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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Antony the Five Ways to Wellbeing Ant Poster in the St. Stephens Underpass in Norwich

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

Link to St. Stephens Paste Up Website to view images

One of the images detailed in this blog is by Photographer Joe Black, please click on links below to see more of his work. Joe Black Photographer Website  /  Joe Black Photographer Facebook Page

Antony the Five Ways to Wellbeing Poster in the Norwich Underpass

Antony the Five Ways to Wellbeing Poster in the Norwich Underpass

I was asked to be involved in an exciting project which has helped to transform St. Stephens Street underpass in Norwich, sparking discussion through paste up and street art. This has been a huge success and has helped to spark discussion about Mental Health as well as giving the gloomy underpass a makeover. This was organised by Community Service Volunteers and Time to Change. There were many artists who contributed to the work pasted up. For more images from Artists involved in the project please click on the link at the top of this blog. Laura Wigby who works at the BBC organised the project. I created a colourful poster of Antony the Five Ways to Wellbeing Ant to cheer the underpass up and hopefully people who walk past the poster. The Five Ways to Wellbeing can help everyone feel more positive about their lives and can help with mental wellbeing – Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give. For more information about the Five Ways to Wellbeing and Antony click on link below.

Five Ways to Wellbeing Website – New Economics Foundation

Antony the Five Ways to Wellbeing Ant

Image taken by Joe Black, Photographer of me pasting up my poster

© Copyright Joe Black. All rights reserved. Do not download or use this screenshot. Image taken by Joe Black, Photographer of me pasting up my poster

I really like this image taken by Joe Black, who is a photographer. © Copyright Joe Black. All rights reserved. This image is a screenshot from the following site where you can view more images by Joe Black. St. Stephens Paste Up Website to view images.  Joe Black is a talented photographer and you can view his website and facebook page by clicking on the following links:  Joe Black Photographer Website

Joe Black Photographer Facebook Page

He also put a lovely illustration up of a dragon, see below.

Joe Black, Photographers Illustration and poster

Joe Black, Photographers Illustration and poster. © Copyright Joe Black. All rights Reserved

Antony Poster in the Underpass

Antony Poster in the Underpass

One of the Artists involved with the project with her work.

Artist Nicola Simmonds showing her work.

Dyslexia Poster from one of the Artists

Dyslexia Poster created by Nicola Simmons. @ Copyright Nicola Simmons. All rights reserved

Poster

Dyslexic Poster Created by Nicola Simmons. © Copyright Nicola Simmons. All rights reserved

Nicola Simmons created this very clever poster about Dyslexia above. It would be interesting to do research into connections between Mental Health, Dyslexia and Creativity. I am Dyslexic and I was diagnosed quite late in life and always wondered why I found reading and retaining information so hard.

Article in the EEN and EDP

Artists involved in the project – Article in the EEN and EDP Newspaper

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Article in the EDP and EEN Newspaper of St Stephens Paste up

 Below Slideshow of images

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Oz Osborne New Production Manager for Yessica’s Journey

Oz Osborne Production Manager and Anastacia

Oz Osborne Production Manager and Anastacia

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

I am pleased to anounce that Oz Osborne who has worked with me from the start of the ‘Yessica’s Journey’ project is the new Production Manager. Oz has helped and supported me all the way through this project and I am looking forward to continuing to work with him in the future. Oz works for Time to Change/Mind and is also a freelance Mental Health consultant and does a lot of work for the Human Library.

We will be meeting once a month to help keep the project on track.


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Meeting with David Neat about designs for Yessicas Head

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

I went down to London to see David Neat who is making Yessica’s Heads to discuss my designs for the character. I spent quite a long time designing her heads and have redesigned her many times from my initial ideas. I think she has improved a lot and I am really pleased with the final designs.

David Neat in his studio in London

David Neat in his studio in London

David is the sculptor and modelmaker for Yessica’s Heads and is a professional highly experienced modelmaker. He made the set for the animation which looks amazing. He has never made a puppet head before so it was quite a challenge for him and I am so pleased he agreed to make her. He had started to make the sculpts which look brilliant and it was very exciting to see her coming to life. David is very talented and is a perfectionist which shows in all of his work, the attention to detail on the heads is amazing and I can’t thank him enough for his hard work.

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David working in his studio

Anastacia holding the sculpts of Yessica's heads which David has made, sorry not going to show you what they look like, you will have to wait and see

Anastacia holding the sculpts of Yessica’s heads which David has made, they looked like chocolate lolipops on sticks. Sorry can’t show you anything yet hence the blobs of white.

David Neat Model Maker © 2012 Astrid Baerndal Photo taken during a workshop David was giving at the National Gallery.

David Neat Model Maker © 2012 Astrid Baerndal Photo taken during a workshop David was giving at the National Gallery.


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

Link to Chalk Circle Theatre Company Facebook Page

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

4.48 Psychosis Sarah Kane Chalk Circle Theatre Company Poster

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

Poster Information from 4.48 Psychosis Chalk Circle Theatre Company

Quote from Suzannah Coppolina Director
‘Chalk Circle is a newly established professional theatre company working in collaboration with local and international theatre practitioners. Our aim is to create contemporary, innovative, challenging and cutting-edge theatre in Norwich and the surrounding area. This year we will be producing 4.48 Psychosis written by playwright Sarah Kane. Sarah Kane is one of the most powerful and controversial playwrights of our time and her plays have been widely performed in Europe and South America. We, at The Chalk Circle Theatre Company would like to support and raise awareness of mental health and aim to host panel discussions, rehearsed readings, art exhibits and workshops based around the subject matter within the play.’

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


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Article about New Bipolar UK Self Help Group in Norwich for Mind Associates Magazine

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. Screenshot from Mind Associates Magazine Simon Barker. Quotes from Chris Stokes, Gemma Nicholls and Janet Conway

Bipolar UK Website

Norwich Bipolar UK Self Help Group Contact – norwich@bipolarukgroups.org.uk

Screenshot from the Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Associates Magazine showing article about the new self help group which I organised

I was thrilled to be asked by Simon Barker to write an article for the Mind Associates Magazine about the new Bipolar UK Self Help Group in Norwich.  Simon is a Mind First Aid Manager and Mind Associate for the Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind organisation. See screenshot above of final article which looks great.
I decided to ask the Facilitator of the group who first initiated the idea to have a group in Norwich to write the main piece for the article – Chris Stokes. I also asked Gemma Nicholls who is also helping to facilitate the group for a quote and Janet Conway who is the Group Development Officer at Bipolar UK.  I organised the article and was pleased to have it published in the magazine.
I am so pleased that a group like this has been set up in Norwich and it will help many people who have Bipolar as well as their families, friends and carers. I wish the group well and I know it will be a huge success. The turnout for the first meeting was well attended. Unfortunately I can’t attend the meetings but I have joined the mailing list which will keep me informed of what the group is doing. They intend getting interesting speakers at some of their group meetings and have invited Maggie Wheeler, Chair of the NHS Trust and Janet Conway from Bipolar UK to talk at the next meeting in October.
Below is the article I helped to organise which you can read more clearly for further information.

22/8/2012 Article for ‘Associates Magazine’ Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind 398 words

New Norwich Bipolar UK Self-Help Group

Bipolar UK Logo

First Meeting 6th September 6.30pm-8.30pm
Meetings:  First Thursday of each month
Quaker (Friends) Meeting House
Upper Goat Lane
Norwich NR2 1EW
For further information contact Chris Stokes and Gemma Nicholls at: norwich@bipolarukgroups.org.uk
Bipolar UK Website:  www.bipolaruk.org.uk

Chris Stokes: Group Facilitator

‘The Quaker (Friends) Meeting House is conveniently situated in the heart of the city and the room which we shall use for our meetings is comfortable and easily accessible on the ground floor.’

‘When I was diagnosed with bipolar last year after 30 years of misdiagnosis, what I really wanted most of all wasn’t to read books about bipolar or to look at websites about bipolar, but to meet somebody with bipolar and ask some questions. How would I cope? Is bipolar a death sentence? What are the medications like? But when I tried to find a bipolar group in Norwich, I realised there wasn’t one. That’s why I decided to start one. I believe that our new group, organised as part of the wonderful national charity Bipolar UK, will be a huge asset to Norwich and a lifeline for people with bipolar, their carers and their families.’

‘Anyone whose life is affected by bipolar is welcome at our meetings.  You can attend as many or as few meetings as you like, you’re free to leave whenever you want, and you don’t have to speak if you don’t feel like it, although everyone will have the opportunity to do so.’

Gemma Nicholls: Group Facilitator

‘The planning meeting held in July was well attended so this bodes well for the future of the group and shows just how important and needed a self help group is in Norwich. There was a lot of positive energy in the room to make this a success and the turnout suggests that the group will become invaluable for many people affected by bipolar. I look forward to the start.’

Janet Conway: Group Development Officer at Bipolar UK

‘We at Bipolar UK are delighted that a new self-help group for people affected by the bipolar condition is being launched in Norwich. As the only national charity dedicated to supporting people affected by bipolar, we rely a great deal on the willing volunteers who run our national network of self-help groups, and who do so much to raise awareness of the condition and to support people in their own communities.’


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Maggie Wheeler and Roz Brooks from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust are the New NHS Representatives for ‘Yessica’s Journey’

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust Website

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. Images taken by Diane Smith who works at the NHS.

Maggie Wheeler Chair of the Trust from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and Anastacia – Yessica’s Journey Meeting

I was thrilled to have a meeting with Maggie Wheeler, who is the Chair of the Trust and Roz Brooks who is the Director of Nursing, Patient Safety and Quality at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust – Hellesdon Hospital. After having to cancel many meetings I finally got to show them some of the development of the work for the ‘Yessica’s Journey’ project. I showed them my portfolio of designs including some of the sound and models from the project. I really enjoyed showing them the work and they both seemed really interested in how the project was progressing. I am also pleased to announce that Maggie and Roz are now officially the NHS Representatives for the project which is amazing.

Quote from Maggie and Roz  “we are so pleased to be associated with this fantastic project. It will really help people understand mental ill health in an accessible way. We were fascinated to learn about how animated films are made, and the time and skill it takes. We are really looking forward to seeing the final result”

I would like to thank Maggie and Roz for their time and for giving me the opportunity to show them the development of  ‘Yessica’s Journey’. Also huge thanks for being my representatives, I really appreciate it. I would also like to thank Diane Smith who took these lovely pictures of Maggie and me, I really like them and she has done a fantastic job.

Maggie Wheeler Chair of the Trust from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and Anastacia – Yessica’s Journey Meeting


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Time to Change Village Event comes to Norwich 1st September

Time to Change Village Event in Norwich

Time to Change Village Website Link

Time to Change Village Event in London with Village videos and pictures link

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. Screenshots from Time to Change Poster and images supplied by Oz Osborne

The time to Change Village Event is coming to Norwich on 1st September 2012 at the Forum in Norwich. It is a chance for people to learn about mental health, participate in activities and challenge the stigma and discrimination faced by people with Mental health difficulties. It is about changing preconceived perceptions. Everyone is welcome and it will be a fun day out. Here are a few images which Oz Osborne took at the last Time to Change Village Event.

Time to Change Village Cinema playing Showreel

Time to Change Village Event Human Library

Time to Change Village Event

Above are pictures of the success of the village including the Human Library where you can borrow people as books to find out about different subjects and challenge prejudice and preconceived ideas. Also picture of the Cinema Tent which I helped create the Showreel for.

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Time to Change Poster


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Time to Change Village Event comes to Norwich 1st September at the Forum

Time to Change Village Event in Norwich

Time to Change Village Website Link

Time to Change Village Event in London with Village videos and pictures link

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. Screenshots from Time to Change Poster and Website.

Time To Change Poster Advertising Norwich Event at the Forum

The Time to Change Village Event is coming to Norwich on the 1st September at the Forum. The event has been very successful and has been around the whole country. They are looking for volunteers so please contact Oz Osborne for further details about how you can get involved – see above poster. He is one of the people who helped to develop the idea. For more information about Time to Change and the Village events please click on links at the top of this article.

Quote taken from Time to Change Website
‘The Village is a pop-up interactive space that has all the things you might expect to find in villages and towns across the world: a health centre, library, café, post office, cinema and a news agent. But there’s a twist –each part of the village provides a unique opportunity to engage the public in conversation about mental health.
When people meet our volunteers for a chat at the Time to Change Village, they will find out more about mental health. This helps to challenge prejudices and stereotypes which often lead to discrimination.
Time to Change held the first Village event in London on 31 March 2012.

Screenshot of image taken from Time to Change website of Village Event

I am thrilled to have been asked to be one of the ‘Volunteer Coordinator’s’ for the event which is a paid role. It is lovely to be asked to take on such a responsible role. I am very excited but also a bit nervous as I have never done this before and lack a bit of much-needed confidence. We will be getting training soon which is great.

I have volunteered with Time to Change for several years now and have really enjoyed it. It has helped me a lot with my own Mental Health and Wellbeing and to talk openly and not feel embarrassed or ashamed. I am glad I did not keep my own Mental Health difficulties a secret which I did for several years. For me it has been much better to be honest and not hide something like this which can become a burden and can be distressing. It has been very beneficial for my own wellbeing and has helped me as well as others to understand Mental Health. I am glad that I can openly talk about it now and feel proud. It has been a long and difficult journey and it has not been easy for me to open up to people and talk about something so personal – but the rewards have been huge.

I am thrilled that the showreel which I helped to produce for the Cinema part of the Village has now been showed around the whole country to help challenge the stigma and discrimination of mental health. The showreel includes many videos which is informative about Mental Health and helps to challenge people’s perceptions and understanding. I am very proud to have been involved in this in a small way and so glad I have been able to do something useful and have been given this fantastic opportunity. Time to Change are great communicators and have involved me in so many ways, they make you feel valued and that you are doing something useful and I am extremely grateful for all the opportunities I have been given – thank you.

Please come along to the event and spread the word as it is important to advertise this event. It is the first time it will have come to Norwich. I have informed people I know including Mind and the NHS so please pass this information on to anyone you know and display the poster.

If  you are interested in volunteering it is a great way to help yourself as well as others and help to educate the public to understand Mental Health and change perceptions. Come along to the event, it will be interesting, informative and enjoyable – a fun day out and everyone is welcome.


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Festival of Cultures, Mind Inclusion, 16th September

Norwich Mind Inclusion Project Website

Norwich Mind Festival of Cultures

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. Screenshot from Festival of Cultures Poster Norwich Mind Inclusion and information from Paola Colombo.

Festival of Cultures Poster

Norwich Mind Inclusion Project is for people from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities in Norwich? It offers support for people from BME communities who live in Norwich.

The Festival of Cultures is being held for the first time at the Norwich Forum on the 16th of September and is part of the Inclusion Project. Please come along for a fun day out. I was thrilled to be asked to be a volunteer as an artistic director looking after the Cinema tent which will be showing a showreel of Time to Change videos about mental health and wellbeing and Mind Inclusion work.

Quote and information from Paola Colombo, Inclusion Manager at Norwich Mind Inclusion‘Each year the Festival of Culture provides a focus through which Norwich Mind actively promotes, challenges and develops an understanding of multiculturalism, equality, and diversity in our fine city.

The 2012 Festival of Cultures celebrates the fabulous diversity of arts and histories in our city with performances from around the world and activities for anyone to join in.  And it’s FREE.

  • Have a go at Bollywood style dancing
  • Sing along with artist from all over the world
  • Be moved by stories of people who have decided to make Norwich their home
  • See preconceptions challenged by the Human Library

Here are some of the day’s highlights
On the stage

  • Norwich Malayalees – Traditional dance from South India
  • Filippo the Miserable Man – Reggae
  • Cece Dube – Zimbabwean singer-song writer
  • Rai and Jagga – Nubian world music
  • Zumba – Dance fitness programme originating from Colombia
  • Traditional Russian Repka dance and choir
  • Kelly Kanayama – Pacific Rim story-telling
  • Bollywood Sparkles – Bollywood-style dance
  • Capoeira – Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance and music
  • Leontine Mujinga – Congolese a capella singing
  • Egyptian Dancing with Lorraine
  • Anna Mudeka – Zimbabwean Singer and Dancer
  • Cultural Village: meet people from countries all over the world who have decided tp make Norwich their home and learn about their various cultures
  • Norwich Mind’s Tigers Football Club Corner (raffle, face painting for children, information service)
  • Human Library

Workshops

  • Theatre
  • Egyptian Dancing
  • Art – Making world bunting
Complementary therapies
  • Indian head and back massage
  • Egyptian Massage
  • Aromatherapy

 For info please contact Paola on  01603 433268 ext 3 option Inclusion Manager’


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Chalk Circle Theatre Company

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

I was invited to a really good event at ‘Take Five’ in Norwich with the ‘Chalk Circle Theatre Company’. Concentric Circles hosted an art exhibition and talk based upon the subject matter within a play called 4.48 Psychosis written by playwright Sarah Kane. There was also exhibits of art on display which showed how people can explore their mental health difficulties through art. Suzanna Coppolina, Company Director and Adina Levay Artistic Director organised the event and had a guest speaker from Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Robert Black, who talked about Mental Health and Psychosis. I really enjoyed the event and the Theatre Company have also asked me to do a talk on my project ‘Yessica’s Journey’ soon, so I am thrilled.

Robert Black from Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind

Quote from Suzanna Coppolina, Company Director of Chalk Circle

‘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. 4.48 Psychosis was Sarah Kane’s last play. It is a poetic exploration into the struggles of mental health, dealing with sensitive issues such as depression, anxiety and suicide. Sarah Kane herself suffered of bipolar and sadly, aged 28 took her own life.

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. Beyond the traditional means of publicity/marketing such as posters, leaflets, magazines and radio sound bites, Chalk Circle plans to use alternative forms such as street performance, happenings, open forums and events. Chalk Circle would also like to establish ongoing input for this project, offering a professional the chance to help shape this exciting production. This professional would take part in the rehearsal process helping the performers to achieve a higher understanding of the process of mental health, giving the play and the subject matter the integrity it deserves.


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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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New Bipolar Uk Self Help Group in Norwich

Bipolar Uk Website Self Help Groups

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

Bipolar Uk Logo

Great News – a new Bipolar Uk self-help group is being set up in Norwich. The first meeting is on Thursday 6th September 2012 and then every first Thursday in the month. It starts at 6.30pm-8.30pm. Venue is the Friends Meeting House, Upper Goat Lane, Norwich.
The lady from Bipolar Uk rang me as I could not attend and said it was one of the biggest amount of people she had seen attend the event – over twenty people.  Chris came up with the idea and is running the group with Gemma. I received a letter from Bipolar UK inviting me to the event but could not attend. I sent it out to the NHS and Mind so hopefully lots of people were informed. I wish the group well and hope it will benefit many people.

Map from Bipolar UK website with details of Norwich Group


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The Happy Pill which won’t make you gain weight

Article from the Mirror Newspaper

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

I found this article in the Mirror newspaper and thought it was interesting. It is about how some Bipolar Disorder Antidepressants can make you gain weight. This new pill claims to half the weight gained. It is not available yet through the NHS as they are still researching it. I think it is great that they are doing research into medication which may reduce the side effects of weight gain. Anti-psychotic drugs like Olanzapine can make some people gain weight. I think people with mental health difficulties have enough problems without losing their identity and from many of the other side effects of drugs. I gained over 2 stone and when I looked in the mirror I just did not recognise myself anymore or indeed did anyone else. This can have quite an adverse effect on your wellbeing and confidence, to lose your identity is distressing. I am pleased to say I have now lost around 2 stone since last May and can finally look in the mirror and recognise myself. I am on medication but not on the ones which make you gain weight. Having said that I would not be here if it wasn’t for Olanzapine which got me through my degree and many difficult times. I hope this new drug is effective and also does not have any other bad side effects. I think research is extremely important in improving medication and ways of developing new methods to help people.


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Time to Change Mental Health at Work Article

Time to Change Website Article

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

I found this article on the Time to Change website really interesting and encouraging. It is about how having a mental health difficulty does not necessarily have to stop some people from working with support and the right job. I have found volunteer work very important is gaining confidence and getting me back to work in the past. I have always enjoyed working although I now find I can’t do some of the things I used to do due to having Bipolar. It is about pacing yourself, avoiding stress where possible and finding the right job which suits you. Something which gives you confidence, motivation and something which you enjoy doing. Something which helps to build your  self-esteem and taking that first small step which is so hard to do. Knowing your limits and getting support and positive encouragement. Good feedback is essential from employers and an understanding of Mental Health is essential. I have found it hard to work since 2008 and at times have had to give up many jobs due to Bipolar which is so frustrating.  However I am a fighter and a strong person and after recently having a relapse hope to get back to work as soon as I am able. You have to learn to accept you can’t perhaps do the things you used to do and adapt.  Medication also effects you a great deal and your capabilities. Work gives you something to focus on and a chance not only to help yourself lead a more fulfilling life but also to help others and society. Work is good for your wellbeing, whether it is paid or voluntary, as long as it is something you enjoy doing and does not cause you stress. It is important for employers to develop an understanding of Mental Health in the workplace and hopefully through organisations like Time to Change the stigma and discrimination associated with it will help many people with mental health difficulties get back to work if they want to and are capable of doing so.


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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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


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Linkedin Professional Network

Linkedin Website

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

Linkedin is a professional network where you can exchange information, ideas, learn, discuss and show your CV and work experience. I joined many years ago when I was at Uni but did not use it much. Recently I have updated my profile to reflect my work experience and qualifications. I have also recently asked for recommendations for the work I have done and I am thrilled to have received 16 which is great. I have also recommended people and it is great to help others in this way. I am hoping it will help me to find some work.

I have also joined various groups and forums both for Mental Health and Wellbeing and Creative groups for animation and software applications. I have found these very helpful and informative. I have got into quite a few discussions. One lady from America liked my comment about Mental Health and asked permission to use it at a presentation on Mental Health so I was thrilled. I was talking about that I think it is important to educate people, help to change their attitude, perception and understanding of mental health difficulties…..’, I wrote about a paragraph. Here are some of the discussion comments I have left on various forums. I have met and talked to many interesting people and learnt so much. It is a great way to discuss important issues and interact with others who have similar interests and experience.


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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.