What a journey it’s been putting together Dr Hills’ Casebook. Here is an insight into the collaboration process, with exclusive behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the participants involved. A special thank you to Julian Claxton for putting this wonderful piece together.
What makes ‘Dr Hills’ Casebook’ such a moving narrative is the collection of real experiences from the patients of the Norfolk County Asylum. The characters are brought to life by the dedicated research of the participants paired with the remarkable story-telling of the UpShoot Theatre Company, as we get to experience what living in the Victorian asylum was truly like. The play reflects on mental health today through the lens of Dr Hills’ practice. Using history and theatre, it tackles vital issues about the quality of care available to people now, as demand grows and services retreat.
A Q & A at the end of performances is a chance to hear from participants about their experience of co-creation, from writer Belona Greenwood, director Laila France and lead researcher Richard Johnson. Other members of the project team, including Norfolk County Archivist Gary Tuson and the Restoration Trust’s Director Laura Drysdale will be on hand to answer questions about Change Minds.
To book your free tickets for the upcoming screening of ‘Dr Hills’ Casebook,’ please click here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/dr-hills-casebook-film-screening-tickets-153000206737
The “life-saving” 2018 ‘Reading Well for mental health’ titles by The Reading Agency and Society of Chief Librarians were announced today at a flagship event at the Wellcome Trust (5 June). Each title will offer invaluable support to people with mental health needs and their carers, who are at increased risk of loneliness according to recent research.
2018’s powerful book list, which will help people read well to stay well, is penned by bestselling and highly-regarded authors including Matt Haig (How to Stay Alive); Cathy Rentzenbrink (A Manual for Heartache); Sathnam Sanghera (The Boy with the Topknot); Ruby Wax (A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled) and many more. The expert-endorsed reads can be borrowed for free from any Norfolk library – if the book isn’t available, a free reservation will be placed to order the book in to the library.
The website for our Burgh Castle Almanac project is now up and running. We’ll be posting blog updates from participants as well as photos, videos and artwork from the group’s fortnightly sessions.
Photo by Tod Sullivan
Thanks to Beth Brunton for this great blog post about our Change Minds project on the National Archives blog.
The benefits to the participants have been significant. Feedback shows that the chance to meet people, and to feel connected to new people in both the past and the present has been transformative. It has opened up new interests, new confidence in skills and talents, and even paths to volunteering.
Culture therapy at Burgh Castle and Time and Tide Museum
by Jeannette Beynon
I came across Culture Therapy when doing an online Genealogy course which helped me look into more of my family history My father went into hospital during WW2 while in the RAF after having a tooth out and experiencing neuralgia. While investigating this I found out about another hospital in Edinburgh, the Craiglockhart Hospital in WW1 for traumatised military personnel. Their treatment was changed from very strict discipline that disregarded any sort of illness in 1916 because it just didn’t help the traumatised men. A more therapeutic approach encouraged the men to get back into everyday life, and they were supported into a type of work experience, helping out on farms and even in schools. Coincidentally this was called Culture Therapy in 1916.
Our Burgh Castle Almanac project is helping us to visit places of historical interest and to look into the history of our area. The project includes us using art forms to record our experiences and perceptions when we go to Burgh Castle Roman Fort. This session we were at Time and Tide Museum in Great Yarmouth, with artist Ian Brownlie.
Manipulating our photographs with the gimp2 software is both challenging for me (being older and not brought up with technology) and exciting. A few years ago I made an animation of one of my own short stories about my cat in a media class, and today will help me return to doing more photography and art, which I’ve enjoyed since school.
Looking round Time & Tide Museum today was brilliant. Museums are so much more hands-on and interesting now than I remember them being back in the 1950s. It was fascinating to hear Malcolm’s experiences of working on the herring boats and his travels all over the world back in the 1960s and 70s. He knew exactly what the fishing relics were at the museum and had even owned some of them himself. Others in the group have so much knowledge of the area too and they gave personal social accounts of the history of Great Yarmouth. Adrian talked about developing his interest in archaeology when young and finding artefacts which he didn’t realise then could have been quite valuable. Other members spoke of their expertise in photography and different art forms and their different ideas and personal stories of the
The best part for me of the Time and Tide Museum was going down the reconstructed lane of 1900 in Great Yarmouth. The tiny houses with all the different occupants, the chemist shop, the sail maker, the more affluent home, the child’s room with the mother and child in it; so many different types of houses, so closely packed together. It gave me a glimpse into their world in the 1900’s and the close sense of community there must have been.
My added interest included taking along today my father’s photos of his “house parties” in Great Yarmouth in 1927, when he and “the gang” from London went on holiday there.
My own first holiday photos were of Great Yarmouth in June 1947 when I was a baby. I’m playing on the beach with my 2 older siblings and we are wearing out our poor parents with our excitement of being at the seaside, as children do.
I look forward to getting back into my art and photography and creating my own record of this area which will include the history right up to the present day. Many thanks for including me on this really interesting project.
Photos by Andrew Farrell, Project Officer, Water, Mills and Marshes
The Restoration Trust features in Museums as Spaces for Wellbeing: A Second Report from the National Alliance for Museums, Health and Wellbeing which explores the development of museums, health and wellbeing work in the UK.
Our Human Henge project features as a case study in the report.
Photo © The Landmark Trust, 2018
Thanks to the Landmark Trust‘s 50 for Free scheme, we’ve been given New Inn as our home from home.
This two-day event at New Inn will be our first ever Participants Council, an opportunity for people from all our projects to share stories and ideas, and make decisions about our strategy.
The cost of transport is the biggest block to people joining our projects, adding to loneliness and worsening mental health. Members of our Participants Council are all on low income and are travelling from rural Norfolk, Suffolk and Wiltshire.
This will be a great way to create something special, stay in a fabulous historic building, meet old friends and make new ones.
Help make it an experience to remember!
By Mr BPD, our blogger for Human Henge at Stonehenge in 2017
I have started to write this several times and I have come to realise that I really hate self-promotion. Although this is more about how I got here than slapping myself on the back. but I am very happy and proud of how far I have come and what I hope to achieve.
My story starts in 1971 the year I was born, and one day I plan to write it; but this is about is about life after Human Henge, so lets start my story when I arrived in Wiltshire.
I realised after moving to Trowbridge that mental health service were much worse that the tiny village of Sherborn. Services were limited or miles away and I knew that something was needed and from my experience of mental health services I new that it had to be service user led and on going.
I had tried to set to things with up with mental health agencies. I found that not that they were resistant it was more an issues of resources or they were more interested in services that providing projects that were more geared either to returning to work or what I refer to as basket weaving (project are run for limited time offering no real structure).
I never gave up on the idea of starting something but although I had asked for help I could not get the support I needed. Time had moved on some, and well I really had become isolated and needed something to give a reason to leave the house and interact with other human beings.
Luckily the Human Henge Project came along which gave me a chance to rekindle a few skills, it allowed me to write under the name Mr BPD and reconnect to my spiritual side. After the project ended, which is always a sad part, the group stand together and in touch and meet up regularly.
This connection is the most important part of any project and it only comes when service users invest in a project. I had mentioned about setting up a sort of project based around a magazine and the feedback was good and lots of people were interested but sadly the service provided only wanted a basic writing group that I could see would just become a basket weaving group so declined the offer to run it as I did not have the skills I believed to make the project a success.
After a change in care coordinator who had different knowledge I was introduced to the person in charge of service user involvement.
After a few conversations it was very clear that we both wanted the same thing, a user led project that would grow into the service that is needed. I had been let down a few times so did not let myself get too invested.
Just before Christmas we met once again to talk about a venue and thought about Tesco Community Room so we made some enquiries, we found out that we met the requirements to use the room but the person in charge of the diary was not available and would not be back till the New Year so we left our details and waited for a call.
On the 11th January I got a call. Tesco had called they had a cancellation and they had a four-hour slot on Monday and could we meet on the 12th outside Tesco.
We met and agreed we would go for it four-hours on a Monday we walked and met with the person in charge of the room. Within minutes we had agreed to take the room on the coming Monday and on a long-term basis and came up with the name Trowbridge Users Group (TUG).
We then went off for a coffee and realised what we had just agreed to: it was lunchtime Friday and the first group would be on Monday. There was no time to get the word out but we would try.
So I rushed home to get the word out and by Saturday morning TUG had a functioning website, FaceBook page, Twitter account. The rest of the weekend was propagating content and making posters. And trying to put together a mission statement and a framework of ideas of how the group would run and how service users could be actively involved.
We had agreed to starting group as a coffee and chat drop-in and let the group grow organically after finding out what people wanted. I thought it would be good to involve as many service providers as possible, not to run the group but to come in as guest speakers and say what they do and how they can help and how to access the service. This way service users could take a more active roll in their recovery. We all know that the mental health service across this country has been starved of resources and staff are under a deal of great stress and many service users are not informed about services available so by inviting service providers users can take a proactive role in their recovery.
Trowbridge Users Group (TUG) has one main aim, which is to involve as many service users as possible and become a voice for change within mental health. We are actively encouraging service users to get involved in planning events and running on line service as FaceBook and Twitter Admin and as blog writers. We hope in time to have service users sharing their skills and business ideas and act as mentors to others. The possibilities for this project are endless and one day I hope it becomes the gold standard for service user involvement and will shape mental health services so they are more service user led.
Things are still in their early days but we have booked the Restoration Trust, Health Watch Wiltshire, and The Wiltshire and Swindon Users’ Network to come in and talk and explain what they do, in time I will be inviting more. And if you’re reading this and feel you have something to offer the mental health service user of Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (AWP) I would love to hear from you.
I will not devalue the work I have put and will put into Trowbridge Users Group (TUG) but I will say if it was not for the confidence and friends I gained from Human Henge I’m not sure I would have had the guts to push forward. They are a constant source of support and encouragement and have assisted in the launch of the Trowbridge Users Group (TUG) with help proofreading content and joining and sharing the TUG FaceBook page and retweeting news.
If you would like to more about Trowbridge Users Group (TUG) please visit
Trowbridge Users Group (TUG) runs every Monday 1 to 5 at the community room, Tesco Extra