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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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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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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‘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.’