HearUs Croydon – Meeting on 4th March 2014

Hear Us Croydon held their open forum meeting on the 4th of March over at the CVA Resource Centre.  At this meeting there were guest speakers:

Caroline McDonald on Personal Budgets in Mental Health and Julie Turner on Direct Payments.

The Main Topic was on the Depression and Bipolar Disorder Focus Group with guest speakers Alice Glover, Dr Karine Macritchie and Vanessa Bray.

Matthew Mckenzie has done a great video blog of the meeting:

Matthew has also done an audio blog:

These are well worth watching and listening to!

Matthew has also uploaded some great photos to our Facebook page:


Moving Forward Project performance: ‘They don’t look ill…’

Last year Status Employment ran the Moving Forward Project funded by Maudsley Charity. The project uses drama and trapeze workshops to raise the self-esteem and confidence of people suffering from mental illnesses.

In December, those who had completed the course devised a theatrical performance to share their ideas, thoughts and feelings and celebrate their achievements. Matthew McKenzie, who works in the Psychological Medicine Clinical Academic Group and is a carer, wrote a review of the night.
What’s The Point! Theatre Company
“They Don’t Look Ill…”

“I was slightly excited that I was going to watch a play for free, although had I noticed how well done the play was, I probably would have easily paid to view the performance. As a carer, sometimes I can be biased to what my mother is going through.  My mother suffers from difficult mental health and this play at least highlighted mental health awareness and educated me on what I thought I may have known about mental wellbeing.  I can only hope they continue to make more performances such as these. Society is badly lacking in awareness.

Some of my favourite scenes:

The upset daughter given hope:
The scene showed how difficult it is for a carer to talk to their loved one, especially younger people, who are not sure how to communicate their distress. It showed how trying to find out what the problem of someone suffering mental distress is like walking on eggshells.

The breaking plasticine film:
We were shown a video of different hands moulding plasticine figures, while different people talk as voice overs about the difficultly of mental illness.  Some plasticine figures are stretched to breaking point, while other figures are shown doing an action like keeping fit. I kept thinking that perhaps the figure was a metaphor for failing to fight the illness.

The smiling fake boxes scene:
Every so often, the actors would come out with boxes on their heads with a smiling face drawn on the box.  At first I was wondering why this was so and the scene seems strangely haunting as it reminded you that looking at a person who is suffering from mental difficulties, you just cannot fully tell what act they are putting on to hide their pain.

The play came to an end and each of the actors came up on stage holding a lantern.  Each lantern was lighted and you could see the words of hope and healing appear on the lanterns as the actors began to take a paper aeroplane and throw them towards the audience.

I picked up one of the paper planes only to see a word written on the plane when I opened the paper up. The word written on the paper plane was “serenity” and from now on, I will take the word as a memento of the play, so when things become difficult for me, I will remember the play and the word.”

Projects like this would not be possible without your generous support.

You can donate to SLaM today and ensure we continue to support people with mental health issues, raise awareness and keep working to reduce stigma.


Kindred Minds Conference – 3 October 2013

An audio and slideshow blog by Matthew Mckenzie of the national conference run by Kindred Minds. It took place on 3rd October from 10.30am — 4.30pm at the Employment Academy on Peckham Road just next to Peckham Town Hall.

Showcasing the work of Kindred Minds, celebrating their strengths and achievements and presenting their model of good practice in engaging BME service users in effective user involvement.