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A drop in the ocean: Daniel Regan

‘Bedlam: the asylum and beyond’ interrogates the original ideal that the asylum represented – a place of refuge, sanctuary and care – and asks whether and how it could be reclaimed. This blog series intends to showcase as many different voices and perspectives from people with lived experience of mental ill health and explore their ideas of personal asylum.

This post is from Daniel Regan, a photographer who showed work in Bethlem Gallery’s ‘Reclaiming Asylum’ exhibition late last year.

I began feeling that something wasn’t quite right in my early teens. Looking back on it now I remember thinking that my thoughts seemed jumbled, tangled and different from my peers. My emotional experiences were felt so deeply; my responses were not the same as those around me at that age. As I got further into my teens, I withdrew into myself and began to self-harm. I could never quite figure out how to make sense of the chaos in my mind, but then I discovered photography, which helped me begin to express the brief moments of clarity. Continue reading

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How cultural contexts can shape mental illness

‘Bedlam: the asylum and beyond’ is now in its final weeks, closing on 15 January. The exhibition traces the rise and fall of the mental asylum and how it has shaped the complex landscape of mental health today. For this post we adjust our focus as Sarah Jellenc takes a more global view of mental health. 

As a student of literature, I’ve spent a lot of time studying cultural narratives – the stories we tell ourselves in order to make sense of our reality. Browsing through the Hearing Voices Café newspapers at Wellcome Collection’s ‘Bedlam’ exhibition the other day got me thinking: what bearing might cultural narratives surrounding mental illness have on an individual’s expression and experience of psychopathology? Continue reading

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A drop in the ocean: Sarah Carpenter

‘Bedlam: the asylum and beyond’ interrogates the original ideal that the asylum represented – a place of refuge, sanctuary and care – and asks whether and how it could be reclaimed. This blog series intends to showcase as many different voices and perspectives from people with lived experience of mental ill health and explore their ideas of personal asylum.

This post is from Sarah Carpenter, an artist who showed work in Bethlem Gallery’s ‘Reclaiming Asylum’ exhibition earlier this year.

Having suffered for many years with depression, anxiety and eating disorders, I have found refuge in my art and cannot begin to explain how much it means to me to be able to produce my work.

Having spent a long time with so many things on my mind, my recovery has cleared space in my mind and life for more creativity. I now use art to proactively utilise my energy and in turn keep up the momentum of my recovery. It allows “me time” to do something that I enjoy and am passionate about as a way of self-soothing. Continue reading

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A drop in the ocean: Suzanne Morris

‘Bedlam: the asylum and beyond’ interrogates the original ideal that the asylum represented – a place of refuge, sanctuary and care – and asks whether and how it could be reclaimed. This blog series intends to showcase as many different voices and perspectives from people with lived experience of mental ill health and explore their ideas of personal asylum.

This post is from Suzanne Morris, a writer involved in Core Arts.

Hi, my name is Suzanne and I am someone who suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder, anxiety and other delightful things. I am in therapy at the moment pretending to be “normal”. I also go to Core Arts.

I was diagnosed with clinical depression back in the eighties after a break down. I did a stint at the Junction at Homerton Hospital when it was part of the old Hackney Hospital; afterwards I was put on a waiting list to have psychotherapy. There was a terrible lack of therapists and, sadly, you just had to wait your turn. This often meant you waited years! Continue reading

Sick City: Mental health

 

Mental health. Wellcome Images

Mental health. Wellcome Images

 

Tonight, Wellcome Collection presents Sick City, a balloon debate in which the audience decides public health priorities for London. Four speakers each propose a problem which they think demands our resources and attention. This week on the Wellcome Collection blog, we present a brief introduction to each speaker’s priority. Join the debate using the comments below, or come to the event to help make the decision.

Paul Farmer will put the case for mental health as London’s most urgent health challenge.

Quite simply, mental health is the greatest public health issue facing London, yet it is one of the most ignored.

The facts are clear:

  • One in four Londoners experience mental health problems;
  • The World Health Organisation identifies depression as a growing mental health issue, becoming the biggest issue by 2020;
  • 90% of people who have a mental health problem experience stigma and discrimination as a result;
  • The recession has had a major impact on our mental health, with a steep increase in the prescription of antidepressants.

We need to act on this quickly. It does not have to be like this.

What can we do:

  • Public education campaigns to tackle stigma and discrimination are already having an impact, but more needs to be done;
  • We can and should treat our mental health in the same way as we treat our physical health – with preventative approaches;
  • Timely access to effective services, such as talking treatments, provides effective help and further destigmatises mental issues.

Paul Farmer has been Chief Executive of Mind, the leading mental health charity working in England and Wales since May 2006. He was a co-author of Realising Ambitions, an independent review for the Department for Work and Pensions  (DWP). He is a member of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) Programme Board, Care Quality Commission (CQC) Mental Health Board and Chair of the Disability Charities Consortium. He is also a member of the Centre for Social Justice Mental Health Inquiry.Before becoming Chief Executive of Mind, Paul was Director of Public Affairs for Rethink and was Chair of the Mental Health Alliance from 2001-06.