinated to learn about how animated films are made, and the time and skill it takes. We are really looking forward to seeing the final result”

I would like to thank Maggie and Roz for their time and for giving me the opportunity to show them the development of  ‘Yessica’s Journey’. Also huge thanks for being my representatives, I really appreciate it. I would also like to thank Diane Smith who took these lovely pictures of Maggie and me, I really like them and she has done a fantastic job.

Maggie Wheeler Chair of the Trust from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and Anastacia – Yessica’s Journey Meeting


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Time to Change Village Event comes to Norwich 1st September

Time to Change Village Event in Norwich

Time to Change Village Website Link

Time to Change Village Event in London with Village videos and pictures link

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. Screenshots from Time to Change Poster and images supplied by Oz Osborne

The time to Change Village Event is coming to Norwich on 1st September 2012 at the Forum in Norwich. It is a chance for people to learn about mental health, participate in activities and challenge the stigma and discrimination faced by people with Mental health difficulties. It is about changing preconceived perceptions. Everyone is welcome and it will be a fun day out. Here are a few images which Oz Osborne took at the last Time to Change Village Event.

Time to Change Village Cinema playing Showreel

Time to Change Village Event Human Library

Time to Change Village Event

Above are pictures of the success of the village including the Human Library where you can borrow people as books to find out about different subjects and challenge prejudice and preconceived ideas. Also picture of the Cinema Tent which I helped create the Showreel for.

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Time to Change Poster


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Time to Change Village Event comes to Norwich 1st September at the Forum

Time to Change Village Event in Norwich

Time to Change Village Website Link

Time to Change Village Event in London with Village videos and pictures link

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. Screenshots from Time to Change Poster and Website.

Time To Change Poster Advertising Norwich Event at the Forum

The Time to Change Village Event is coming to Norwich on the 1st September at the Forum. The event has been very successful and has been around the whole country. They are looking for volunteers so please contact Oz Osborne for further details about how you can get involved – see above poster. He is one of the people who helped to develop the idea. For more information about Time to Change and the Village events please click on links at the top of this article.

Quote taken from Time to Change Website
‘The Village is a pop-up interactive space that has all the things you might expect to find in villages and towns across the world: a health centre, library, café, post office, cinema and a news agent. But there’s a twist –each part of the village provides a unique opportunity to engage the public in conversation about mental health.
When people meet our volunteers for a chat at the Time to Change Village, they will find out more about mental health. This helps to challenge prejudices and stereotypes which often lead to discrimination.
Time to Change held the first Village event in London on 31 March 2012.

Screenshot of image taken from Time to Change website of Village Event

I am thrilled to have been asked to be one of the ‘Volunteer Coordinator’s’ for the event which is a paid role. It is lovely to be asked to take on such a responsible role. I am very excited but also a bit nervous as I have never done this before and lack a bit of much-needed confidence. We will be getting training soon which is great.

I have volunteered with Time to Change for several years now and have really enjoyed it. It has helped me a lot with my own Mental Health and Wellbeing and to talk openly and not feel embarrassed or ashamed. I am glad I did not keep my own Mental Health difficulties a secret which I did for several years. For me it has been much better to be honest and not hide something like this which can become a burden and can be distressing. It has been very beneficial for my own wellbeing and has helped me as well as others to understand Mental Health. I am glad that I can openly talk about it now and feel proud. It has been a long and difficult journey and it has not been easy for me to open up to people and talk about something so personal – but the rewards have been huge.

I am thrilled that the showreel which I helped to produce for the Cinema part of the Village has now been showed around the whole country to help challenge the stigma and discrimination of mental health. The showreel includes many videos which is informative about Mental Health and helps to challenge people’s perceptions and understanding. I am very proud to have been involved in this in a small way and so glad I have been able to do something useful and have been given this fantastic opportunity. Time to Change are great communicators and have involved me in so many ways, they make you feel valued and that you are doing something useful and I am extremely grateful for all the opportunities I have been given – thank you.

Please come along to the event and spread the word as it is important to advertise this event. It is the first time it will have come to Norwich. I have informed people I know including Mind and the NHS so please pass this information on to anyone you know and display the poster.

If  you are interested in volunteering it is a great way to help yourself as well as others and help to educate the public to understand Mental Health and change perceptions. Come along to the event, it will be interesting, informative and enjoyable – a fun day out and everyone is welcome.


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Take a Wellbeing Walk – Five Ways to Wellbeing

 

Five Ways to Wellbeing Website

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. 

The ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ has been proven through research to benefit everyone’s mental wellbeing (developed by New Economics Foundation, nef). Please click on link above for more information.

By taking a walk we can cover all of the Five Ways to Wellbeing and improve our thinking in a positive way to help ourselves as well as others. It is very beneficial and this is just one way of using the Five Ways to Wellbeing.

Oz Osborne on Wellbeing Walk

  1. Be Active – Walking is being active, is helps your physical and mental wellbeing and makes you feel good. Walking has been proven to help keep our minds active and improve our physical fitness. It gives us time out of the house and gives precious and much-needed time to ourselves which is extremely important.
  2. Take Notice – Whilst taking a walk you will notice many interesting things along your journey which will be different each time you take a walk, the wonder and excitement of what you will discover – the beauty and amazement of  nature, animals, people, colour, texture, smells and sounds. The warmth of the sunshine on your face, the cool breeze against your face, the rustle of the trees and dancing wisps of grass, the beauty of dewdrops on a spider’s web, the beauty of flowers in bloom. The discovery of new things you have never seen before.
  3. Connect – Whilst walking you may come in contact with other people and have a chat, you may go with a friend, family or take a pet for a walk. Walking can help you connect with others around you. Connect with nature and your environment. Time to connect to your inner self.
  4. Keep Learning – Whilst walking with a friend or meeting others you may learn more about that person, increase your knowledge through discussion, talking and listening. It may give you time to think about things more clearly, feel less stressed and give you a break. You may learn more about nature and see things of interest, discover new things. You take in new sights, new smells, new sounds. You may decide to go for a walk to an interesting place you have never been to before to learn and increase your knowledge, you may take a book and have time to read in a beautiful and relaxing environment. It may even give you creative ideas, time to think, time to discover and develop.
  5. Give– If you invite a friend or family member you are giving your time to help someone else, improve their wellbeing as well as your own. You may give the other person new knowledge and understanding through talking and listening. You can thank someone which is a huge boost to someone’s wellbeing. You can laugh and smile and have fun – a massive help to feeling good about yourself and helping the other person. If you take your dog for a walk for instance you are giving time and enjoyment to your pet as well as yourself. Interaction and connecting with others is giving. It is important to also give to your own wellbeing as well as others. You can take a walk on your own, you are still giving, you are giving time to yourself and helping yourself relax, take a break and enjoy time out from the hectic and stressful lives that many of us now live in an ever-increasing stressful society.Oz Osborne and myself went on a wellbeing walk through my local area. It is a beautiful walk through fields and woods and we really enjoyed the walk.

Anastacia on Wellbeing Walk

 


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New Bipolar Uk Self Help Group in Norwich

Bipolar Uk Website Self Help Groups

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. Screenshots from Bipolar UK Website.

Bipolar Uk Logo

Great News – a new Bipolar Uk self-help group is being set up in Norwich. The first meeting is on Thursday 6th September 2012 and then every first Thursday in the month. It starts at 6.30pm-8.30pm. Venue is the Friends Meeting House, Upper Goat Lane, Norwich.
The lady from Bipolar Uk rang me as I could not attend and said it was one of the biggest amount of people she had seen attend the event – over twenty people.  Chris came up with the idea and is running the group with Gemma. I received a letter from Bipolar UK inviting me to the event but could not attend. I sent it out to the NHS and Mind so hopefully lots of people were informed. I wish the group well and hope it will benefit many people.

Map from Bipolar UK website with details of Norwich Group


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Helping others through Time to Change and my Blogsite

Time to Change Website

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

I was thrilled to be asked by Time to Change to give some advice to a student who is doing an animation on depression. I really enjoyed helping her and I hope I gave her some useful information about how to get funding for her project and general advice about her script which I was pleased to read. I also gave some advice on managing anxiety so I really hope I helped her as I am certainly no expert. It was great to be put in contact with her through Time to Change and she is such a talented person and I wish her well with her project. That is what it is all about, helping others, and passing on your knowledge, that is what I love doing and that is what is important to me. Time to Change is a great organisation and really understand how to engage with the public and people with mental health difficulties and most importantly try to change attitudes of the public, misconceptions and fight discrimination and stigma.
I have also been contacted by people through my blog site which is great. Mainly to do with advice about animation and armatures. I was also recently able to help someone from the article I posted about the New Bipolar Group which is being set up in Norwich. They are new to Norwich and wanted to know what they could get involved in so I was happy to help. The web is such a powerful tool to reach out to others to help and pass on knowledge and learn.


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The Happy Pill which won’t make you gain weight

Article from the Mirror Newspaper

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. © Mirror Newspaper

I found this article in the Mirror newspaper and thought it was interesting. It is about how some Bipolar Disorder Antidepressants can make you gain weight. This new pill claims to half the weight gained. It is not available yet through the NHS as they are still researching it. I think it is great that they are doing research into medication which may reduce the side effects of weight gain. Anti-psychotic drugs like Olanzapine can make some people gain weight. I think people with mental health difficulties have enough problems without losing their identity and from many of the other side effects of drugs. I gained over 2 stone and when I looked in the mirror I just did not recognise myself anymore or indeed did anyone else. This can have quite an adverse effect on your wellbeing and confidence, to lose your identity is distressing. I am pleased to say I have now lost around 2 stone since last May and can finally look in the mirror and recognise myself. I am on medication but not on the ones which make you gain weight. Having said that I would not be here if it wasn’t for Olanzapine which got me through my degree and many difficult times. I hope this new drug is effective and also does not have any other bad side effects. I think research is extremely important in improving medication and ways of developing new methods to help people.


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Bipolar UK – Norwich Self Help Group for people with Bipolar

Bipolar UK website

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

I received a letter from Bipolar UK about establishing a new self-help group for people with Bipolar in Norwich. They are looking for people to attend the group and also run it. This also includes, carers, partners, friends and family members. The meeting is on Tuesday 3rd July at Friends Meeting House, Upper Goat Lane in Norwich and starts at 7.30pm in the evening. Please click on the link above to go to their website.

I think this is a great idea and gives people the opportunity to talk, share and gain advice and information.

Unfortunately I am unable to attend but I have passed the letter to the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and Mind and several other people I know. I hope the meeting is successful and a group is formed which will help many people.

I am a member of Bipolar UK and they have been very supportive on my project. They put an article in their magazine about ‘Yessica’s Journey’ and Yessica ended up on the front cover of the magazine which was fantastic. They have also supported me with testimonials when I recently applied for additional funding for the project. Thank you to Bipolar UK for all your help and support, I do appreciate it. I have also attended one of their annual events in London which was really interesting. If you want to find out more about this organisation or become a member please click on the link above.


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Peter Gianfrancesco from Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind and his sister Maureen visit – Yessica’s Journey Animation Project

Peter Gianfrancesco, Chief Executive from Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind with his sister Maureen from Australia and Anastacia

Peter Gianfrancesco, Chief Executive from Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind with his sister Maureen from Australia and Anastacia

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Website

Peter Gianfrancesco who is the Chief Executive at Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind and his sister Maureen from Australia visited me yesterday to see the progress of the Yessica’s Journey Animation project. Peter is one of my Mentors representing Mind who has also supported the project with funding, help and advise.

I really enjoyed showing them both all the work which has been completed so far. They were both very encouraging and seemed impressed with what has been achieved so far. Thanks to both of them for coming to see me and the Yessica’s Journey Animation project and for being so supportive.


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Meeting with Charlie Gauvain

Charlie and Anastacia

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

Eye Film and Television Website

Charlie Gauvain is the new ‘Production Manager’ for the project and works as an Executive Producer at Eye Film and TV (see earlier blog for more information about charlie.  We met today for a meeting to discuss the new ‘Yessica’s Journey’ Schedule plan, Financial Plan and Contract. The meeting went well and Charlie and I will be meeting on a regular basis once a month.

Charlie’s main role is to support, advise and assist me with the project. This will include financial, planning a schedule, marketing, DVD authoring, advise on production and monitoring the progression of the project and ensure that the film is produced on time and within budget.

Charlie’s knowledge and experience of working in Film and TV for many years will be very beneficial to myself and the project and I look forward to working with him.


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Yessica’s Journey Exhibited at the Upstairs Gallery in Beccles presenting StigmARTa Exhibition of work – May 16th – 31st

Upstairs Gallery in Beccles Website

StigmARTa Exhibition – ‘A thought provoking look at arts and service users, arts and their uses in therapy and inclusion, and people’s opinions of the words Mental Health and the stigmas attached.’ ‘Arts are used in the mental health service to bring confidence and voluntary communication back into the public life and work situations for mental health users.’ {quote taken from Michelle Payne Upstairs Gallery)

The Upstairs Gallery in Beccles – StigmARTa Exhibition

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

I was thriled to be given the opportunity of exhibiting some of my artwork at the Gallery. I displayed two Illustrations from the Yessica’s Journey project – Dawn Light and the Yessica Character. The Gallery is fantastic, and it was lovely to meet the staff including Michelle who is very passionate about Art, Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Development of Yessica Character for ‘Yessica’s Journey’ – Mixed Media

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

The exhibition is so important in educating the public about Mental Health and the Discrimination and Stigma associated with it. Using Art and Creativity for wellbeing and confidence is something I feel very passionately about.

‘Dawn Light’. Mixed Media, Traditional with Digital

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

The work displayed is fantastic and I recommend a visit to the Gallery to see the Exhibition. It is very inspiring to see so many talented artists who are helping to educate through creativity and challenge stigma.
The Gallery also exhibits many artists work which can be purchased. Thank you to Michelle Payne for giving me this opportunity and for organising an exhibition on Mental Health which I think is fantastic.


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BBC Mental Health Website

BBC Mental Health Website

I found this really good BBC website on Mental Health and Wellbeing. It is really informative and interesting and has a wealth of information about Mental Health Difficulties, Coping Techniques, Therapies, Medication and lots of useful links and contacts to other organisations. Click on Link above.

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.


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Exciting News – The Wellcome Trust has given additional funding to the Yessica’s Journey Animation Project

The Wellcome Trust Website

© Copyright 2012. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images/text.

FANTASTIC NEWS for 2012 The Wellcome Trust has kindly given additional funding to the
‘Yessica’s Journey’ Animation Project – Thank You.

In March 2012 Yessica’s Journey’ has been successful in applying for additional funding from the Wellcome Trust. They have kindly given a substantial sum of money in addition to their original funding for the project. I would like to thank Marie-Lise Sheppard who is the Grants Advisor and works in Grants Management for her support, help and understanding. I would also like to thank the Wellcome Trust organisation for its continued support and for believing in this project.

Anastacia Tohill, Director/Producer and Animator for the project and Charlie Gauvain who is the new Support Coordinator for the project and works as a Producer/Executive Producer at Eye Film and TV  successfully put in an application in January 2012 to apply for additional funding. Oz Osborne, Wellbeing Mentor and one of the Scriptwriters for the project and works at Time to Change also contributed to the funding application. I would like to thank Charlie and Oz for all their support and help and also to welcome Charlie to the project in his new role.

I would also like to thank the following people and organisations for their continued help and for their supportive Testimonials which we sent with the funding application form. Thank you for your kind words, encouragement and time.

Oz Osborne – Rural Equalities Coordinator with Time to Change and Freelance Community Wellbeing Mentor
Peter Gianfrancesco – Chief Executive at Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind
Peter Edge – The Wellbeing Service at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
Maggie Wheeler – Chair of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
Roz Brooks – Director of Nursing, Quality and Patient Safety, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
Michel SyrettEditor, Pendulum Magazine Bipolar UK
Clare Dolman – Research Editor Pendulum and Chair of the National Bipolar Charity Bipolar UK (formerly MDF the Bipolar Organisation)
Dr Ian Jones – Reader in Perinatal Psychiatry, MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics,Department of Psychological Medicine and Neurology BDRN Research Network

I appreciate all the organisations continued support with the project and everyone in the project team who has helped with the ‘Yessica’s Journey’ project. We also sent the Script Feedback document which many people contributed to last year with the application. Thank you again to everyone who contributed to the Script Feedback Document.

Many Thanks to Everyone
Anastacia


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Yessica’s Journey BDRN Meeting at Cardiff University

 BDRN Bipolar Disorder Research Network – Worlds Biggest Research into Bipolar

Click here for more details about the meeting

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Meeting at Cardiff University with Ian Jones, Jamie Lewis, Nick Craddock and the Research Team. Siobhan Tohill and Anastcia Tohill attended meeting, Oz Osborne attended by conference call. This was an excellent meeting and has helped to establish a good working collaborative relationship between BDRN Research Team and Yessica’s Journey Project Animation Team.

© Copyright 2011 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images/text.

Anastacia Tohill and Siobhan Tohill with the BDRN Research Team