Yessica's Journey Blog

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


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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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NHS Early Intervention Psychosis Team Staff Away Day

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

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust Website

I was pleased to be invited to a Staff Away Day by Psychologist Ruth Turner who works for the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust’s Early Intervention Psychosis Team. I was asked to do a presentation of my mental health journey and incorporate an animation film I made when I first become unwell whilst studying for my degree. I was also asked to show my showreel of animations including ‘Yessica’s Journey’ which is hoped to be used by the NHS and Mind in training workshops and events when completed. The event took place at Carrow Road in Norwich.

Ruth Turner and Anastacia with Staff at the Early Intervention Psychosis Team Away Day at Carrow Road.

Ruth Turner and Anastacia with Staff at the Early Intervention Psychosis Team Away Day at Carrow Road. I got everyone to make coloured cone hats as a joke which was fun.

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Anastacia doing her presentation to the Early Intervention Psychosis Team

I first met Ruth when I was invited to do an event by the Chalk Circle Theatre Company last year. I was asked to talk about my journey and show my animations and work. This was the first time I had ever done anything like this and I was extremely nervous. I invited a representative from the NHS and Mind as both organisations have helped to fund the project. Maggie Wheeler who was the Chair of the NHS Trust and was also my mentor for the ‘Yessica’s Journey’ project kindly asked Ruth to represent the Trust which is how I met her. The project has given me so many opportunities to meet people within the NHS and be involved with the Trust.

When Ruth asked me I was really pleased but also a bit nervous as I knew there would be around 40 staff there and I was also given around an hour to do the presentation, something I am not used to doing. I went in the week before to Carrow Road to make sure my Apple laptop worked on their projector and it was a good job I did as they had to get a special adapter. The presentation went really well and although I was a bit nervous to start with I noticed that I was much more confident that I thought I would be. I was asked so many questions by the staff and everyone seemed really interested in my journey and animations which was so nice and quite unexpected.

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Anastacia presenting which image of Yessica in the background

I stayed for the whole day and had lunch with the staff and was invited to join in staff group activities which was fun. Everyone was so nice and friendly and they made me feel really welcome. I was also asked by many staff if I would be interested in working with them in the future doing more talks and being involved in art with the team which I was really pleased about and was not expecting. I got some really good feedback from staff so that was really nice and I was pleased the talk was successful and helpful. Someone commented on the fact that I presented it by talking naturally about my journey and didn’t follow a plan. In the past I would never have been able to do this as talking about yourself is quite hard but I have noticed that I am less nervous and more confident for the first time in my life about public speaking and presenting, something I never thought I would be able to do without feeling nervous.

I think it is through my journey and experience, especially after the relapse I had last year and through the talking therapy I received from the NHS that has helped me with my confidence. Most of my life I feel I have wasted time worrying about what other people think of me, what if I muck up, what if something goes wrong, what if… but what if – so many if’s and but’s. I have learned slowly through experience that it really does not matter and once you conquer that fear you can find the confidence within yourself to no longer be afraid. We sometimes spend our lives living in fear so this really is an amazing gift which I feel I have gained through my mental health experience. Something good and positive has come from my journey and never in a million years did I ever think I would conquer my fears in talking to large groups and most importantly not worrying about it. To gain confidence is a wonderful thing, it can help you do so much more in life. To build confidence takes time and patience but the rewards are huge.

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Staff from the Early Intervention Team

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Peter Edge on the left at the Staff Away Day

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Peter Edge who works for the NHS was also at the event and it was really nice to see him there as he used to be my mentor for the project. Above is a Slideshow of images from the staff event.


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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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Maggie Wheeler (Chair) is Leaving the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. Thank you for being my mentor for the project.

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

Maggie Wheeler who has been Chair of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is leaving the Trust after working there for over 10 years. I was really pleased to be invited to her leaving party. Below is a picture of Maggie with flowers she received and Graham Creelman who is the Non-Executive Director at the Trust. Graham made a speech at the party.

Maggie Wheeler, Chair and Graham Creelman Non Executive Director

Maggie Wheeler, Chair and Graham Creelman Non Executive Director

I was really sad to see Maggie leave, I have only known her for a very short time and she is a lovely kind person with a warm heart, she is also very bubbly and has a great sense of humor. Maggie has been one of my mentors for the Yessica’s Journey project and I would like to thank her for all her time and support, she has been a brilliant mentor and I will miss her.

Here is Maggie cutting her cake. Maggie is now the Chair of the Norfolk and Suffolk Dementia Alliance and Chair of the Garage and is an Associate at Foresight Partnership.

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Maggie Wheeler cutting her cake

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B Maggies Leaving Party

There were lots of people at the party and some lovely food. Maggie received some gifts from the Trust including some lovely jewellery.

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Stephen Fletcher Chair of the Service Users Council making a speech

Graham Creelman, non executive Director of the Trust making a speech.Stephen Fletcher Chair of the Service Users Council also made a speech.

Below is a slide show of more images.

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Mind Associates Xmas Party 2012

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Do not copy or download images.

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Roz Brooks Director of Nursing at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and her Husband – Mind Associates Christmas Party 2012

Last year I went to the Mind Associates Christmas Party which was really good. Colin Howey did a presentation showing various peoples photographic and film work.

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Colin Howey giving a presentation at the Mind Associates evening

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Band playing Music at the 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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Fruits of the Mind Exhibition at the Forum in Norwich 2012

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

The Well Website – Norwich Based Art Group

The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

The Fruits of the Mind Exhibition was held in Norwich over three days at the Forum. The exhibition is organised by ‘The Well’ in collaboration with the ‘Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust’. It gives people with mental health difficulties an opportunity to exhibit and sell their work which is fantastic.

The Fruits of the Mind Exhibition showing artwork at the Forum

I went on Thursday 13th September for the opening  and exhibited two artworks. I exhibited a digital print called ‘Dragon Wing Faery’ which I created several years ago. I used mixed media styles with digital Photoshop and Coral Painter combining a collage of real leaves scanned in. I was thrilled to sell it to my friend Silvia and it is the first time I have ever sold anything in an exhibition which is great.

Anastacia’s Artwork – ‘Dragon Wing Faery’ Digital Print Sold at the exhibition

Anastacias Artwork exhibited at the Fruits of the Mind Exhibition with other Artists

I also exhibited an original painting called ‘The Joy of Life’ which I created for the exhibition. I used mixed media – Watercolour, Acrylic, Pencil and Pen with a splash of glitter. Unfortunately I did not sell this painting but it was great to be given the opportunity to display it and I got some very good feedback which was nice.

Anastacias original painting ‘The Joy of Life’ created using mixed media – watercolour, acrylic, pen and pencil and a splash of glitter

Maggie Wheeler, Chair of the Trust at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust opened the exhibition and gave an interesting talk about the importance of art with people who experience mental health difficulties, and the exhibition.

Maggie Wheeler, Chair of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust opening the exhibition

Maggie Wheeler, Chair of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust opening the exhibition

Thea and Sandy from ‘The Well’  both helped organise the exhibition with Rachael Kenyon from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.

Thea and Sandy from ‘The Well’ who helped to organise the Exhibition

Quote from The Well Website ‘The Well is a Norwich based art group for people living with mental distress. The Well formed in June 2006 to provide support and development for artists in Norfolk who experience mental distress. It is run by the artists for the artists and has a membership of around fourteen people.’

Thea and Sandy from ‘The Well’ who helped to organise the Exhibition

Below is a slideshow of all the images I took at the exhibition.

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The exhibition was hugely successful and 14 pieces of artwork were sold at the exhibition. The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust also had a stand at the Forum to support the exhibition. I really enjoyed exhibiting my work and seeing the amazing creative work from the other artists.


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Success for Time to Change Village at the Forum in Norwich on 1st September 2012

Time to Change Website Article about Event
© Dan LeBrun flickr Photos of Time to Change Norwich Village Event
© Edwards flickr Photos of Time to Change Norwich Village Event

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

Anastacia at the Time to Change Village, TTC Co-ordinator

The Time to Change Village visited Norwich on Saturday the 1st September outside the Forum in Norwich. The event was a huge success and it was estimated that over 2,000 people engaged in a conversation about Mental Health during the event. The Time to Change campaign is about challenging the stigma and discrimination associated with Mental Health through engagement and talking with the public. The event was organised by Oz Osborne and Sarah James who both work for Time to Change. I thought they both did a fantastic job in organising such a successful event. There is so much work which goes into organising these events which often go unnoticed, they both worked extremely hard.

Anastacia and Oz Osborne on the Village Green Bench outside the Time to Change Cinema

Paola Colombo Inclusion Manager from Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind – TTC Volunteer Co-ordinator with her Son and Sarah James, one of the organisers who works for Time to Change

Quote from Oz Osborne ‘The Village is a ‘pop-up’ community engagement activity, which creates interactive spaces for volunteers with lived experience of mental health problems to engage with the public. Each of these ‘social contacts’ are designed to facilitate positive changes in attitudes and behaviours towards people with mental health problems.’
The village includes a Cinema showing Time to Change Films, a Post Office where you can post a postcard to a friend, a Tea Room where you can get free Teas and Coffees, a Surgery offering lots of information about Mental Health and organisations, a library – The Human Library where books are people and when you borrow a book to read, the book is a person who you have a conversation with. It also has a Village Green and Newsagent. There were many activities at the event where people could learn more about the Time to Change Campaign and interact and have conversations about Mental Health. These included Face Painting, Painting and Drawing, Singing/Musicians, Making a Bracelet, Plant Potting and Photo Pledging for Time to Change.

Rachel’s Friend painting a picture

People posing for Portrait Painting

Dressing up at the Time to Change Village

The Human Library where you can borrow a book to read – a book is a person who you can have a real conversation with and learn more about that subject from people with lived experience

The Village also had some Street Theatre from the Chalk Circle Theatre Company. Quote from Suzanna Coppolina Company 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.’
There were around 70 volunteers who helped at the event who were people with lived experience or carers. Time to Change also employed some co-ordinators for the event so I was thrilled to be asked to be a Time to Change Co-ordinator for the day. I would like to thank Time to Change for employing me which is very kind of them. Although I was nervous about taking on this role initially, I thoroughly enjoyed the day and although very tired by the end, I was so pleased I had been given such a fantastic opportunity. Volunteers  and co-ordinators were also offered training before the event which was very informative and helpful. Time to Change are very supportive and caring about the people who work with them and the volunteers. They made me feel so welcome and valued and that I was actually doing something positive to help challenge attitudes towards people who experience Mental Health difficulties. It really helped me with my confidence, it takes quite a lot of courage to go up to people and start a conversation but the more you do it the easier it gets and I met so many amazing and interesting people on the day.

Gemma Nicholls one of the Volunteer Co-ordinators  at the Time to Change Event outside the Post Office in the Time to Change Village

Maddie and Dandelion performing at the Time to Change Village Event

The Village had a Cinema where people could watch a showreel of different Time to Change films which I helped to produce and has been used all around the country, something I am very proud of.  I was asked to be the co-ordinator of this part of the Village and thoroughly enjoyed talking to people and encouraging them to watch the films in the cinema. I had some very interesting and emotional conversations during the day. The overwhelming favourite film was the speech bubble one about the bipolar date, people really liked this and they liked the humor. Several people who work in mental health and education even wanted a copy of the showreel.

Anastacia as a Time to Change Co-ordinator outside the entrance to the Village Cinema where a Time to Change Mental Health Showreel was playing

It was fantastic to see Maggie Wheeler who is the Chair of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and the Chair of the Service Users Council Stephen Fletcher visit the Time to Change Village. I also saw many friends including my good friend Rachel who I have known for many years.

Maggie Wheeler Chair of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and Oz Osborne one of the organisers of the Time to Change Village

Stephen Fletcher, Chair of the Service Users Council at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and Helen at the Time to Change Village event

Anastacia and my friend Rachel on the Village Green Bench outside the Time to Change Cinema

The day was a huge success and I can’t wait for the next Time to Change Event. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute, it was fantastic. I spoke to so many people, who were all very positive about the event and I talked non stop all day to the point that I ended up with a sore throat and was exhausted the next day. I had so many amazing and inspiring conversations with people, which at times made me feel quite emotional but also gave me an overwhelming feeling of inspiration and wanting to help and reassure people. It has made me realise just how much I love talking to people and helping them in a small way. It also gave me a much needed huge boost to my confidence. I met people who had their own mental health difficulties, people who knew nothing about mental health or TTC and I also met quite a few professionals who work in mental health. A nurse, someone who works on the Waveney ward at Hellesdon and a paramedic and someone who worked at Rethink. All the conversations I had were positive and obviously a few were emotional. Even people who did not have time to stop were courteous and very friendly and often would just take a postcard or leaflet from me.
I thought the Village and whole idea of interacting and engaging with the public is brilliant. All the activities, the singing, cinema, teas and coffees and volunteers were so effective. I also think that having it at the Forum worked really well. The steps provide a place for people to sit down and watch and also enabled me to go up to quite a few people to talk. The atmosphere was great, really buzzing and electric.
Thank you and well done to everyone involved in such a successful and rewarding day. And lastly a lovely picture of Sheila, Paola’s friends dog. Animals are part of Villages and dogs have mental health too and Sheila clearly enjoyed having her picture taken and visiting the Time to Change Village – good for her wellbeing.

Sheila enjoying the Time to Change Village Event


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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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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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Showreel on ‘Shooting People’ Professional Filmmakers Website

Shooting People – Link to ‘Yessica’s Journey’ Showreel

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

Article advertised in Shooting People Bulletin

Shooting People is a professional network for filmmakers and I have been a member for many years. I recently posted my showreel on the site and they send out regular bulletins so it is a great way to promote the project.

Showreel on website, image of Yessica

I have also used this website to advertise for the voiceover artists in the past for the role of Yessica and the Magician. I got over 100 applicants so it is quite a good place to advertise. I also advertised locally in Norwich. We interviewed people at Mind and got people to send in their voiceover samples. I really enjoyed it and met loads of interesting very talented people. Articles about this in previous blogs.

We got the perfect people for the voiceover roles. Matt Oliver for the ‘Magician’ and Orna Salinger for ‘Yessica’. Extremely talented artists.

Image of showreel from Yessica’s Journey ideas

Below is slideshow of some screenshots from showreel.

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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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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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Claire Lussignea, Lead Psychologist from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust – Question and Answer Document

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill and Claire Lussignea from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy, duplicate or download text.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust Website

I attended the Service User Redesign and Communication Group meeting in January (see earlier blog). Service Users from Hellesdon Hospital – the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and other organisations were invited to the meeting to discuss two pathways – the Non Psychotic and Psychotic disorder and the Wellbeing Service.
This is the question and answer document which Claire and I produced which I am very proud of. I hope that this helps towards a positive and a greater involvement of Service Users working in partnership with the Trust to help one another and to learn from each other and to improve services and care as well as acknowledge the services which are working well. The document has been sent to the Redesign group which Claire requested and the Service Users Council and I hope that it has been helpful and encourages other service users to actively get involved in helping to shape, redesign and improve the NHS.
Thank you to Claire Lussignea, Lead Psychologist, and the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust Marketing Department for kindly giving me permission to publish this document.

27th January 2012

Anastacia Tohill  |  Service User Council Member | Service User Redesign and Communications Sub Group Member.

Here are some of the questions I wanted to ask but we ran out of time at our Redesign meeting on 26th January with the Non Psychotic and Psychotic disorder Pathway Staff. If you need further clarification about the questions or more details please do not hesitate to contact me.

These are my own questions that I wanted to ask but I will pass this information onto the rest of the group who may also find it useful.

I would like to thank Claire Lussignea who is the lead Clinician and lead Psychologist at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and was one of the members of staff on the Psychotic Disorder Pathway panel who has kindly taken the time and trouble to answer my questions. I also want to thank any other staff who also contributed to the answers. She said that we are still in the early stages of working out the Radical Redesign process and there is still a lot to be worked out and it is hard to capture complex issues. She has encouraged me to get back to her to discuss anything further from her answers. Thank you I do appreciate it and I have found it extremely helpful and encouraging.

I hope other service users and staff find it helpful and useful and I hope it encourages and helps to formulate new ideas, discussions and ways of improving the NHS system.

  1. If hope is central to recovery how will you use Service Users lived experiences to show hope to people who are experiencing Psychosis?

How will you use Service Users stories of hope?
How will you monitor the process?
How will you make sure the process is fair?

Answer: ‘Hi – we haven’t yet worked out all the detail around how we will use people with a lived experience within the service. We will be asking the service user redesign and communications group for some ideas as to how you think this would best work. However my personal thinking is that using people’s personal stories is usually a very powerful tool.’

How will you safeguard vulnerable adults who are feeling unwell and ensure they receive the right advice and message of hope? Would you provide professional training for Service Users and what would this be?

Answer: ‘There are formal training programmes which include supervision and coordination roles. There are different models used throughout the country. We will be looking at these and plan to use a tried and tested approach.’


How will you select suitable candidates for the role?

Answer: ‘Please see above’

  1. Have you thought about using creative activity as a way to help people who are experiencing Mental Health problems and creating useful projects which actually enhance peoples wellbeing and confidence and helps them to explore their own mental health?

Answer: ‘This is a very good idea. In an ideal world I would like to see such projects being service user led but with the required support and administrative support provided by the mental health service. Do you have any particular ideas? There is no barrier to us helping get these off the ground.’

  1. Research is very important in understanding Mental Health. Have you thought about using ‘Service User’ Research to enhance the Trust’s understanding of Psychosis. Using service users stories of experience, specific case studies, questionnaires, interviews. monitoring, recording and analysing the results to help improve the understanding of Psychosis?

Answer: ‘The Trust has a Research Dept which I know is supportive of Service User Research. The Early intervention Service is also very active in undertaking research into psychosis. I can provide contact details for you should you wish.’

Are you involved with other organisations with research into psychosis?

Answer: ‘Yes some of the research undertaken is collaborative with other organisations.’

  1. How will you ensure that Service Users are treated as individuals and recognise that each person has a unique experience of Mental Health? Are you going to move away from the typical tick box system and one size fits all way of thinking?

Answer: ‘I think what you are talking about here is a change in culture and in attitude of staff members. Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust has joined up to support IMROC which is a project looking at changing the culture and approach of mental health services to recovery. It is very focussed on putting the service user at the centre of the work. Would you like more information on this?’

The organisation is also in the process of revising its CPA paperwork. We will ensure service users participate in this review to ensure any new paperwork does not lead to a tick box system.

  1. Often personal qualities, experience and skills are equally as important as qualifications. What personal qualities and skills will you be looking for in staff.

Answer: ‘I think looking at some of the information coming out of the IMROC project will answer this better than I can. I will forward you some of the information on my return from leave and then we can have a chat if this does not answer your questions.

On every job description there is a list of personal qualities we are looking for from the staff member doing that job. We are also hoping to increase the number of job interviews that service users are on the panel for so that you are the people helping to determine who is employed.’

How will you make sure that you find the right staff with the right attitude and skills to help people experiencing mental health problems?

Answer: ‘See above.’

How will you monitor the effectiveness of staff?
How will you make sure that your staff receive proper training and guidance, support and time to ensure they give a good effective service. If staff are unhappy this sometimes reflects badly on the very people they are trying to help.

Answer: ‘All staff have clinical supervision and managerial supervision and also an annual appraisal of their effectiveness. These are the systems that are in place to support the above. However we are currently looking at Suffolk’s clinical supervision system to see if there are things we can learn from it.

The Trust’s training dept runs lots of courses and workshops for people. Some of which are mandatory. Staff are also supported to attend external courses. All this training is designed to ensure staff are receiving the necessary training and guidance to do their job effectively.’

  1. How will you ensure that you provide a fair system for everyone who experiences mental health problems. What will you do to ensure this? In a tick box type system often many people are left out from being helped as certain criteria can go against them.

Answer: ‘I am hoping that when the Payment by Results system comes in for mental health this will help for a fairer system. People will be allocated to a care cluster and each care cluster has a package of care attached to it that describes exactly what someone should get and options of things that should be thought about and discussed with them. This should mean less of a lottery about what help someone receives.’

  1. How can you ensure that assumptions are not made about what someone experiencing Psychosis says? How will you ensure that they are listened to properly? Sometimes people may have delusions but sometimes in amongst the delusions there may be some real events happening which are true. How will you differentiate this and how will you offer reassurance to someone?

Answer: ‘I think this is about the skills of the staff (so comes back to appropriate training and knowledge) and attitude of the staff (which comes back to the IMROC work and effective recruitment and supervision and appraisal).’

  1. Medication is important in helping someone to get well but talking therapy is equally as important especially in helping people to understand what is happening to them, why it is happening and how they can help themselves. It also opens the doorway to TRUST and HOPE. What talking therapies are being offered as a service by the Trust for people who are or have experienced psychosis?

Answer: ‘The care packages describe what should be offered to people with psychosis depending on which care cluster they are in. However as standard anyone with a new presentation of psychosis should be assessed for whether they are likely to benefit from CBT. However other therapies are also available depending on need. The trust provides a range of therapies including CBT, CAT, IPT and EMDR as standard.’

Is the Trust actively seeking out new and old therapies, researching therapies and trying out therapies to find out which ones work best and also find out good professional organisations and therapists which work and work well? Sometimes what works for one person will not work for others so it is important to offer a wide diverse range of therapies and therapists. It the Trust using Research to formulate ideas?

Answer: ‘The Trust is not doing all the research itself. This type of research involves many hundreds of people and therefore some people in the Trust are involved in big national studies looking at this. The National Institute for Clinical Effectiveness also periodically reviews the research evidence base for the treatment of different conditions and the Trust endeavours to follow these guidelines.’

Is this something Service Users could be involved in helping with – surveys, questionnaires etc. Monitor and recording of information perhaps so there is a database of good therapists and therapies. Could service users help the Trust in researching therapies in some way?

Answer: ‘I believe that the Trust’s Research Dept is keen to involve Service Users in research. I can provide a contact for you should you wish?’

  1. What do you think of the idea about psychiatry becoming like other medical specialities where there is a range of tests including imaging tests of the brain functions, blood tests and psychological tests to find out about susceptibility factors to mental health problems, help with diagnosis and enable help in a different way?

Answer: ‘I think this already exists for some conditions but not for others. This is not something I have discussed with colleagues but my own personal view is that we should make use of whatever is useful out there to help us understand our experiences.’


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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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Peter Edge ‘Yessica’s Journey’ Mentor working at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust Wellbeing Service

Peter Edge ‘Yessica’s Journey’ Mentor

© Copyright 2011 Anastacia Tohill – Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy, duplicate or download images or text.

Wellbeing Service Ready to Change Website

Living Life to the Full Website

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust Website

I would like to congratulate Peter Edge on his new job with the Wellbeing Service at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust. He was originally working in the Early Intervention Psychosis Team at 80 St. Stephens. I am so pleased for him and I think he will be very successful in his new role and a huge asset to the Trust.

Peter was the NHS representative mentor for the project and joined ‘Yessicas Journey’ last summer. Although I am sad to see him go and will miss his input, I am pleased he has a new job helping many people within the Wellbeing Service.

I would like to thank Peter for all the time he has given me and to the ‘Yessicas Journey’ project. I would like to thank him for his enthusiasm and interest and I appreciate all the time and advice he has given. He has been a great Mentor and has brought so much to the project. He was especially helpful with the script and feedback and I will never forget the comments he made after reading it. I knew straight away that he had a very good understanding of Psychosis and Mental Health. He also attended the Voice Over recording for the script last year which was great. Hopefully Peter will be able to come to the launch when the animation is finished.

I am so pleased that there are people like Peter working in the Trust who really understand Mental Health and Wellbeing. I have enjoyed working with Peter who I consider to be a very kind and caring person. I am sure he will be able to help many people within the NHS with mental health difficulties. He has good understanding and communication skills and I wish him every success for the future.

Many Thanks Peter


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Insight Magazine Article – Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust – Yessica’s Journey Exhibited at the Fruits of Mind Exhibition

The Well Artists Website

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust Website – Insight Magazine

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. © Copyright – Some text and screenshots taken from the Insight Magazine from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

‘More than 40 artists with mental health problems exhibited their work at the annual Fruits of the Mind exhibition in Norwich. The exhibition, organised jointly with the Well artists’ collective – took place at the Forum. Around £500 worth of artwork was sold, comprising around one picture in every five. Many artists were exhibiting for the first time, and some were delighted to collect cash rather than their paintings at the end of the week.’

‘Many encouraging comments were left in the visitors’ book, and the curators from the Well had many interesting discussions with members of the public about mental health and art.’

‘If you would like to be involved in organising the next exhibition, or setting up an artists’ co-operative in your locality, contact helen.simpson@nwmhp.nhs.uk
You can find out more about the Well by visiting www.thewellartists.co.uk’
(Quotes and text taken from Spring Insight Magazine Article – © Copyright Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust)

I exhibited 2 pieces of Artwork at the Fruits of the Mind exhibition last year. To see blog article and Artwork displayed please click on link  (Blog Article of Fruits of the Mind Exhibition 10th-14th October at the Forum Norwich)

Yessica’s First Character Design which I exhibited can be seen in the Insight Magazine Article. She is just peeping through in the background which I thought was quite good. I was thrilled to see her there. See screenshot below taken from the Insight Magazine. I have added text to show the Illustration in the background.

Artists Exhibit Fruits of the Mind Exhibition including Yessica’s Journey

The NHS and the Well do a fantastic job of displaying artists work who have experienced mental health difficulties. I was thrilled to be involved. It was great to be given the opportunity and this is the first time I have exhibited my artwork so it meant a lot to me.

Screenshot of Insight Magazine Cover

Above is a screenshot of the Cover of the Insight Magazine from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. Images of Maggie Wheeler who is the Chair and Aidan Thomas who is the Chief Executive.

The Insight Magazine is published on a quarterly basis and can be downloaded from the website. For more information and to contribute an article please phone the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust – Trust Communications on 01603 421494 | email: communications@nsft.nhs.uk

You can become a member of the Trust and can receive the magazine in printed format as well as downloadable format. Please visit Membership at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust



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How Apple iPads improve the patient experience

Link to article from Health Leaders sent by Linked in

Apple UK Website

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. © Linked in Article – Health Leaders Media.

I got this article sent to me via the LinkedIn Social Network for Professionals. Please read the article link above. It is really interesting that they are using Apple’s iPad in creative ways. It is helping plan patients care and clinical care. It is helping patient education and planning their care and recovery.

I have been using Apple computers for years and love them. They are so easy to use and very visual. As a creative artist the ease of use, reliability and visual interface makes it unique in the computer world. Highly recommend Apple Macs, they are reliable and rarely get viruses compared to PC’s.

Screenshot of iPad taken from Apple UK website

© Copyright 2012 screenshot taken from Apple UK website.  All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. 

I think that is it great that the NHS is embracing technology in a creative way. I hope this is something the Mental Health Organisations will consider as I think it could be very beneficial in Mental Health and Wellbeing.


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Fruits of the Mind Exhibition 10-14th October at the Forum Norwich

‘Dragon Wing Faery’. Mixed Media, Traditional with Digital.

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

The images above are in the Fruits of the Mind exhibition at the Forum in Norwich from 10th-14th October. The Fruits of the Mind Exhibition is to showcase local artists who have experienced mental ill health and is being organised by NHS Hellesdon Hospital. I am very excited to showcase this work as I do not often exhibit. This is the first time I am selling my work except the illustration of Yessica. This is also a chance to promote the project ‘Yessica’s Journey’.

The illustrations are mainly mixed media combining traditional with digital. The illustrations are hand drawn in pencil and ink and then scanned into the computer. Hand painted textures of watercolour and marbling techniques are used to colour and texture the illustrations. The image is enhanced and composited in Adobe Photoshop digitally.

The ‘Dawn Light’ illustration has been specially created for this exhibition and is about my experience of mental ill health and recovery.