Page 1

Issue 1, December 2016,

Headspace Raising awareness

TOP 10

Our ultimate, mental health-friendly CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE


OVERCOMING POSTPARTUM ANXIETY A worldwide famous blogger, Jill Krause shares her story

WELCOME TO JOHNNY’S HAPPY PLACE Tea, biscuits, hugs... and mental health

December’s contents

Editor’s letter By: Bruna Tomsic

Page 4: News & What’s on

A fitness coach Michelle Thompson works with Northampton Borough council on some exciting project called: Mood & Food...

Page 5: Top 10

Christmas gift ideas with a twist! These ones are designed to improve our mental health. Well, it’s worth a try!

Pages 6, 7: Initiative of the month

Welcome to Johnny’s Happy Place! A small coffee shop in Kettering that is helping people with mental health problems.

Page 8: Profession

Lesley Carvell is a mental health nurse at St. Andrews Health Care. She gave us some tips on how to tackle mental health problems!

Page 9: Life story

Jill Krause, a worldwide famous blogger and a soon-to-be mother of four, opens up about her postpartum anxiety and how did she get through it.

Pages 10,11:Students’ confessions

Overcoming mental health problems together.

Zagreb, Croatia, 1999

Hello You! Don’t get confused with this picture of me as a baby (I am a 20-yearold woman now, even though as a kid I was real a..hmm..let’s say a tomboy-hard core). I have this picture in my wallet and it reminds me of home. It always, always brings a smile to my face. They say home is where the heart is. But I would say I have two then. One in England and other in Croatia. So yeah, last year when I moved here to study was very tough, just because I had to start from scratch. Friends, University, new culture, and customs, different language... it’s easy to get lost. Decided to create this magazine for each and every one of you who ever felt like that or dealt with something more than feeling homesick. Mental health problems should be talked about more in order to raise awareness. I’ve just recently found a picture on Google saying that one in four of us will experience mental health problems during our lifetime. I spoke to loads of different people (shout out to the happiest coffee place in Kettering, Lesley Carvell, Michelle Thompson..) and they all had one thing in common- their passion for tackling this growing issue. They gave me tips on how they do it, don’t worry! We also have our happy list where you can find some gift ideas for Christmas, we’ve chosen it carefully and all of them are made to improve our mental health. Plenty of good stuff. Voilla! After all the editing, loads of coffee and huge under eye circles, here it is. The first issue of Headspace magazine. Before we start, can I just ask you to write 5 things that make you happy?

Cover girl: Stephanie Nixon, student from The Univeristy of Northampton All pictures are by Bruna Tomsic unless otherwise stated



What’s on?

Mood & Food project from Northampton Borough Council continues to help people affected by mental health problems A fitness coach, Michelle Thompson is working with the local council and preparing this project. She is doing a two hour session and giving people lots of advice on how to live a better life, highlighting the importance of a healthy diet.

The Mood & Food workshop happened on the seventh of December in the East Northampton and will continue in January as well. Date is yet to be confirmed.

Healthy lifestyle posters around the workshop. Source: Michelle Thompson

Michelle Thompson works with people in the local community through the council to teach them more about the benefits of activity to help their mental health issues. The participants were the same group of ten individuals (Learn 2B group) who, because of their mental health problems such as depression and anxiety have not eaten properly and may not have taken care of themselves properly or they may have over eaten. Some of them are obese, some very thin. The mood & food theme is one that came up before in other council sessions where candidates have asked for more information about how they can choose healthy diets. Especially if they are taking a medication that makes them drowsy. The medicine itself can suppress their appetite or make them eat more. Those people who came to our session in December are people who are really interested in helping themselves to make healthy choices. When preparing this event Michelle had to consider lots of things beforehand. The venue (which can't be named due to the attendees' anonymity), people coming along, the time that I had with them. She had to be careful when planing meals due to the fact that some of people may have allergies. Many of the candidates are on income support as well. Michelle had to be aware of the meaning behind the word healthy and what they can compromise with in relation to healthy eating. Healthy food

can be expensive because they have colour and are fresh. When these people will go to the supermarkets they have to be careful and check the prices. The fitness coach also included seasonal food in her menu. She had to find which fruit and vegetables are available for Christmas and look at the cheapest shops such as Lidl and Aldi. In this way, everyone will be able to afford it and still get the benefits of the diet and meals that she prepared for them. A lot of them came from different backgrounds so culture is also important factor to consider. That’s why she decided to make it a very broad and generic table and they trusted her when presenting because the main goal is to motivate them so that her words turn into their everyday practice. This Christmas workshop was very important because people get really low during December time, she adds. Some of them don’t want to eat and get into the festivities. She chose this theme to boost their spirit as a way of celebrating their individual success throughout the year with the other classes that they’ve been doing.

The main goal is to create a sense of lightness and seasonal happiness for people who are not feeling that happy because their mental health issues. She hopes they will be interested in the food choices and implement it with setting little targets just by making healthy changes.

DECEMBER 1-31 Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in men in the UK. You can help! GET IN TOUCH: call 020 7940 1769 or email Decembeard@bowelcanceruk.

DECEMBER 10 50th anniversary of the two International Covenants on Human Rights GET IN TOUCH: EN/NewsEvents/HRDay2015/Pages/ HRD2015.aspx

DECEMBER 16, STUDENTS’ UNION AVENUE CAMPUS, NORTHAMPTON (20:00-23:00) Come along to the Christmas Fundraiser party and raise awareness of mental health. GET IN TOUCH: tickets (James Anstee, 07548787110)

DECEMBER 25, PORTHCAWL, WALES Each year the Christmas Swim raises thousands for local charities and organisations. Become a swimmer or donate GET IN TOUCH: http://christmasswim. org

If this is something you would like to try, contact Northampton Borough Council (0300 330 7000) for further details, after talking to your GP.

DECEMBER 17-JANUARY 8 Raise funds and get sponsors for your walks, all for good cause. GET IN TOUCH: http://www. Source: awareness-days-calendar/


Top 10

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Our mental health-friendly gift list: Christmas is approaching. Even though Andy Williams believes “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”, to some of us it might be a very stressful period. Whatever you choose to do, let it lift your spirit. Don’t do things that will bring you down, low or make you feel sick (if you don’t like brussel sprouts, just say it!). With the help of our Headspace creative team we’ve come up with a few gift ideas which you can buy to yourself, treat a dear family member or a friend. They are all based on improving our mental health. It’s definitely worth a try!

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Initiative of the month

What’s so unique about Johnny’s Happy Place, a small coffee shop in Kettering? This creative weekend hub was set up only a year ago, in the memory of Johnny MacKay. It is helping everyone dealing with mental health problems and already has a huge positive impact around the community. Bruna Tomsic spent a day there with Johnny’s mum Denise.



his café for a great many people is a haven. Not only for people who go to work, have a lot of money and see it as a happy and jolly sort of place. It is also where a great many homeless people or people who live on benefits come in and have food since the food banks are closed on weekends. Not only that they get free food but they also get a big hug, they are greeted very warmly and they are welcomed with open arms. They find it a great place to come, some of them bring their families and children. Some of them read, do craft work, knitting… A total stranger will walk to the door but by the time they leave they would have made friends. Friendships develop here, very strong. Lovely, mutual, affection.

He cycled around Europe, up the East coast of England. We have a step ladder on the wall because he was a window cleaner and that’s been made into a book shelf. I later found out that he once came into an old lady’s house and cleaned all of her windows for free. When he first came in, the lady was very sad so he wanted to cheer her up. Johnny had a love for humanity.


Johnny MacKay committed suicide in 2014, in the age of 29 Source:’shappyplace

Later on in his twenties it became worse and worse. I know that he wanted to live, but when it came right before the end, he was talking a lot about the railway station. He had come to the conclusion that he could not afford the drugs, he could not keep taking them, but he knew that he could not stop taking them. This was his quick and easy way out. Not easy. That was the way that he chose. He didn’t want to put me through the anguish that we had experienced intensely during the last 12 months of his life.

“A bike on the wall is to simbolise Johnny’s love for cycling”


HOW DID IT ALL START AND WHO IS JOHNNY We didn’t know what we’re going to do when we started. We had no idea. We started in July 2015 and it took us few months to get everything sorted. The room that we’re now sitting in was multicoloured. It was pinks, purples, browns, yellows and it was awful! So we had a paint day in May and painted the whole place white. We had some wonderful help from local businesses with tiles, painting, we had a new counter and floor put in. We sourced our furniture from charity shops. Johnny loved Jackson Pollock (an American painter) so the tops of the tables are splashy painted. We put a bike up on the wall, even though sadly that’s not Johnny’s. His bike was stolen two weeks before he died. It was a bike to symbolise his love of cycling.

It’s because Johnny touched lives of many people. He inspired people to get out and do stuff. He inspired people to live a better life, which may be ironic considering to how he died, but that didn’t stop him from getting a great deal of joy and pleasure from life. He loved nothing more than to laugh, to cook for his friends. He had a natural “swagger” when he walked. He was in control of his life. Strangely enough, he didn’t actually suffer from mental health illness…ehm... He, in his teenage years, became heavily involved with drugs and alcohol.

He said to me: “I don’t know why I’m taking these drugs”, because he became extremely ill. We later discovered that this drug had been laced with a crystal that is given to ill fish in Japan.

Johnny’s mum Denise, behind a step ladder that Johnny used when he was a window cleaner. It is now turned into a book shelf and a source of inspiration for everyone.

We got him a lot of help throughout the years with psychiatrists in a private hospital, many doctors and during the summer of 2014, the year that he died, we got him into a private clinic in Bournemouth. He said to me: “Mummy this is my last chance.” We really felt that, from what we’ve seen and heard about those people there, that if anybody could help him, they could. After one week he came home. I think he knew then that nobody could sort him, he has to do it himself because those people were saying the same thing to lots of other people before him. He felt like it was tried. We lost him on the 23rd of October 2014.


JOHNNY’S TALENTS AND LEGACY During the whole of 2014 was writing a book. A beautiful book called Norman the Caterpillar. He was always talented for writing. Also, he was a chin balancer, which you can see on our logo. People would pay to see his performances. He could balance everything, even his bike!



I would say my strength comes from the support of people. They all come here and we have a lovely chat. Even though there are still times in a day where I get stomach pain and my muscles shrink, it’s when I remember that day when he died. I used to be afraid of death but now I’m not anymore. Johnny and I used to say that one day we will be like Peter Pan and Wendy-together for eternity. I still hear from his friends, I’ve known them since they were 11. They wrote a song about him which I believe you could find on You Tube.

To be honest, I wish that we win the lottery and have a big place where people can wash their clothes, eat as much as they want and sleep if they have nowhere to go. Every donation means a lot to us and if we got enough support, we could be able to hire a full time staff and be opened throughout the week.

Where can you find them? Keystone, 97 Rockingham Road, Kettering, Northants, NN16 9HX

You can buy the book for £ 6.99 online:

WENDY, VOLUNTEER “I was looking to do some voluntary work and I saw something on Facebook and they were appealing for food to help the homeless. Normally when I do my shopping I put a few extra bits in my basket and then I take it to the homeless people. I sent a message to Johnny’s Happy Place that, if ever they are short staffed they can give me a ring. Which they did! I am happy to help.” ABBEY, VOLUNTEER AND A FAMILY FRIEND “My sister in law is Charlotte, she is Johnny’s sister, so I am quite close to the family. I knew Johnny really well. I wanted to do something nice in his memory. Johnny was lots of fun, really creative and one of the kindest men you would meet.” DAVID “I’ve got special needs and I am a mental health patient. Meeting and talking to people here is good for me. It keeps me well. I enjoy coming here.”

For donations visit: http:// www.johnnyshappyplace. com/donate



“I did not intend to be a mental health nurse, but I have no regrets now.” Lesley Carvell is a mental health nurse from Northampton’s St.Andrews Health Care. ABOUT ST.ANDREWS: It is a charity and has been open since 1838. It is a purpose built establishment and one of the largest employers in the town. It is based the centre of Northampton but when it was built it was one the outskirts of the town. Today it accommodates over 400 patients. All patients are detained under the mental health act.



I have worked in the mental health sector for 22 years. To be honest, I did not intend to go into nursing but after working as a secretary in a general hospital I made a change in career after viewing the nursing role from a distance and somehow ended up in mental health. On reflection this was a good move and I have no regrets. I am a trained practitioner in mental health and have a BSc (HONS ). I also have a nurse qualification in Learning Disability. Additionally, I have a qualification in psycho-pharmacology. I also work as an examiner in the Competence Test Centre at the University of Northampton.

I like working with patients who are diagnosed with schizophrenia. It is very rewarding to see a patient move on to a less secure environment with potential to live a fulfilling life. I loved working with teenagers in a secure environment. I can see now some years later that they have moved on, back to their home town and got married with children. Unfortunately not all made it.

ABOUT HER JOB I started off as a staff nurse, and then became a deputy nurse manager. I was a nurse manager for approximately the last 12 years. I worked with male patients who were detained I worked on medium secure and low secure wards. My role was ensure that policies were adhered to along with managing a team of nurses (their annual leave, training and HR) and clinical team members. I was responsible for the patients, running of the ward and its budget. Managers were responsible for the environment, audits, referrals and discharges. Patients were assessed nationally. Once admitted managers were accountable for the patients care and treatment. Security of the ward was paramount, searching patients for contraband to promote overall safety. Additional to the ward, investigations and reports were conducted in other areas of the hospital.

THE MOST DIFFICULT PART The most difficult was working with patients diagnosed with Personality Disorder. Working with patients who are aggressive and require special management to maintain a safe environment.

SELF HELP ADVICE It is important for those who have a mental illness to try and regain some feeling of control in their own lives in order to move on. They should seek help with family (if they are not the reason/abuser), friends and also their GP. (Who can refer or prescribe medication if necessary ) people with mental health problems need to be listened to as to what helps them and what does not. They need to be given the opportunities to make choices and decisions in order to start regaining some control /confidence over their own lives. They may need reassurance and encouragement with a view to them feeling valued. The listener should hear and validate concerns wherever possible in a non patronising way. A person with mental illness can feel hurt, pain, frustration, anger, just like anyone else.

Deal with one thing at a time! Do not over load! Get exercise, a hobby to distract from thoughts. Focus on solutions and positive aspects. Do not get frustrated, recognition of progress and small steps is essential. St Andrews Health Care Address: Cliftonville House, Cliftonville Road, Northampton, NN1 5DG Contact: 01604 616 000


Life story

S : Jill rce ou

(postpartum anxiety)


My battle with PPA Jill Krause is a famous blogger ( and a soon-to-be mother of four, from Dallas, USA. Vogue listed her as one of eight people to follow in your 30s. She opened up to us about parenting, work and overcoming PPA.



For me, PPA is racing thoughts, inability to focus while also replaying the same obsessions and worries over and over in my head. It was also intrusive thoughts and vivid visions or myself and loved ones dying in terrible ways. It kept me from wanting to leave the house, made me cancel appointments and obligations.

Back in 2007, when I first started blogging, it was simply to do so anonymously, to have a place to get some thoughts out of my head about getting pregnant and having my first baby. I had no idea it would lead me to the amazing support I have online now.

THE FIRST TIME I think I likely experienced it the first time when I was 27, after I had my first baby, though I didn’t recognize it was that at the time. I would tell my younger self to reach out for help, for sure, and that what I was feeling weren’t signs of me being a bad mother. I certainly don’t think there’s enough support for moms with mental health problems, especially if those moms don’t know where to go to find the help in the first place.

WORK AND LIFE BALANCE I don’t really stay organized, honestly. That’s always a struggle. I think I do it just like any other working parent. I just get up and each day and do what I can, and I try to be better the next day. I’ve learned to embrace the power of saying no, and to value my time. Those two things have helped a lot with my work/life balance.

Her blog posts are filled with funny, brutally honest, parenting stories. She called this one: “We’re going to have a lot of (expensive) kids, can Aldi help?”

OVERCOMING PPA I’m fully expecting for it to hit me hard againafter I have my 4th baby in a couple weeks. I do, however, know how to manage it now, and I have a great support network ready and waiting to help me get through it. I know the symptoms to look for, and I know that I can make it through the worst because I have before. To moms expecting their first child, I’d say embrace imperfection and failure early. Don’t fight change. In fact, allowing yourself to change almost constantly is what’s going to get you through this with some sanity intact.


Jill with her family, she will soon give birth to another boySource:

According to the Centre for Mental Health, up to 20% of women in the UK develop a mental illness during pregnancy or within the first year after having a baby. (speak up and call your doctor if you feel like this statistic affects you, don't ignore it) If you have any story or advice to share, join our Facebook page called Headspace magazine and drop us a text


Students’ confessions

How to overcome a mental health problem? St


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Emma Pea co


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Nixon anie h ep

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No judgements, no fear, no stigma. We gathered some stories from our Facebook page called Headspace magazine. One thing that we noticed is that there were number of female students who openly talked about mental health problems, more than guys (shout out to the brave Rob Ambidge).

Pictures source: Facebook

Source: a study undertaken by the Priory Group


Rob Ambidge Studying: Photography Age: 30


have got both depression and anxiety as side effects from living with Aspergers syndrome (of which I was only diagnosed aged 25). So I’ve experienced varying degrees of both over the years depending on how my life was going at the time. Personally, for me, my aspergers has given me quite an interesting sense of humour, and that has often helped me cope. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll ever truly be depression/anxiety free. But taking control of my own health has been one of the most important steps to make things better. Especially when a lot of the health workers I saw didn’t seem interested, or even knowledgeable enough to help. So even when I felt I was getting nowhere with the NHS, I kept fighting until I found someone who “clicked” with me. My GP that I have now, has been crucial and has never given up on me.

Laugh often, even if it’s something you wouldn’t normally consider laughing about. If it boosts your mood, it is a positive step. In short, I’d say that identifying and taking control is the first step, and then stick at it, even if you feel you’re getting nowhere fast. It takes time. It is definitely something we need to talk about more. To highlight that it is OK to admit that we all sometimes need help. No one ever gets through life without help from someone else. Ever. And it is more important during our dark times to be able to open up without fear of judgement. As that fear can often make it worse. Once people stop trivialising the seriousness of these illnesses (the Internet has almost made mental health issues seem like something fashionable, or hilarious to laugh at) then that will be a great big step to making it easier for people to release the stigma and be more comfortable seeking the help. Ria Jain Studying: Marketing Management Age: 19


do feel sometime, that I am undergoing depression or something and it’s weird when you can’t figure out why you’re reacting a certain way which you normally don’t. I believe surrounding yourself with things that make you happy is a way to overcome it. However, its very important to know the reason behind it so one can act towards it. There should be like this social thing or something where randomly people could share their issues without being judged.

Emma Peacock Studying: Occupational therapy Age: 20


y main advice on how to overcome a mental health problem would be to talk about it. If you keep it to yourself it is impossible for anyone to help you, since they don’t know. It would encourage you to seek help and accept the help offered to you, even if you feel you don’t want it. Look after yourself and talk, talk and talk, I guarantee you can get through it, but the road might be slightly rocky, but I assure you, everything will be okay. I have experienced a mental health problem, and struggled with it for many years. I have bipolar disorder and this has led to me spending a significant amount of time in hospital. It was a difficult time, but I have now happily overcome it. Many things along the way made it harder for me to overcome it. The loss of significant others made this that much more challenging, but with the help of others, I can happily say I’m an now alright.

Speak out, help others speak out and stand by your friends and family. Just being there for someone, making them a cup of tea, spending time with them, or simply smiling at someone can make a significant difference.

The little things people do for you can make you feel valued and realise that yes, people do care about you. Mental health is a serious subject, we need to end the stigma and discrimination! Stephanie Nixon Studying: International Criminal Law and Security Age: 22


was diagnosed with severe depression on 17th May, 2016 at 3:20pm. I have experienced terrible anxiety also, which still fluctuates now and again. However, the depression is still bad. I have had to really push myself to overcome it. The simplest of tasks suddenly seem impossible, i.e. shopping, writing an essay, etc. Combined with anxiety is crippling and can have a detrimental impact on university studies.

Not only did it make me having to push myself to complete the simplest of tasks, but I had to find ways of giving myself peace of mind. I now love listening to Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now” which I recommend for anyone with depression, or people who struggle with mental health, as it really helped me, and was recommended to me by a friend who also suffers from depression. I also do much more artwork, and have combined the ‘Jar of Positive Thoughts’ idea with some artwork which makes me feel better when I look at it.

Stephanie recommends making a “Jar of positive thoughts” to everyone dealing with a mental health problem I feel that people should talk about it more, because of how common it is. We need to tackle the stigmas associated with mental health and raise awareness of it more. Rebecca Chapman Studying: English with Film and Screen studies Age: 19


had depression, especially when going through A levels, I also used to suffer a bit from anxiety but it was only mild.

My advice is to surround yourself with people who love you, go out and do the things you love. For example I used to pay and attend things such as Comic con etc, also if you’re having a bad day then it’s ok, like if you need to take time to yourself then do it. In regards to anxiety just try and start of small and attempt to face it straight on, then build it up. There is such a stigma with mental health. I think in order to make a change we need to start re-assuring people that it is ok to seek help and no one is going to look down on you for it, that way people won't be struggling with it in secret.

Speak up! Share your story with us and raise awareness.


Headspace magazine  

Raising awareness of mental health problems, giving advice on how to overcome them.

Headspace magazine  

Raising awareness of mental health problems, giving advice on how to overcome them.