Yessica's Journey Blog

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

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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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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 –

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:
Bipolar UK Website:

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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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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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


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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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