September 24, 2014

Toynbee Hall photoDele is a volunteer for the Moving Pictures project. The Moving Pictures project is a Time to Change grant-funded project that brings together mental health service users and older people to explore issues related to mental health problems and stigma. Volunteers carry out regular visits to day centres, community centres and communal lounges in sheltered housing. In addition, the team is creating 4 short films on the theme of old movies. These 'moving pictures' will prompt discussion and conversation about mental health at screenings across East London.

My story

I got involved in the project because I want society to have a better understanding of the harrowing journey of mental ill health, and to speak out about my diagnosis. I want to be part of the eradication of the stigmatisation and discrimination of mental health. I am also interested in using the medium of art and creativity to educate and highlight the challenges faced by individuals with a mental health diagnosis.

I hope that these films will create a better social awareness of the impact of negative attitudes towards mental health

With the Moving Pictures project I talk with elders and sufferers of mental ill health about their awareness of mental health and the stigma and discrimination associated with it. I'm also involved in the film-making side of the project, from script writing, acting, directing, photography and co-ordination. I hope that these films will create a better social awareness of the impact of negative attitudes towards mental health.

I am now better able to educate and support others to understand this issue

The project is having a great impact on my self confidence. It's also increased my own awareness of the stigma attached to mental health and as a result I am better able to educate and support others to understand this issue.

From my experience of volunteering on the project I have found that the older people are very empathetic and understanding of mental health, and are very willing to talk openly about this issue. Some have family members who have gone through a mental health diagnosis, and as such, are willing to share experiences and are open to using artistic mediums to explore the stigma and discrimination attached to mental health within our society.

The change in people's understanding of mental health is evident in the manner in which the elderly are keen to talk about the subject and their enthusiasm to understand a mental health diagnosis.

I have been able to speak about my diagnosis and get positive feedback from people

I have gained a tremendous level of confidence, awareness and support towards understanding my diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia, living with the medication, the side effects and relapses, and understanding the level of support available in times of darkness.

I have been able to network with people from diverse walks of life, spoken about my diagnosis, got positive feedback from individuals within the mental ill health sector, written and created pieces of literature and film around stigmatisation and discrimination and also been able to express the dream of a future with a better understanding of mental health.

I'll continue to create works of art and initiate crucial debates around stigma within mental health

From this point onwards, I’ll continue to express interest in mental health, create more works of art, pieces of literature and initiate crucial debates around stigmatisation and recovery within mental health. I will also continue to stand up for the promotion of the uniqueness and beauty within mental health by producing educational and uplifting literature that will express positivity within the mental health sector.

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Too many people are made to feel ashamed. By sharing your story, you can help spread knowledge and perspective about mental illness that could change the way people think about it.