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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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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Fruits of the Mind Exhibition 13th-15th September

Fruits of the Mind Exhibition Information

The Well Website

Blog Article on Fruits of the Mind Exhibition Last Year

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. Screenshot from poster supplied by the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust Fruits of the Mind Exhibition Poster

The fruits of the Mind Exhibition is being held on the 13th-15th September 2012 at the Forum in Norwich. It is an opportunity for local artists who have mental health difficulties to exhibit and sell their work. It is run by the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust in collaboration with The Well which is a Norwich based art group for people who have experienced mental health difficulties. Maggie Wheeler the Trusts Chair is opening the Exhibition at 1pm on Thursday 13th September.
For more information and how to apply please click on the above links. On the NHS Fruits of the Mind Exhibition website I noticed a picture of Helen Simpson who works for the NHS and organised the exhibition last year and myself (scroll down). You can see my artwork in the background – green image. I had no idea it was there so it was a nice surprise.
I exhibited 2 pieces of my work last year which was great. I am exhibiting hopefully again this year with two images, ‘Dragon Fly Faery’ and ‘The Joy of Life’. This exhibition gives people a fantastic opportunity to show their creative skills and is well worth a visit.

Helen Simpson from NHS and Anastacia at Fruits of Mind Exhibition Last Year on the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust Website

Fruits of Mind Website on Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust Website

Fruits of Mind Website on Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust Website


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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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‘Yessica’s Journey’ article published on Time to Change website

Anastacia’s ‘Yessica’s Journey’ article on Time to Change Website

Published on Time to Change website – Become a Champion

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

Screenshot of ‘Yessica’s Journey’ article on Time to Change website

I was thrilled to have an article about ‘Yessica’s Journey’ published on the Time to Change website. If you are a Champion and are involved in work which is raising awareness about mental health and challenges stigma and discrimination you can promote your work on their website. I contacted them and they said yes so I was really pleased.

I think this is such a good idea and encourages people to share with others what they are doing to help Mental Health. It gives people a fantastic opportunity to promote their work, their passion, their creativity and innovative ideas, whatever that may be. There are so many people out there actively doing good work and this is a great platform for them to share with others and hopefully will help people to get more involved, encourage creativity, and develop new innovative ideas to raise awareness about Mental Health. It is a great way to help others as well as helping yourself and gives you confidence, new interests and skills which I think are very important for your mental health and wellbeing.

I would like to thank Terese Jonsson and Time to Change for giving me this fantastic opportunity, I really appreciate it.

Screenshot of ‘Yessica’s Journey’ article on Time to Change website

Text Quote below taken from the Time to Change Website
© Copyright 2012 Time to Change. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.
‘Time to Change Champions are people with lived experience of mental health problems who campaign to end mental health discrimination in their communities. They raise awareness by speaking out about their experiences, through events and anti-stigma projects. The Champions network offers opportunities for people who would like to increase their skills and confidence whilst being involved in different aspects of our work.’


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Time to Change East of England Networking Event

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 attended a Time to Change event at the King’s Centre in Norwich. It was a chance for like-minded people to get together and share and develop ideas about what the Eastern region can do to help with the Time to Change campaign in Norwich to challenge stigma and discrimination associated with Mental Health. The event was organised by Sarah James who is the consultant/trainer for our area. The event was very successful and everyone came up with some really good creative ideas. I thoroughly enjoyed it, knew quite a few people there so it was nice to have a chat and meet new people. I am a Time to Change Champion which is how I got invited to the event and if anyone is interested in joining please go to the website link above for more information.
I met Sarah last year when I did some voluntary work for the Time to Talk campaign outside Chapelfield shopping centre where we encouraged people to talk openly about mental health to help to try and change people’s perceptions and attitudes. It was a huge success. I have done quite a lot of volunteer work for them in the past and it has really helped me to become more open about my own difficulties.
The group came up with lots of ideas and decided that they wanted to bring the Time to Change Village event which was held in London earlier this year to Norwich. I was thrilled as Oz Osborne who works for Time to Change and has also worked with me on my project, is one of the people who came up with the idea and helped to design it. He is very creative and the idea of the Village is a brilliant concept.
I was asked to put their showreel of films together in a timeline with words fading in and out which was shown in the Cinema part of the village, and I got paid which is amazing. I have since had to do a couple of alterations to it so that it can be shown all around the country at many events. I am so proud to have been a part of it and helped in a small way and it really helped me with my confidence when I was not feeling well to do something so important. The thank you letter they sent me was so lovely and means so much to me, they really understand how to communicate and make you feel valued. I was supposed to do some voluntary work with the Village in London but was unable to go so I am thrilled it is coming to Norwich.
They are planning the event for September so can’t wait. I hope it encourages people to change their perception and attitudes about Mental Health and helps them to understand. It is through talking and education that people will realise that it can happen to anyone and it is nothing to be ashamed of. I strongly believe by speaking out, we can help reduce the stigma and discrimination and help people to understand Mental Health. The Time to Change campaign has been hugely successful and I predict it will go on to be even more successful in the future. They really understand how to communicate with people which is so important and actively want to engage with the public to change attitudes. That is what I like about them, you feel like you are actually doing something helpful and useful, something which actually makes a difference and which gives you a real buzz – great for your wellbeing. I like the fact that their volunteers and some of the people they employ have lived experience. It makes you feel valued and I am sure many people have benefited from taking part in their campaign.


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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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Time to Change Event Showreel – Mental Health Stigma and Discrimination

Time to Change Website – Mental Health, Stigma and Discrimination

Previous Blog Article for Time to Change Village Event

Time to Change TV advert 

Time to Talk, Time to Change – Interactive Video

© Copyright Anastacia Tohill 2012 Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy, duplicate or download images/text. © Time to Change images from films created for organisation.

Time to Change Showreel created in Adobe After Effects 5.5 showing ‘Ben and Ellie’s Fifth Date’ film clip

I was thrilled to be asked to update the Time to Change Village Event Showreel recently so it can be used at many events all around the country. I am so pleased to have been given this opportunity to do something useful, something which makes a small difference and helps the Time to Change Campaign which I feel very passionate about. As an artist I like doing meaningful creative art which has a purpose so this was great to do.

I received a lovely thank you letter and a Champions badge from Keith and Richard who work at Time to Change. The letter made me feel really happy and made me smile. It really does mean a lot to me and I am so pleased I was able to help the Time to Change campaign in a small way. The power of words and a little smile can make such a big difference to someones wellbeing and this certainly gave me a huge and much needed lift. They really understand how to communicate well with people, and they know how to listen – words can go a long way to helping people, they can be very powerful and uplifting for your wellbeing.

I have been involved in some voluntary Time to Change work with Oz Osborne in the past and it really helped me to talk about my own mental health difficulties and not to be ashamed. I think it is an extremely important and worthwhile campaign and I know it is going to be even more successful in the future. I hope it helps to change peoples attitudes about Mental Health discrimination and most importantly helps people to understand.

I am so proud to have been given the chance to work for the campaign and was thrilled when Oz asked me to produce it. It has helped me a lot with my confidence and motivation as I have recently been unwell. It was fantastic as I was paid and this made me feel very proud to work for such an important campaign.

Thank you to Time to Change, Oz Osborne, Keith and Richard for giving me this opportunity and I hope I can work again for the campaign in the future.

Time to Change Showreel created in Adobe After Effects 5.5 – Logo

Time to Change is about changing people’s attitudes, their perception and acceptance of people with Mental Health Difficulties. Challenging the Stigma and Discrimination associated with it. What I love about this campaign is that they actively engage with people who have Mental Health difficulties both through volunteer work, paid jobs and involving people in many different ways. They go out to the people and interact, they help to reeducate and involve people in the community and most importantly change people’s attitudes through talking, listening and discussion.

Time to Change Showreel created in Adobe After Effects 5.5 written by Oz Osborne

Above is a screenshot from the showreel which Oz Osborne, who works for Time to Change, has written. Below is a screenshot showing the very effective recent TV advert which is brilliant. I really like it as it uses humor which is always effective in getting a message across. Click on the links at the top of this blog article to view the TV advert and the TV interactive advert. Check it out on YouTube. Time to Change our TV advert.

Below is a slideshow of some of the screenshots from the creation of the Time to Change Showreel. I created the showreel in Adobe After Effects 5.5 which is one of my favourite programs. You have a timeline and can add video footage, text, sound, animation and special effects. I am using this program to create some of my animation for ‘Yessica’s Journey’.

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Jacqui Dillon Website – Mental Health and Wellbeing

Jacqui Dillon Website

I was sent this link by a colleague and it is a very interesting and informative website which I recommend. Jacqui is a writer, public speaker, trainer and offers consultancy. She has personal and professional experience of Mental Health and Wellbeing. I bought two of her books on the website recently but have not read them yet but from what I have read on her website she is an excellent writer.


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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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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