Yessica's Journey Blog

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


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Oz Osborne talks about the Human Library at Chalk Circle Theatre Company Event

© Copyright 2013 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

Human Library Website
Chalk Circle Theatre Company Facebook
Oz Osborne setting up for the Human Library talk at Take Five

Oz Osborne setting up for the Human Library talk at Take Five

On the 30th October last year Oz Osborne who works for Time to Change gave a presentation about the Human Library at Take Five. Adina Levay and Suzanna Coppolina asked Oz to give a talk at their Chalk Circle event.

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Oz is very passionate about the Human Library and does many presentations and events all over the country to introduce the concept to the public. The human library is just like a book library but there is a difference, instead of the library loaning out books it loans out people. So you don’t borrow a book to read you borrow a person to read, through talking and listening to them. Just like you learn and develop knowledge through reading books, you can learn from interacting with people. Most people have some prejudices and typically stereotype people so by borrowing a book from the Human Library shelf on a choosen topic of interest, it may help you to open and change your mind, your attitude and views and help you to learn and gain new knowledge by asking people directly, listening and talking to them. By learning more about the person and their subject you can help to challenge stereotypes, stigma and discrimination and change attitudes in our culture. Book titles can be anything – Bipolar Disorder, Transgender, Learning Disability, Wheelchair user, Refugee and so on. It is a great opportunity to ask questions and learn about new subjects by asking people direct. Through conversation and interactivity learning becomes easier and interesting and is more likely to be remembered and has probably more of an effect on people. These are people who are talking about subjects, certain aspects of their lives that they have real lived experience from which is always more informative than many books.

Don’t judge a book by its cover is just the same as saying don’t judge people by first impressions when you don’t know anything about them, don’t judge people because of their colour, sexuality, mental health, appearance and so on. Unfortunately, in our society today we all do it so this is a fantastic idea and opportunity to change perceptions and re-educate people.

Oz talking about the Human Library

Oz talking about the Human Library

Oz talking about the Human Library

Oz talking about the Human Library

The event was very successful and I really enjoyed it. I had never been to a human library event before and I found it really interesting. We were split into two groups and we had a chance to talk to a human book. I have been asked to be a book before but always said no as I felt too nervous to do it. I can see why it is so successful and I am sure the books on loan enjoy it as much as the borrowers, it is a great way to meet new people, change attitudes and gain new knowledge.

Below slideshow of pictures from event.

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Festival of Cultures in Norwich at the Forum 2012

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. Quote taken from Human Library Website.

Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Website
Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Inclusion Project
Norwich Mind YouTube
Festival of Cultures YouTube Video
Human Library Website
Time to Change Website

On the 16th September 2012 Norwich Festival of Cultures was held at the Forum for the first time. The Inclusion Project is to help and support Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities in Norwich.

Dancers at the Festival of Cultures in Norwich

Dancers at the Festival of Cultures in Norwich

Dancers at the Festival

Dancers at the Festival

Amazing lady on stilts and two children

Amazing lady on stilts and two children

Showreel below of all the images I took at the festival inbetween volunteering.

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The festival is celebrated every year by Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Inclusion Project. The festival was hugely successful and included many people from different cultures. There was dancing, singing and music which was amazing. It was fantastic and so interesting to see the different cultures dancing in their beautiful costumes.

Dancing at the Festival

Dancing at the Festival

Dancing at the Festival

Dancing at the Festival

Dancers at the Festival

Dancers at the Festival

Dancer at the Festival of Cultures

Dancer at the Festival of Cultures

Singing at the Festival

Singing at the Festival

Peter Gianfrancesco, Chief Executive at Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind was there to do an opening speech.

Peter Gianfrancesco Chief Executive from Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind

Peter Gianfrancesco Chief Executive from Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind

Peter Gianfrancesco on the stage

Peter Gianfrancesco on the stage

Paola Colombo who is the Inclusion Manager at Mind did a fantastic job of organising the Festival.

Paola Columbo Inclusion Manager from Mind and a Mind Volunteer

Paola Colombo Inclusion Manager from Mind and a Mind Volunteer

The Time to Change Village Cinema also came to the event and I was a volunteer for the day. I helped put together a showreel for the event which included Time to Change footage and Inclusion Mind films. Time to Change is a campaign to help end and challenge mental health discrimination. Please see link at top of blog for link to website.

Time to Change Village Cinema

Time to Change Village Cinema

Stephen Fletcher Chair of the Service Users Council at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Anastacia and Ann outside the TTC Cinema Tent

Stephen Fletcher Chair of the Service Users Council at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Anastacia and Ann outside the TTC Cinema Tent

Oz Osborne in the Time to Change Village Cinema Tent

Oz Osborne in the Time to Change Village Cinema Tent

I thoroughly enjoyed the day and talked to many people about the Time to Change Campaign, Mental Health and Mind. I wore my Inclusion Mind T-Shirt and my Mind First Aider Associates Hat.

Anastacia and a friend from the Festival of Cultures

Anastacia and a friend from the Festival of Cultures

The Human Library also was at the festival and was located inside the Forum.

Quote from Human Library Website: (see top of blog for link to website)

‘The Human Library is an innovative method designed to promote dialogue, reduce prejudices and encourage understanding. The main characteristics of the project are to be found in its simplicity and positive approach. Visitors to a Human Library are given the opportunity to speak informally with “people on loan”; this latter group being extremely varied in age, sex and cultural background. The Human Library enables groups to break stereotypes by challenging the most common prejudices in a positive and humorous manner. It is a concrete, easily transferable and affordable way of promoting tolerance and understanding.’

Oz Osborne and Nick from the Human Library

Oz Osborne and Nick from the Human Library

The Human Library

The Human Library

Oz Osborne and friends

Oz Osborne and friends

I really enjoyed the day and meeting so many interesting people and loved volunteering for Mind Inclusion and Time to Change.

Amrita who works for Mind at the LifeHelp stand

Amrita who works for Mind at the LifeHelp stand

Crowds at the Festival

Crowds at the Festival


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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