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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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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Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind ‘LifeHelp’ launch in Mind Associates Magazine

Norfolk and Central Norfolk Mind Website

Download Mind Associates Magazine

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. © Screenshots taken From Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind website and Mind Associates Magazine.

Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind LifeHelp Logo

Screenshot from the Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Associates Magazine taken by Peter Gianfrancesco of LifeHelp Launch

Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind have launched a new LifeHelp service to help people who have Mental Health Difficulties. It is also for everyone who would like to improve their wellbeing. Above is a screenshot of a photograph which Peter Gianfrancesco took at the event of the Mind Associates. Trisha Goddard also attended the event and gave a great talk which was really inspirational. For further information please click on the above Mind Link to their website and see my earlier blog link on the launch.

The picture above was taken from the Mind Associates Magazine which is a regular magazine of informative information about Mind, Mental Health, Wellbeing and events which are taking place. Please click on the link at the top of this article to download the latest magazine PDF.

Screenshot of Mind Associates Magazine


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Peter Gianfrancesco from Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind and his sister Maureen visit – Yessica’s Journey Animation Project

Peter Gianfrancesco, Chief Executive from Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind with his sister Maureen from Australia and Anastacia

Peter Gianfrancesco, Chief Executive from Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind with his sister Maureen from Australia and Anastacia

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

Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Website

Peter Gianfrancesco who is the Chief Executive at Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind and his sister Maureen from Australia visited me yesterday to see the progress of the Yessica’s Journey Animation project. Peter is one of my Mentors representing Mind who has also supported the project with funding, help and advise.

I really enjoyed showing them both all the work which has been completed so far. They were both very encouraging and seemed impressed with what has been achieved so far. Thanks to both of them for coming to see me and the Yessica’s Journey Animation project and for being so supportive.


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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