One of the things I do professionally for is to develop training courses and give technical presentations to a wide range of organisations. We coupled this with the stage presence of Ross (who is a born entertainer – lead roles in school plays, band front-man, stand-up comedy etc) and the unique material we have available (videos and recordings made while he was psychotic, music and songs). It seemed natural to develop shows and presentations to try to eliminate some of the stigma associated with mental health problems, to try to help people come to terms with the issues and to try to improve services. The feedback so far has been incredibly rewarding – so we can take something positive from the whole experience. I’d also like to pay tribute to Ross’ courage in allowing his experiences to be made public in a very personal and graphic form.
“Thank you for the fantastic presentation at the conference last Friday . It was really well received, particularly your session in the morning. Please extend this thanks to your incredibly talented sons …”
Dr Gwen Bonner: Acute Care Conference:
Berkshire; June 2010
Anti-Stigma Show for Schools
Ross and I developed a live, hour long anti-mental health stigma multi-media show for 6th formers. This thought provoking mixture of personal experience from both sides (family and sufferer), music, video, humour and participatory exercises has proved to be very effective. It challenges pre-conceptions about mental illness (psychosis in particular) using entertaining and interactive techniques that contrast with the factual information and graphic illustrations of the effects and experience of psychosis.
Does it work?
Based on feedback from 6th formers and teachers, it has proved to be highly effective. The impact on the audience has changed attitudes and minds, leaving a lasting legacy of images, ideas and information that they are unlikely to forget. Personally, one of the most satisfying results is the the contrast between the initial exercise listing their associations with mental illness (words such as violence, madness, scary, murder, fear..) and the repeat at the end where the associations had changed to sympathy, loneliness, illness, sadness…
Effects of marijuana on some people
Just how lucky do you feel?
Prevalence of mental health problems in the population
How many of you , your family and friends are likely to suffer?
Symptoms and illustrations of what it is like to experience them
Understanding and empathy; getting help and recovery…
Conferences / Workshops
Presentations for mental health service professionals, educational and carer groups. I’ve been asked to present versions to aid getting finance, to give an insight into the reality of living with psychosis (using highly emotional content), to bring carer groups out of themselves, to provide a positive story about recovery and anti-stigma (jointly with a clinical psychologist)…
More Information and Developments
Contact me if you would like further information on any of the above or on any of the material – or if you feel that the material would be useful for other projects.
We’d also like to put together a concept album to make use of all the music to publicise mental health issues in a positive way. So if you have any suggestions, ideas or contacts….
“…a big ‘thank you’ for your presentation last Friday. I had some great feedback from people. It was a powerful message and well received. You might be interested to know that the Director of Operations, who is responsible for reviewing the EI service (along with everything else!), was very impressed by the morning presentations and told me he was ‘convinced’ by the message..”
Early Intervention Conference: 2009
“.Peter…gave an awe inspiring account of the effects of having a son who has experienced psychosis”.
Jeanette Partridge article
Guideposts Family Carer Consultant
“..really glad someone’s been brave enough to stand up and tell people what it is like….”
“..you’ve reminded me of things I’d forgotten, things I should have remembered, things I need to remember to keep a sense of perspective…”
“..at the start, no-one was talking to each other. Now everyone is sharing their experiences. It’s as though you’ve given them permission…”
“..thank you for sharing that, you’re very brave admitting these things in public…”
Carer Workshop: Warwickshire: April 2010