Supporting local groups to speak out against mental health discrimination.
The Open Up Initiatives scheme offers support, mentoring, training and help with expenses to people with experience of mental distress who want to challenge discrimination in their local area. We supported 16 projects from 2009-2010 - two in each region.
In February 2010, London-based magazine One in Four held a conference called 'Talking About Mental Health – Getting it Right'. Speakers included Alastair Campbell, and journalists and representatives from the BBC and the Directory of Social Change. Discussions focused on how to work with the media to get positive and constructive representations of mental health in the news. The event was well-attended and representatives from several Open Up initiatives from around the country turned up on the day to support their colleagues too.
You've Got Talent!
Workshops for vulnerable children aged 7-12, facilitated by a group of young adults and arts practitioners who have experienced mental distress. The music, video and drama sessions will provide a friendly and creative space through which these children will work towards putting on 3 performances and developing a film. The programme will help the participants to express themselves and show that people with experience of mental distress can be strong role models for young children.
A fringe theatre review show featuring comedy sketches, monologues and film clips. The review will draw from examples of human rights abuses across history to address the media stereotyping of people with mental health problems as lazy. It will ask the audience to question its definition of mental distress, reminding them that many people experience mental ill-health without realising what it is they are going through. It will hopefully be performed at Brighton Fringe Festival in May 2010.
West Sussex Peer Support
Focus groups to be held across West Sussex for people with a diagnosis of personality disorder. These groups will empower people with this diagnosis to consider how they can use their talents and personal resources to support each other. Participants will explore how they can come together regularly for and build networks across West Sussex, which will allow them to support each other in a self-sufficient way without being so dependent on services.
Tea and Talk
A series of informal and friendly workshops in which people share their mental health experiences. In the workshops, people who have had diagnosis of mental health problems will talk to those who have not, and the whole group will explore their perception of their own mental health and their perception of the mental health of others. They will be encouraged to think about their values and beliefs in a warm and imaginative environment.
A thought-provoking short film about a day in the life of someone experiencing depression. The film will be screened at discussion groups to raise awareness about the reality of mental distress and reduce the perceived fear of people with mental health problems. It will highlight the discrimination faced by people with experience of mental distress, and in the groups the audience will be encourage to discuss the effects of mental health prejudice, using the film as a guide.
A peer support group run by and for women with experience of post-natal depression. The group will train women to become "befrienders", to support others in similar situations. They will encourage members to share their stories verbally and using art and craft, to raise awareness and break down prejudice within their families and the wider community about this often misunderstood condition.
The "Road to Recovery Show" - to be taken around the West Midlands in Summer 2010. The roadshow aims to challenge assumptions about mental health labels and question the idea that the world is divided into people with mental health problems and people who are "normal". It will feature interactive areas, where the group will film conversations with the public to record different attitudes about mental health.
High Peak Writers - The Last Laugh
A creative writing group whose play, The Last Laugh, draws on its members' real-life experiences of mental distress to dispel popular myths surrounding psychosis, schizophrenia and recovery. Open Up will be supporting the group to record their play for online broadcast and promote it widely across the region. Excerpts from the play will also be broadcast on local radio.
Roads to Recovery
A series of 10 short films produced by a group of young people aged 18 - 35 who have experienced psychosis and other serious mental health problems. The films will last between 30 - 60 seconds each and will highlight both the difficulties of recovery from psychosis and other forms of mental distress, and challenge the misconceptions that surround these conditions. They will be broadcast via Youtube, Facebook, and the Roads to Recovery website.
Open Up Berwick
A group producing visual and performance art for local community events. The art works will be designed to challenge prejudice around mental health and will be displayed with written information about mental health issues. Volunteers from the group will run a stand alongside the exhibition to give the wider community the chance to talk to them about their mental health experiences.
4 case studies produced by and about people who have experienced mental health discrimination, which will show how service users make a positive contribution to society. These case studies will be fed to a range of local media, including newspapers, radio and regional TV stations. Aim is an anti-discrimination charity and Launchpad campaign for improvements to mental health services. Members of these two Newcastle-based groups will come together to develop the studies and distribute them locally. Their aim is to challenge public preconceptions about people with mental health issues.
Lesbian Community Project
A social and support group through which lesbian and bisexual women with experience of mental distress can meet others in a similar situation. The group will create a mental health awareness workshop which will particularly look at issues faced by women from the LGBT community. Over the coming year the group will produce leaflets and will use these guidelines, along with the workshop, to educate other mental health organisations who may not be aware of the specific needs facing gay service users.
A service user/survivor led event for people across the North West region. The event will involve a day of workshops in which participants will be encouraged to think about the discrimination they face and the ways in which they might stigmatise themselves. Through sharing examples of prejudice and considering possible ways of challenging it, people with lived experience of mental distress will support each other to take positive action against discrimination. Participants will then go on to form a network so they can continue to support each other after the event.
Young People in Mind
A group of young people working together to create an illustrated book about their mental health experiences. The book will contain pictures and photographs produced by the group and images that inspire them, accompanied by written pieces and poems explaining what the pictures mean to them. Each page in the book will also contain information about where to seek support. The group will also go into local schools to raise awareness about mental health and will film the development of the project.
A short animated film telling the life story of someone with a mental health condition. The film will be around 3 - 5 minutes long and aim to contradict negative stereotypes about mental health that are put across in the media. When it is finished, the animation will be distributed to local companies, festivals and T.V. stations, where it can be shown to promote public awareness.
Open Up is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and is part of Time to Change.
You might also like…
Related Blog Posts
Getting mental health support at work made all the difference to me
When David became ill with depression and anxiety, it was the support from his boss at a large City law firm that had the biggest impact.
The importance of information
Today Thomas blogs for us about the importance of good quality legal information and why he feels it would have made a difference for him.
Jules blogs for us about her experience of being discharged from hospital to appalling homeless shelter conditions. She also shares a personal victory she has achieved in campaigning for change.
- More blog posts