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.


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.


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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.


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.


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.


Sue Baker and MPs


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


Alastair Campbell who attended the event


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.


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.


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.


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






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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4.48 Psychosis Sarah Kane Performance by Chalk Circle Theatre Company 8th-10th November

Link to Chalk Circle Theatre Company Facebook Page

4.48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane is a play being performed by the Chalk Circle Theatre Company at the Garage in Norwich from the 8th -10th November at 7.30pm. You can get tickets from the Theatre Royal for £10 and there are concessions.  For further information about the play please see poster below. To find out more about the Chalk Circle Theatre Company please click on the link above to their Facebook page.

4.48 Psychosis Sarah Kane Chalk Circle Theatre Company Poster

Quote from Poster ‘A poetic exploration of love and death and what happens to a person’s mind when the barriers which distinguish between reality and different forms of imagination completely disappear’.

Poster Information from 4.48 Psychosis Chalk Circle Theatre Company

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. This year we will be producing 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.’

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. © Copyright Suzanna Coppolina and Adina Levay Poster for 4.48 Psychosis.

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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