Page 1

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING

#mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 1


WELCOME. Our Safe Space Policy. Shades of Noir is committed to providing an inclusive and supportive space for all attendees at our events. SoN believes all guests should be free from intimidation or harassment, resulting from prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of age, disability, marital or maternity/paternity status, race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, trans status, socio-economic status, or ideology or culture, or any other form of distinction.

Disability Access Needs? Please do let us know if you have any disability access needs e.g. do you use British sign language, have difficulty using stairs, or need us to allow space for a guide dog? Let us know asap so we can do our best to accommodate you!

Social Media. Throughout the event, please tweet, instagram, facebook as much or as little as you like. We will be using the hashtags; #mentalhealth and #sonevents.

2 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


A Note From The Lead. “What does well-being look like for young ethnic minorities in the creative world? How do we go about approaching mental health issues, self-care and well-being in ways that are intersectional? The burdens we carry, the emotional trauma that we have been through and our daily pressures vary in intensity from person to person - we all have different forms of healing and therapy that need to take place in our lives. Once we become aware, where do we go from this point? Normalising the language associated with mental health is one thing; it equips those who have felt alienated or confused by their mental health, with the tools to articulate how they feel and take the first step towards seeking help. Talking about the importance of self-care is also one thing; it teaches us the significance of putting ourselves first. It teaches us that balance is key. As artists and practitioners we gives so much of ourselves on a daily basis, we must become familiar with restoring that energy. What does it actually mean to actually put in place, this language we have become so well versed in? What are the practical methods of healing accessible to us? How do we tackle the issues around the lack of accessibility of mental care, as well as the lack of representation of marginalised communities in the well-being industry? What we want is to not keep walking in circles, and to continuously progress towards the healthiest versions of ourselves.� - Charisse Chikwiri #mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 3


KEY QUESTIONS. 1.

How does historical adversity impact the mental health of people of colour?

2. What effect does the continued use of negative stereotypes and racism have on the mental health of people of colour living in the UK? 3. What percentage of people working in mental healthcare are of colour and have the authority to diagnose mental health conditions. How does this impact the diagnosis of people of colour? 4. How do we combat the stigma that exists in society regarding having a mental health condition? 5. Given that racism exists, is it acceptable to advise people of colour to disclose information about their mental health within the workplace? 6. How much of a role do financial pressures and/or family pressures and expectations play in student’s academic experience and to their mental health within academia? How can current students or soon to be university students on arts degree work through these pressures? 7. How do you think higher education could support students of colour in particular with a decline in their mental health? 8. Given the taboo still attached to mental health, some students of colour still find it hard to speak to their own family and/or within their communities about this topic, how can we start to talk about this with our families? 9. Self-care and Self-love, are terms that have become excessively circulated buzzwords within our current social media circles and communities; could this lead to the message being diluted and/or just scratching the surface? 10. What are the positives and the negatives of this excessive circulation, especially for younger people who may be experiencing a condition that needs more than just 5 steps for self-care and self-love action plan? 11. What advice would you all give students that may be struggling with their mental health, as anxiety, panic attacks, depression, etc; all seem to be on the rise and more common amongst students in higher education? 12. Why and how are safe spaces and closed support groups so significant in helping people colour to work through their struggles with mental health?

4 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


KEY DATA. Top 5 Presenting Mental Health Concerns within UAL. •

Anxiety disorders/symptoms: includes generalised anxiety disorder, social anxiety, panic disorder, OCD, phobias, post traumatic stress disorder.

Mood disorders/symptoms: Low mood, depression, bipolar disorder, cyclothymia

Isolation, adjustment, acculturation and transition issues.

Stress: workload, financial, teaching/learning style,

Relationships: peers, personal/family, break-up or lack of relationship.

Professional Training for Mental Health Challenges •

Alarming statistics on the lack of training afforded to GP’s and practice nurses in dealing with aspects of mental health

Around one third of all GP appointments are mental health related. But less than half (46 per cent) of trainee GPs undertake a training placement in a mental health setting.

Trainee GPs are faced with a narrow choice of training placements, and limited time and resources to complete them.

82 per cent of practice nurses feel ill-equipped to deal with aspects of mental health for which they’re responsible.

42 per cent of practice nurses have had no mental health training at all.

“It’s vital that all GPs and practice nurses receive relevant, sufficient and ongoing mental health training, so they have the knowledge and confidence to provide quality mental health support.” Source: mind.org.uk

#mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 5


A CASE STUDY FOR MENTAL HEALTH. Malachi is a queer student of African British origin. For his final project, he wanted to make artistic work about his identity, being queer and how those intersections impact his mental health. Malachi’s teacher is a white heterosexual cis male he has suggested to Malachi that he choose a different subject to research that offers more ‘scope’ for investigation. Malachi believes that this is because his tutor does not know much about the subject area and wants Malachi to choose a subject that he is more familiar with. This has left Malachi with a dilemma should he continue to make the work and complain about the fact that his teacher is putting pressure on him to change or should he change his proposal to a subject area that his tutor is more familiar with. After all, Malachi’s teacher will be part of the assessment process and Malachi does not wish to offend him. According to the Stonewall Gay and Bisexual Men’s Health Survey to probe the mental health of the LGBTI community. Black gay and bisexual men are five times more likely to attempt suicide than their white peers and twice as likely to suffer from depression. www.stonewall.org.uk/sites/default/files/Gay_and_Bisexual_Men_s_Health_Survey__2013_. pdfhttps://www.stonewall.org.uk/sites/default/files/Gay_and_Bisexual_Men_s_Health_ Survey__2013_.pdf

A student perspective: I just felt so unsupported I know I was seeing the University counsellor that took forever to come through and I was only seeing her every so often. I wanted to make work about depression, being black and queer, but it was awkward discussing this with my tutor because he didn’t have a clue. Finding out about the degree attainment gap I’m in my final year and knowing that I’m less likely to receive a first or 2.1 for my work because I am black has stressed me out. This and my tutor not seeing eye to eye is giving me a pressure that I don’t need. On top of all this I found out that Black men are 17 times more likely to be diagnosed with a Psychotic illness than their white counterparts.

6 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


OUR PANELISTS.

#mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 7


Jay Kirton. Jay Kirton is striving to bring the light of the Masters through embodying their love and selfless service to humanity. Understanding that life is a journey and seeing the beauty in perfect imperfection. Jay’s talents consist of spiritual, sexual and creative healing through Shamanic and Tantric Mediums. Social activism is close to Jay’s heart and he uses his Martial arts background to discipline him on his journey towards ascension, inviting anyone who is willing to hold his hand and join him and his tribe on the mission of unity, patience and love.

Marie Kan. Marie is the Head of Counselling, Health Advice and Chaplaincy. She joined UAL in 2008 as Senior Counsellor before Taking up her current position in 2015. Prior to this she was a staff counsellor/ senior counsellor at the London Fire Brigade, a counsellor/adviser at a FE college and a social worker. As an accredited counsellor with over 25 years experience, Marie lists working with trauma and intercultural counselling amongst her special interests. She is committed to supporting UAL students to navigate the demands of studying; to achieve their educational aspirations; to not only find solutions when personal difficulties and mental health issues interrupt their efforts but to develop the capacity for self-care, for making sustainable, life enriching choices and to build good self-esteem and self-worth.

8 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


Michael Forfieh. My name is Michael and I am an experienced counsellor/therapist providing counselling in Lee in South East London. I am a member of BACP (British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy) and BAATN (Black and Asian Therapists Network). Being a member of both nationally recognised organisations provides me with relevant training and learning experience opportunities that assist me in enhancing my professional life as a counsellor. Working as a counsellor/ psychotherapist I have supported people who are working through a number of difficulties including: Depression, Anxiety, Addictions, Relationship difficulties, Mood management including angry feelings, Self esteem, Abuse and Trauma. In choosing to work with me appointments are usually arranged on a weekly basis. The length of time you work with me can either be for a short period of time 6-12 sessions, medium 13-24 sessions or long 24 weeks +. We will have regular reviews of the work and you can reflect on how you feel the work is going and how you are experiencing change. Attending Greenwich University for the MSc in Therapeutic counselling was an eye opening experience. I began my training believing that I was a person centred counsellor. By the end of the 3 year course I was resolute in recognising that I am an integrative therapist. From my life’s experience I can draw on a number of counselling approaches to inform and support the person I am working with. Approaches include; Transpersonal, Humanistic, Cognitive Behavioural, Psychodynamic and a concept I call walk and talk therapy. I have an MSc in Therapeutic Counselling from Greenwich University which is accredited by the BACP and a CPCAB Introduction to Counselling Skills Course diploma from Morley College. I have provided a highly evaluated counselling service in a range of settings including a doctor’s surgery, a prison and in schools. I regularly attend professional development to ensure I continue to develop myself and my practice.

#mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 9


Tiffany Webster. (Chair) Tiffany Webster is currently in her final year on the BA Sculpture course at Camberwell College, UAL. She returned to the UK to pursue a future within the arts and found her passion within collaborative and performative practices. Her interests, research and current projects are collaborative live sound performances as a form of collective healing, the study of the effects that language has on the body, on thoughts processes and experiences; and most recently she has been focusing on the exploration and representation of different forms of ‘Radical Visibility’ alongside the strategic navigation and survival of black artists URL on the Web 2.0 and IRL.

10 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


KEY TERMS. Ally

AFAB

A person of one social identity group who stands up in support of members of another group; typically a member of a dominant group standing beside member(s) of a group being discriminated against or treated unjustly. Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe. Anxiety disorders range from feelings of uneasiness to immobilizing bouts of terror. Most people experience anxiety at some point in their lives and some nervousness in anticipation of a real situation. However if a person cannot shake unwarranted worries, or if the feelings are jarring to the point of avoiding everyday activities, he or she most likely has an anxiety disorder. Anxiety can be associated with depression. Assigned female at birth

AMAB

Assigned male at birth

Apathy

Lack of feeling, emotion, interest, or concern.

Binary

The classification of sex and gender into two distinct, opposite and disconnected forms of masculine and feminine. Extreme mood swings with recurrent episodes of depression and mania (being high or up) punctuated by periods of generally even-keeled behavior characterize this disorder. Bipolar disorder tends to run in families. This disorder typically begins in the mid-twenties and continues throughout life. Without treatment, people who have bipolar disorder often go through devastating life events such as marital breakups, job loss, substance abuse, and suicide. A member of a dark-skinned people, especially one of African, Australian and Caribbean Aboriginal ancestry. A term used in certain countries, often in socially based systems of racial classification or of ethnicity. The belief that sexism, class oppression, gender identity and racism are impossible to separate. These concepts relate to each other through intersectionality

Anxiety Anxiety Disorders

Bipolar Disorder

Black

Black Feminism

#mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 11


Body politics

Burnout Cognitive Therapy

Chronic Disease Cisgender Colourism

Dementia

Depression

Desi

Diaspora

The term refers to the practices and policies through which powers of society regulate the human body, as well as the struggle over the degree of individual and social control of the body. The powers at play in body politics include institutional power expressed in government and laws, disciplinary power exacted in economic production, discretionary power exercised in consumption, and personal power negotiated in intimate relations Over-exhaustion resulting from prolonged stress, overworking, or intense activity. Cognitive therapy aims to identify and correct distorted thinking patterns that can lead to feelings and behaviours that may be troublesome, self-defeating, or even self-destructive. The goal is to replace such thinking with a more balanced view that, in turn, leads to more fulfilling and productive behaviour. A long term condition that a patient has to live with, which may often fluctuate and for which there is usually no cure. A person who identifies with the gender that was assigned for them at birth Unlike racism which only white people can be the perpetrators, people of colour can aide colourism in their communities by favouring lighter skinned black and brown skin tones. This is a trickle down effect of white racism. Also known as Shadism. Significant loss of intellectual abilities such as memory capacity, severe enough to interfere with social or occupational functioning. Depression is a mood disorder characterized by intense feelings of sadness that persist beyond a few weeks. It is associated with many physical symptoms such as disturbance of sleep, appetite, and concentration. Depressed people often feel tired, guilty and can find normal life extremely difficult. Depression can be associated with anxiety. A Person of the Indian subcontinent or South Asian diaspora. Desi countries include; Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Scattered population whose origin lies within a smaller geographic locale. Diaspora can also refer to the movement of the population from its original homeland.

12 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


Dysphoria

Dyslexia East-Asian

Early Intervention

Empowerment

Female genital mutilation (FGM)

Femininity

Femme

#mentalhealth #sonevents.

Also known as Gender Dysphoria, is an experience of discomfort or disconnect with one's assigned gender, often accompanied by a strong desire to change one's sex to better match their identity or to be called the correct gendered language. Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that can cause problems with reading, writing and spelling. in general terms, consists of China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Japan,South Korea and North Korea; sometimes, Mongolia and Vietnam are included in the definition. A process used to recognize warning signs for mental health problems and to take early action against factors that put individuals at risk. Early intervention can help people get better in less time and can prevent problems from becoming worse. Giving people the skills, knowledge attitudes and power to allow or enable them to be more responsible for their own lives, health and care. Female genital mutilation (sometimes referred to as female circumcision) refers to procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for nonmedical Reasons A set of behaviours, presentations and roles which are culturally associated with being a woman and/or possessing female sex characteristics. People of any gender identity or sexual orientation can be feminine, but those who are assigned female at birth often experience societal pressure to be so. Femme is a feminine gender role which is sometimes used as a gender identity. The term femme originated in communities of lesbian and bi women. This term has been increasingly adopted by trans women and others in the transgender community. Those who identify as femme may have the gender identity of woman and have a strongly feminine gender expression, or they may use femme as a non-binary gender identity aligned with femininity.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 13


GAD

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), is a long-term condition that causes one to feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than one specific event. People with GAD feel anxious most days and often struggle to remember the last time they felt relaxed. As soon as one anxious thought is resolved, another may appear about a different issue. GAD can cause both psychological (mental) and physical symptoms. General Practitioners Doctors who are specially trained to work in a community setting, seeing any patients for any problems they have. They often work in a group, sharing resources. Access is usually available to any person who requests a consultation. Most health problems are dealt with solely by GPs and their staff, although they can refer on to specialist services. Gender Gender is a an expression of the reenactment of certain roles. it may differ from time to time. Gender Expression Refers to the way that a person uses appearance, mannerisms and other personal traits to communicate their gender. Gender expression can be any or a combination of masculine, feminine and androgynous traits. Gender Fluid A gender identity which refers to a gender which varies over time. A gender fluid person may at any time identify as male, female, neutrois, or any other non-binary identity, or some combination of identities. Gender Queer Gender queer is an umbrella term with a similar meaning to nonbinary. It can be used to describe any gender identities other than man and woman, thus outside of the gender binary. Heteronormative The belief that people can only fall into distinct and complementary genders (man and woman) with fixed traditional gender roles. It assumes that heterosexuality is the only sexual orientation or the only norm. Homophobia Prejudice against the queer community Insomnia

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is characterized by difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. (Primary) Insomnia Primary insomnia refers to difficulties in sleeping, that are not directly associated with any other health condition or problem. (Secondary Insomnia) Secondary insomnia refers to difficulties in sleeping as a result of another issue, such as a health conditions like depression or anxiety. It could also be a result of medication being taken, or substances being used. 14 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


Intersectional Feminism Intersectionality

Intersex

Mania

Marginalise

Masculinity

Matriarchy

Mental Health

Mental Illness

#mentalhealth #sonevents.

A perspective within feminism that doesn't exclude people from the movement based on their Gender, Race and Class. A term coined by KimberlĂŠ Crenshaw which examines how social identities are used as a way to discriminate against marginalised groups who experience multiple forms of oppression simultaneously. Specifically women of colour who suffer from both gender and racial discrimination. An intersex person is has sex characteristics e.g.sexual anatomy, reproductive organs, and/or chromosome patterns that do not fit the typical definition of male or female. This may be apparent at birth or become so later in life. A symptom of bipolar disorder characterized by exaggerated excitement, physical over activity, and profuse and rapidly changing ideas (scattered or tangential thoughts). A person in a manic state feels an emotional high and generally follows their impulses. To relegate to the fringes, out of the mainstream; make seem unimportant:to place in a position of marginal importance, influence, or power. A set of behaviours, presentations and roles which are culturally associated with being a man and/or possessing male sex characteristics. People of any gender identity or sexual orientation can be masculine, but those who are assigned male at birth often experience societal pressure to be so. A social system in which females hold primary power, predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property at the specific exclusion of men, at least to a large degree. An example of a matriarchal society is Moja village in Northern Kenya founded by Rebecca Lolosoli. A state of emotional well-being in which an individual is able to use his or her thinking and feeling abilities, live with others, and meet the ordinary demands of everyday life. A state where the persons mental health is disrupted so that their thinking, emotions or behaviour are affected to an extent that it has an effect on their daily life. It does not necessarily mean that they have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder or need any form or medical treatment.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 15


Mental Well-being

Mood Misogynoir Non-Binary Oppression Panic Attack

Panic Disorders

Paranoia and Paranoid Disorders

Patriarchy

Phobias

A good or satisfactory condition of thinking, feeling and living; a state characterized by health, happiness, and prosperity. It is a broader term than mental health and includes the wider aspects of a persons life, not just how they feel. A pervasive and sustained emotion that colors the perception of the world. A term referring to misogyny directed towards Black women, where race and gender both play roles in bias. Non-binary gender describes any gender identity which does not fit within the binary of male and female. When a person or a group of people are subjected to unfair treatment by those in position of power. A panic attack is a sudden surge of overwhelming anxiety and fear. It's symptoms are the rapid build-up of overwhelming physical sensations, such as a pounding heartbeat, feeling faint, sweating, nausea, chest pains, shortness of breathe or shaky limbs. People with panic disorder experience heart-pounding terror that strikes suddenly and without warning. Since they cannot predict when a panic attack will seize them, many people live in persistent worry that another one could overcome them at any moment. Symptoms of paranoia include feelings of persecution and an exaggerated sense of self-importance. The disorder is present in many mental health problems and it is rare as an isolated mental illness. A person with paranoia can usually work and function in everyday life since the delusions involve only one area. However, their lives can be isolated and limited. "A social system in which Males hold primary power, predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property at the specific exclusion of men, at least to a large degree.� Phobias are irrational fears that lead people to altogether avoid specific things or situations that trigger intense anxiety. Phobias occur in several forms, for example, agoraphobia is the fear of being in any situation that might trigger a panic attack and from which escape might be difficult; social phobia is a fear of being extremely embarrassed in front of other people.

16 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


Pink Washing

POC Prejudice

Privilege Pronouns

QTIPOC Queer Queer Phobia Racism Radical

Radical feminism

Representation

#mentalhealth #sonevents.

A concept that describes when conservative and capitalist institutions or political campaigns promote LGBT friendliness in order to seem progressive with the aim of making profit. Person/People of colour Hatred towards someone based on their identity. Example: An oppressed person of colour can be prejudiced against privileged races but cannot be racist. A special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group. A word that can function as a noun phrase used by itself and that refers either to the participants in the discourse. People with various gender identities choose pronouns they feel comfortable with; some people may have more than one pronoun. Queer, Trans and Intersex People of Colour An umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities that are not heterosexual and/or cisgender Similar to Homophobia, describes a fear or hatred of queer folk (any one who is not heterosexual) The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races. The term suggests the demand for basic redefinitions of all facets of society. Radical feminism suggests that the answer to social problems can be a complete restructuring of how society defines human experience. In a contemporary sense radical feminist views are known to be transmisogynist because of their biological essentialist views. Refers to equality in opportunity and visibility. For example, representative media is media that is reflective of the variety of races, cultures, genders or religions that its entire readership belongs to.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 17


Recovery

This may not mean cure, but does include not only a significant reduction in symptoms but also an improvement in the ability of the individual to lead a normal life including work, home life and leisure. Mental health recovery is a journey of healing and transformation enabling a person with a mental health problem to live a meaningful life in a community of his or her choice while striving to achieve his or her full potential. Secondary Care Specialist health services which are usually hospital based and serve a wide area, such as a County or a large city. Apart from accident and emergency services, they are usually accessed through a referral from a primary care professional. Self-care Self-care simply means "taking care of yourself", it the therapeautic and healing actions that an individual may make in order to maintain a healthy mind and body, ultimately preventing illness. It can also refer to the practice of relaxing, unwinding and alleviating stress for yourself. It is a flexible term that can mean something different to every individual. Self Defining women A person who identifies as a woman, regardless of what gender was assigned for them at birth Sex Denotation of human females and males depending on biological features (chromosomes, sex organs, hormones and other physical features) Sexual Orientations A person’s sexual identity in relation to the gender to which they are attracted Sexuality Refers to a person’s sexual orientation/preferences in terms of sexual activities Specialist Someone who sees, assesses and treats a specific type of problem, usually having been asked to see a person by a generalist such as a GP. Examples would include Cardiologists (hearts), Paediatrician (children), Psychiatrist (mental health problems). Stigma Stigma is discrimination, based upon societies fear and ignorance about an illness or a problem. It causes peoples to be marginalized and mistreated, and therefore leads to social isolation, health inequalities and many forms of discrimination. It is derived from the term used to describe the marks burnt onto Roman slaves. Stress A state of mental or emotional strain or tension, resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.

18 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


Therapy

Treatment intended to relieve or heal a disorder.

Trans Feminine

Transphobia

A term used to describe transgender people who were assigned male at birth, but identify with femininity to a greater extent than with masculinity. Trans man is a term which describes someone who is both a man and transgender/transsexual. Trans men were assigned female at birth, but their gender identity is male. They also may be referred to as transmasculine. Trans men can have any sexual orientation. A term used to describe transgender people who were assigned male at birth, but identify with masculinity to a greater extent than with femininity. The term transsexual predates the term transgender, but has become less popular as it may imply that sex characteristics are more important than gender identity. A term which describes someone who is both a woman and transgender/transsexual. Trans women were assigned male at birth but their gender identity is female. They may also be referred to as transfeminine. Trans women can have any sexual orientation. The term transgender is an umbrella term for anyone whose internal experience of gender does not match the gender they were assigned at birth . Prejudice and/or fear towards the Trans folk

Transmisogyny

A term referring to misogyny directed towards trans women.

Trauma

Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless, or completely overwhelmed. Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety, but any situation that leaves one feeling overwhelmed and isolated can be traumatic. It’s not the objective facts that determine whether an event is traumatic, but ones subjective emotional response to the situation. A type of feminism that ignores the fight for equality of anyone who doesn't identify as white, cisgender and heterosexual

Trans Man

Trans Masculine

Trans Sexual

Trans Woman

Transgender

White Feminism

#mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 19


White Supremacy

White Washing

WoC Womanism

Xenophobia

White supremacy is an ideology centered upon the promotion of the belief, that white people are superior. It is argued by critical race theorist that all white people have a level of white supremacy values because of the media, education and politics have embedded whiteness as superior in society. A term used to describe white actors or actress playing nonfictional and historical non-white character roles. Therefore writing and disconnecting historical events and achievements to the non-white community. Women of Colour Because mainstream feminism goals and ideologies differed to that of the needs of Black women, Alice Walker coined the term womanism where Black Women were at the center of the ideology without the need to racialise how gender plays an important role in the life of Black Women. Fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign.

Additional Sources The Wales Mental Health in Primary Care Network (WaMH in PC) was established in 2003 to help promote and improve primary mental health care across Wales. www.wamhinpc.org.uk/glossary-of-mental-health-terms

NHS UK www.nhs.uk/pages/home.aspx MIND Mind, the mental health charity. We’re here to make sure no one has to face a mental health problem alone. www.mind.org.uk

20 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


DEPRESSION. What is depression? Depression is a low mood that lasts for a long time, and affects your everyday life. In its mildest form, depression can mean just being in low spirits. It doesn’t stop you leading your normal life but makes everything harder to do and seem less worthwhile. At its most severe, depression can be life-threatening because it can make you feel suicidal or simply give up the will to live. When does low mood become depression? We all have times when our mood is low, and we’re feeling sad or miserable about life. Usually these feelings pass in due course. But if the feelings are interfering with your life and don’t go away after a couple of weeks, or if they come back over and over again for a few days at a time, it could be a sign that you’re experiencing depression. If you are given a diagnosis of depression, you might be told that you have mild, moderate or severe depression. This describes what sort of impact your symptoms are having on you currently, and what sort of treatment you’re likely to be offered. You might move between different mild, moderate and severe depression during one episode of depression or across different episodes. Experiencing depression can make it hard to find the energy to look after yourself. But taking an active role in your treatment, and taking steps to help yourself cope with your experiences, can make a big difference to how you feel. Here are some things you can try: Looking after yourself: •

Get good sleep. For lots of people who experience depression, sleeping too little or too much can be a daily problem. Getting good sleep can help to improve your mood and increase your energy levels.

Eat well. Eating a balanced and nutritious diet can help you feel well, think clearly and increase your energy levels.

Keep active. Many people find exercise a challenge but gentle activities like yoga, swimming or walking can be a big boost to your mood.

#mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 21


Look after your hygiene. When you’re experiencing depression, it’s easy for hygiene to not feel like a priority. But small things, like taking a shower and getting fully dressed whether or not you’re going out of the house, can make a big difference to how you feel.

Avoid drugs and alcohol. While you might want to use drugs or alcohol to cope with any difficult feelings, in the long run they can make you feel a lot worse.

Practise self-care: •

Work out what makes you happy. Try making a list of activities, people and places that make you happy or feel good. Then make a list of what you do every day. It probably won’t be possible to include all the things that make you happy but try to find ways to bring those things into your daily routine.

Treat yourself. When you’re feeling down, it can be hard to feel good about yourself. Try to do at least one positive thing for yourself every day. This could be taking the time for a long bath, spending time with a pet or reading your favourite book. See our relaxation tips for some ideas of things to do.

Create a resilience toolkit. This could be a list of activities you know improve your mood, or you could fill an actual box with things to do to cheer yourself up. Try including your favourite book or film, a notebook and pen to write down your thoughts or notes of encouragement to yourself. It might feel difficult or a bit silly to put it all together but it can be a really useful tool if you’re feeling too low to come up with ideas later on.

Be kind to yourself. None of us achieve all our goals. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t do something you planned to, or find yourself feeling worse again. Try to treat yourself as you would treat a friend, and be kind to yourself.

Keep active: •

Join a group. This could be anything from a community project or a sports team to a hobby group. The important thing is to find an activity you enjoy, or perhaps something you’ve always wanted to try, to help you feel motivated.

Try new things. Trying something new, like starting a new hobby, learning something new or even trying new food, can help boost your mood and break unhelpful patterns of thinking and behaviour.

Try volunteering. Volunteering (or just offering to help someone out) can make you feel better about yourself and less alone.

Set realistic goals. Try to set yourself achievable goals, like getting dressed every day or cooking yourself a meal. Achieving your goals can help you feel good and boost your self-confidence, and help you move on to bigger ones.

22 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


Challenge your low mood: •

Keep a mood diary. This can help you keep track of any changes in your mood, and you might find that you have more good days than you think. It can also help you notice if any activities, places or people make you feel better or worse.

Challenge your thinking. Students Against Depression have lots of information and activity sheets to try to help you challenge negative thinking.

Try self-help. If your depression is mild, you might find free online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) courses like MoodGYM can help you tackle some of your negative thinking and avoid your depression growing worse.

Contact a helpline. If you’re struggling with difficult feelings, and you can’t talk to someone you know, there are many helplines you can contact. These are not professional counselling services but the people you speak to are trained to listen and could help you feel more able to cope with your low mood.

Connect with other people: • Keep in touch. If you don’t feel up to seeing people in person, or talking, send a text or email to keep in touch with friends and family. •

Keep talking. It might feel hard to start talking to your friends and family about what you’re feeling, but many people find that just sharing their experiences can help them feel better.

Join a peer support group. Going to a peer support group is a great way to share tips and meet other people who are going through similar things.

Use online support. Online support can be a useful way to build a support network when you cannot, or don’t feel able to, do things in person. Online forums like Elefriends and Big White Wall are specifically for anyone struggling with their mental health.

More information and resources can be found via the source: mind.org.uk.

#mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 23


ANXIETY. What is anxiety? Anxiety is a word we use to describe feelings of unease, worry and fear. It incorporates both the emotions and the physical sensations we might experience when we are worried or nervous about something. Although we usually find it unpleasant, anxiety is related to the ‘fight or flight’ response – our normal biological reaction to feeling threatened. We all know what it’s like to feel anxious from time to time. It’s common to feel tense, nervous and perhaps fearful at the thought of a stressful event or decision you’re facing – especially if it could have a big impact on your life. For example: • sitting an exam •

going into hospital

attending an interview

starting a new job

moving away from home

having a baby

being diagnosed with an illness

deciding to get married or divorced

In situations like these it’s understandable to have worries about how you will perform, or what the outcome will be. For a short time you might even find it hard to sleep, eat or concentrate. Then usually, after a short while or when the situation has passed, the feelings of worry stop. When does anxiety become a mental health problem? Because anxiety is a normal human experience, it’s sometimes hard to know when it’s becoming a problem for you – but if your feelings of anxiety are very strong, or last for a long time, it can be overwhelming.

24 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


For example: • You might find that you’re worrying all the time, perhaps about things that are a regular part of everyday life, or about things that aren’t likely to happen – or even worrying about worrying. •

You might regularly experience unpleasant physical and psychological effects of anxiety, and maybe panic attacks.

Depending on the kind of problems you experience, you might be given a diagnosis of a specific anxiety disorder.

More information and resources can be found via mind.org.uk. For example, further covering the symptoms of anxiety, explaining panic attacks and the different types of anxiety disorders one may experience.

#mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 25


SAFE SPACES:

What are they, and why they matter? Words by Katy Jalili

Recently I have been in a few discussions with people about safe spaces, both people who are baffled by the subject of safe spaces and folks who notice the lack of them. What is a safe space? A safe space is a place in which a comfortable zone is created for folks to express themselves freely without the fear of oppression that exists outside of that space. A place in which as a minority you are not to be “challenged on account of biological sex, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, cultural background...� Certain spaces are advertised as safe because they tend to create a space where minorities from certain or several minority groups will have the opportunity to spend time with folks who have had similar experiences as them. Sometimes a safe space can feel safe for a person in one way but possibly still make them feel uncomfortable in other ways. For example As a woman of colour I can attend 26 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


an event that advertises to be safe for women, but still fails to cater to the safety of people of colour, so I could somewhat feel safe as a woman but still feel unsafe as a person of colour. This then reflects on intersectional failures. Why are these spaces important? Because for most people who experience oppression, most spaces are unsafe. Most public spaces such as Nightclubs, bars, panel discussion events, even restaurants. The sense of not fitting in, and being othered in spaces or tokenized, can be very emotionally harming, which is why it’s necessary for individuals who feel othered in most spaces to have a place, such as; a social event, workshops, or political meetings, in which they can meet others who feel the same, and have a space in which they can freely express themselves without being challenged by hateful and ignorant voice. This doesn’t mean safe spaces are a safe haven, personally, I see it more as a principle. It is possible to still feel unsafe in a safe space, but because of the principles, it is simpler to resolve such issues. Counter arguments Here are some arguments against safe spaces that I have come across recently: “It’s a place to hide” It is not a hiding place if you’re part of a marginalised group you are not vulnerable or looking for a hiding place. Safe spaces are an empowering space for marginalised individuals to come together and empower each other. “It’s a place for prejudice” Gathering with folks who have experienced oppression, is not about hating on oppressors, but more about sharing love and solidarity for your community that experiences systematic failures. “Everyone should be allowed everywhere” Shades of Noir safe space policy: Shades of Noir is committed to providing an inclusive and supportive space for all attendees at our events. SoN believes all guests should be free from intimidation or harassment, resulting from prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of age, disability, marital or maternity/paternity status, race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, trans status, socio-economic status, or ideology or culture, or any other form of distinction. #mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 27


KEY ADVICE FOR TUTORS.

Words by Tiff Webster

9 suggestions of processes or actions for tutors/teachers to put in place to assist students from diverse populations/backgrounds in terms of handling their mental health: As a student of colour in higher education, I’ve had a number of stages where my mental health has fluctuated and still does to this day. The moment I started to notice a decline in my mental health was joining higher education and navigating these spaces. During my second and final year, I experienced for the first time symptoms of anxiety and had regular panic attacks, which would manifest sporadically, even when I would be out with friends I would have them. I would constantly be overthinking and overanalyzing my work and the meaning of my work or why I chose the topics I chose to explore. Financial struggles at home would also add to the decline in my mental state, along with health problems and other external factors that all interconnected; eventually leading me to the 28 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


counselling service out of desperation. Whilst I had created a strong bond and support system of friends (whom were also from diverse backgrounds) that supported me on the course, I noticed that they too would experience at different stages, a decline in their mental health and experience ‘‘burnt out’’. Through peer support we were able to advise each other. On reflection, I’ve compiled a list of 9 suggestions of actions and/ or processes for tutors/teachers to put in place to assist their students from diverse backgrounds in terms of handling their mental health: 1.

Ask how the student is finding the course, if they have any concerns or struggles and provide them with resources. Tutors can see and monitor how often a particular student is in and/or coming to Uni and/or for lessons via attendance log to lectures, tutorials, etc. Based on this monitoring they can see if their attendance decreases or increases. If a student of colour or from diverse background has a poor attendance in a predominantly white class, there may be a number of reasons to why their attendance is low. During tutorials I have never had a tutor ask me why my attendance was diminishing nor have I been asked if I want to talk about any struggles I may be having with my mental and/or physical health and advised to the speak to counsellors or told where I can get more information or resources.

2. Promote the UAL Peer Mentoring scheme. I didn’t’ find out about this scheme until third year. This came out of my own external research, interest and through other channels than that of my college and/or my tutors. 3. Mention Arts SU and their societies. During group or one-on-one tutorials, especially for first year students, it’s worth mentioning all the Arts SU societies that students can join, to meet other students from other UAL colleges. UAL is a big place, but the course can feel incredibly insular. 4. Build a good rapport with students. Building a good rapport with students is also really important. How successful it is, does depend from student to student; but letting a student know where to find you if they need to speak to you is important. Students should feel comfortable in being able to ask their tutors/teachers for the resources and not embarrassed, feel self-conscious, or have fear of judgment. 5. Use Shades of Noir as a source of reference for students. If a teacher/tutor doesn’t know how to respond to a particular topic that a student is exploring, i.e their own culture, critical race theory, blackness, then Shades of Noir, terms of references books, links, articles, etc should be at hand. 6. Tutorial specifically to discuss extenuating circumstances. If a tutor/teacher is aware that a student has been going through difficult situations on the course and are unaware of the options they have, giving them a tutorial on things like extenuating circumstances, gap years, or sessions on financial support might be helpful.

#mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 29


7. Monthly meeting with Student Reps. The teachers/tutors relationship with their Student reps for each year could have monthly meeting sessions with them to discuss any concerns they may have, covering a list of topics to discuss about the course and/or changes, etc. 8. Find out who the welfare officer is from the Arts SU. Have the contact details and card of the elected welfare officer of Arts SU, provided by the their College Officer. Have them at hand to give to students when needed. Share the campaigns on ‘Mental Health Wellbeing’ with students via whichever platforms used to communicate with students. 9. Inform students on who their College Officer is and where to find them. Deciding on future career paths may exacerbate some student’s anxiety and/or poor attendance, topics like these could also be discussed with their elected officer.

Links & Resources: www.arts.ac.uk/study-at-ual/student-services/ www.arts.ac.uk/study-at-ual/student-services/counselling-health-advice-chaplaincy/ health-advice/mental-health/ www.arts.ac.uk/study-at-ual/student-services/counselling-health-advice-chaplaincy/ www.arts-su.com/mental-wellbeing

Counselling Service Counselling offers students space to reflect on their experience, clarify and name the problem, articulate how they are feeling, identify personal strengths, stand up to and challenge the bullying and harassment and address the impact of the experience on their confidence, self-esteem and well being. You can request a counselling appointment online, call on 0207 514 6251 or email counselling@arts.ac.uk If you have applied for a course at UAL and would like to speak to a mental health adviser before it starts, please email studenthealth@arts.ac.uk

30 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


Health Advice The Health Advice Service provides advice and information to students at University of the Arts London on registering with a doctor (GP) in the UK and about any other aspect of health and well-being. To make an appointment with a mental health adviser, or for general enquiries, students should complete the Health Advice Request Form. Telephone enquiries to 020 7514 6251, or emails to studenthealth@arts.ac.uk are also welcome. www.arts.ac.uk/study-at-ual/student-services/counselling-health-advice-chaplaincy/healthadvice/

Students Against Depression Students Against Depression is a website developed in consultation with students affected by depression, low mood or suicidal thoughts. It includes helpful stories, suggestions as well as self-help strategies for anyone feeling suicidal.

Mind Mind provides information and advice about mental health issues. Mind’s ‘Understanding’ leaflets are free to read or print, and give practical information on a range of mental health issues, together with resource lists for seeking further help. The ‘How to’ series of leaflets, also free to read or print, cover topics such as assertiveness, dealing with panic attacks and coping with student life. www.mind.org.uk

Sane Charity offering support and carrying out research into mental illness. 0845 767 8000 (daily, 6-11pm) sanemail@org.uk www.sane.org.uk

#mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 31


ON HEALING: THE 16TH.

32 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


I’ve been watching her - observing As the months, weeks, days, hours and seconds come and go I’ve seen how she’s been writing, rewriting, then overthinking Deleting Then starting again I keep telling her to stop overthinking She nods She has good days and bad days - lately it’s been good, She’s been much better. The 16th is approaching, and numbers aren’t just numbers to her anymore They seem to carry more meaning, She’s never read a book on Numerology though. I remember when we watched Left-Eye’s documentary She was more fascinated than I was, I was still - just watching

The 16th, a year had passed already, I keep telling her to be kinder to herself, She smiles and nods She forgives everyone. She even forgave him, But, she never forgave herself. She keeps asking me if I could teach her how, I can’t. I’m never really sure what to say, Other than.. ‘whilst you find different ways to release, to grow, to learn, to laugh and to be joyful. Time will also heal. It’s always watching - observing.’ By Tiffany Webster

The 16th came and went - during that weekend she didn’t sleep She was restless, I caught her cutting the dead dry ends of the tips of her hair She would do this for hours, wide eyed Snipping would turn to cutting and the cutting would turn to chopping, The 16th was approaching and she wasn’t ready, I could tell Gripping the corner of her desk, overeating, then eating some more Crying, Breathing, She never knew how to grieve, She asked me if I could teach her, I couldn’t.

#mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 33


BUILDING A CREATIVE UTOPIA FOR BLACK WOMEN.

Words by an Bee Tajudeen.

Solange’s ‘Cranes in the Sky’ details all the methods she did to try and get rid of her depression. I too, tried many of those methods. I was on the brink, crying and bartering with some unseen entity for my last gasp of air. I wanted to give up, I gave up – Black Blossoms a platform I started to highlight the voices of black women in the creative industries and education, saved me. Probably how Seat At The Table saved Solange. I was faced with the fact that my biological being as a woman had been constructed by society that along with my race I must be emotional & savage, therefore my depression made others around me view me as the ‘angry black woman’. Although I was angry, I was more sad, in pain and heartbroken. I was angry because black women do not have the space to show their pain, as we are depicted as ‘angry as we are as strong’. The troupe of the angry black woman has stifled and silenced black women for decades. This most recently played out in a debate about the erasure of black women from British civil rights movement in the new T.V show Guerrilla. An audience member asked the director about the lack of black women in the show, which is marketed as a historical drama. The next day mainstream news outlets had framed the black women who had asked a very legitimate question as angry and bitter. The angry stereotype is waged against black women to stop them speaking up in public spaces about politics, sexism, and racism as well as other social issues. Hence, why black women are also described as strong at they take all the pain and injustices thrown to them by society and silently carry on. The last Black Blossoms conference was in 2016 and was based on self-care and mental wellbeing. My life problems at this time had intensified alongside my job as an elected student activist, constantly fighting the status quo all of this had a detrimental impact on my body and mental health. I was getting more depressed and anxious, struggling to get out of bed, interact positively with friends and family members. I was truly in a sunken place and worst of all I felt alone. Whilst organising the conference I kept on going back to thoughts of Angela and Fania Davis “self-care and healing and attention to the body and the spiritual dimension—all of this is now a part of radical social justice struggles” I made sure the conference reflected their vision of self-care there was yoga, a panel on misogyonoir plus useful survival workshops and discussions. 34 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


Image by Lara Cardoso

However, I didn’t find my strength through a workshop. I found healing in just being in the presence of over 50 black women just being themselves not having to play up to patriarchy as no men were in attendance nor having to assimilate or shrink themselves in fear of being judged by their white counterparts. Black women were, laughing, networking, chilling and that for me was glorious. I was in a black feminist utopia. I was buzzing for weeks, but if you have faced depression you will know that it just doesn’t disappear over night. It comes back with paralyzing effects. I can’t really articulate all the pain I feel at times nor do I desire to re-live the trauma, which gets me to that place. As a mother, I knew I could not continue on this downward trajectory. I started to pay closer attention to my triggers, which included getting involved in debates on social media and Piers Morgan – I blocked that fool. Swimming helped clear my mind all I could concentrate on was my breathing and doing the right strokes in the water – every session felt like a baptism drenched anew with optimism. I applied to do a Black Blossoms exhibition in UAL showroom after an inspiring talk from Jon Daniels founder of Afro Supa Heroes about how he managed to showcase his archive of black superheroes memorabilia at the V&A. I didn’t actually think my application would be accepted, when I received a confirmation email, I was screaming with joy. I have achieved many great things, but curating an exhibition, highlighting the voices of 18 black women students in UAL, will always be a golden memory. Then the exhibition came to an end. The artwork would no longer be there to communicate to the viewers about our lived experiences as black women. – “I tried to drink it away…I tried to work it away but that just made me even sadder. ” (Lyrics from Cranes in the Sky) but I wasn’t as sad as before. #mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 35


The exhibition was confirmation I had found my calling, which was to build a creative utopia for black women on the principles of black feminism and sisterhood as written about by Patricia Hill Collins, the Cohambee River Collective and as of late Kimberlee Crenshaw. To summarise their teachings we must continue to tell our stories, through writing, poetry art, performance and other tools accessible to us. Our movement must be intersectional as class, gender & race are not separate identity makers but are inextricably linked to define our lives. Finally, as Angela Davis proclaimed at Women of the World 2017, we must want to create a transformative society not one mirroring existing power dynamics in place. In response to a question about their creative practice, Travis Alabanza answered, “ my primary reason for creating was to heal myself and to be therapeutic, that really drives me when creating. – That I knew this would be healing for me and in turn maybe others.” Late 2016, I decided to take the exhibition on tour, very ambitious of me to think it would be an easy task. However the constant hard- work, bidding for funding and negotiating with galleries is met with many hours of working closely with black creative women. This is my therapy. I didn’t realise when I started Black Blossoms that it would be source of healing. Centring black women in my work has healed me. In creating this platform I have started to make a community of people who are motivating, loving and free. A black feminist utopia not limited to just events and exhibitions.

Ming Au for the “I’m Tired” Project. Collage by Cynthia Silveria 36 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


BURNOUT PART 1.

.

Words by Tiff Webster

How can tutors and course leaders support students who experience burnout? First of all, what is burnout? Burnout is a term that was coined by American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger, in the 1970’s. Freudenberger used it to describe “the consequences of severe stress and high ideals experienced by people working in ‘helping’ professions.” However, the term has become more common, as it can affect not only those in “helping professions.” Anyone can suffer the symptoms of burnout, whether you are an activist, a stay-at-home mum (or both), or a student. Put simply, burnout is synonymous with overexhaustion. It is the result of being overspent; putting in too much work and not getting enough time to rest. It is being entirely consumed by taxing activities and having little balance in one’s life. This prolonged mental, emotional and physical stress becomes excessive, and eventually leads to an inability to function as normal, in turn affecting one’s quality of life. Symptoms of burnout can be extreme tiredness, insomnia, losing interest in your passions, a weakened in immune system resulting in frequent bouts of illness or heightened symptoms of depression and anxiety. The simple solution to burnout, would be to just make sure you allow yourself time to rest. #mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 37


Sounds easy enough, right? Well for many isn’t as simple as it sounds, especially when you’re under an excessive amount of pressure. At this point, the important things can begin to slip. From remembering deadlines, meetings or appointments, to giving yourself time to eat during the day. How does this affect students? I believe in looking at such issues with an intersectional lens; understanding that our individual circumstances affect the intensity of the oppressions we face as people, as well as our ability to cope with them. For any student, burnout is the last thing you need because in order to stay on your course deadlines have to be met. In order to excel, the quality of your work needs to be high – which of course requires time and effort, as well as talent. For many, the stresses of university are more than just a heavy workload and looming deadlines. For some, the stresses of university are an almost paralysing paradox. Whether they are: •

The first in their family to attend university and work to towards a degree, and have little to no support.

Working a job alongside university, not only to sustain themselves but in order to survive.

Having to work ten times harder to prove the relevance or validity of their work, within institutions rooted in white privilege.

Suffering from depression or anxiety whilst studying, as a result of the last three points.

Whilst tutors and course leaders cannot be blamed for individual student circumstances. Many a time, these stresses are heightened by tutors and course leaders; due to ignorance, closemindedness, lack of awareness, lack of creative flexibility and internalised privilege. What can be done to support and resolve? First of all, acknowledging that singing praises about having a “diverse” student body, means nothing if the curriculum and styles of teaching do not reflect that. It means nothing if all students are being assessed in a “one-size-fits-all” manner, yet ironically encouraged to embrace their individuality. As a tutor or course leader, you may find that you have students who are barely present, who are disengaged or whom you are unable to connect with. 38 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


As a first measure, you must ask yourself the following questions: •

Have I given these students a platform to freely express their ideas without passing bias or instilling fear of judgement?

Has there been an incident where a student has presented their ideas or work to me and I have been biased or dismissive towards it?

Am I informed enough on interests other than my own, to be able to support a student who wishes to pursue them?

Has there been an incident where a student has presented their work to me and I personally couldn’t understand or didn’t know enough about it? Did I put them in touch with someone that does?

Is my style of teaching evolving along with the way the world is evolving, or am I falling behind? If not, what I can I do to stay in touch?

As a tutor/course leader in a multi-cultural environment, do I know enough about other cultures to not be unknowingly ignorant and offend students of cultures other than my own?

Am I open to criticism from my students.

Do I speak to my students about how I can be a better tutor for them, and use their direct responses to improve?

Do I respect and value my own voice, more than I do my student’s voices?

Do ALL of my students feel comfortable to enough to raise their concerns, and to have them be heard and taken on board?

University is demanding enough without unnecessary added pressure, there is much tutors can do to improve student experience, if they are open and willing. It is indeed a duty.

#mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 39


MAHANEELA CHOUDHURY REID.

Photographer and Creative.

nominated online lifestyle magazine COZY MAG. Now a part of the creative team at the established independent music labels XL Recordings and Young Turks, Mahaneela has cemented herself within London’s bubbling arts and music community, and continues to contribute through organising live music events, social media consultancy and her role as an influencer. She has worked with brands such as Adobe, Eurostar, Leading Hotels of the World, and more.

Mahaneela is a 23 year old artist from london. Her work takes its form through her photography, writing and more recently, video. Mahaneela has worked for a number of commercial clients, such as converse, adidas, nike, eurostar, xl recordings, young turks, because music and more. she has written for publications such as boat & suitcase magazine. In her non-commercial projects, mahaneela focuses on portraiture that captures the essence of her subject. Alongside her photography, mahaneela manages DJ hannah faith, and is a travel writer, curator and founder of award40 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.

Mahaneela is a also part of all female creative collective in bloom. She helps coordinate events, commercial projects, and of course, photography and other creative endeavours. SoN: What does self-care mean to you? Mahaneela: For me, self care is the time we afford to self-reflection. It’s always the time in which I grow the most, being mindful of myself and emotions can really help with confidence and decision making. Taking care of myself is a big part of what it is to nuture oneself, I’m realising more each day how important it is to look after yourself, in order to be able to help others around you.


SoN: What are some of the practical methods you use to take care of your mental health and general well-being? M: I get massages sometimes, I meditate and I do yoga.. It’s hard sometimes to find the time but you really do have to make sure you fit in some you time. I’m actually heading to a retreat later this year which I’m super excited about. SoN: How would you describe your emotional healing process? M: I think with me it takes a lot of time and action in order for me to heal, I always try to put myself out there though. I think putting your energy into positive things helps me a lot with my emotional well-being, which is something I’m thankful for!

#mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 41


BURNOUT PART 2.

Words by Tiff Webster

5 options for staff experiencing ‘Burnt Out’ from a student’s perspective. As a current student, I have seen and witnessed how staff/teachers/tutors/mentors are undervalued, overworked, and overlooked. The added stress of supporting their own students mental health concerns could lead to staff also experiencing ‘burn out’ symptoms which could lead to an unhealthy working environment. Students know when tutors are uninterested, tired, unwell and unable to concentrate during tutorials; this in turn affects the student’s experience on the course and their thoughts of the University they attended and could potentially affect their overall University experience. All of this has a knock on effect. Creating a healthy working environment needs to start from the very top. I’ve compiled a list of 5 forms of action and/or processes where staff could get access to support, I’ve also added some options on what could be done for staff who may experience “burn out” from trying to hold their own student’s mental health concerns: 1.

The creation of a teachers/tutors support group. This would be a space where meetings could be held, or sessions could be facilitated to discuss their own ‘‘burnt out’’ experiences, concerns and ways of managing through stressful periods. This could also be a space to exchange their own tips and/or tricks on navigating difficult situations, carrying burdens and how to better equip oneself in conversations with students on mental health.

42 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


2. Creating a welcoming space for Committee Board meetings with Deans and Associate Deans these meetings can get very tense, it would perhaps be helpful and to ease the tension by also highlighting and celebrating achievements and efforts by staff just as much as there are mentions of the rooms for improvement, difficult decisions, and concerns that are also discussed in these meetings. A plate of cookies, fruit and cups of tea or even water offered to staff and any student reps attending the meetings is also a welcoming and comforting gesture. This creates a less intimidating space for students to be in. 3. Monthly updates on the counselling services for students at UAL on events their running, on the mental health awareness campaigns and who the welfare officer from SU is and/or has been nominated. There should be reminders to why staff/ teachers/tutors are in their positions in the first place, with updates on students awards being won and the increase there should be moments of celebrating staff/ teachers accomplishments and for seniors to also let staff know how invaluable their work and their labor is. 4. Monthly lectures and training sessions for teachers/tutors delivered and facilitated by trained professionals on how to manage or how to create supportive networks, what signs to look out for in students mental health, books to read; i.e authors could come to promote books, essays, journals, etc. Independent programmes such as Shades of Noir could be referenced that speak on mental health, such as Shades of Noir that could deliver sessions to staff. 5. Quiet Staff Room. Similar to a prayer room in all UAL colleges, this could be a space for staff that’s separate to their main large staff rooms. In this space a staff member can reflect, rest and have resources at hand.

#mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 43


CREATIVE ACADEMIC ANXIETY.

BME staff in leadership positions may find themselves struggling to maintain their job and encounter stress. A report by HEFCE (2006) shows that about 8 per cent of permanent academic staff are from BME groups (year 2004–05). About half of these (4 per cent) are of Asian heritage (the majority being Indian or Chinese), and only 1 per cent are of black ethnicity (most often black African and, to a less extent, black Caribbean). A significant negative earnings effect was identified (BME earned, on average, 13 per cent less, a figure in line with other sectors of the economy). Equality Challenge Unit. “The experience of black and minority ethnic staff working in higher education.” (2009). Am I good enough? This question has plagued me over the years working in the creative academia whilst being an art & design practitioner. I established, as a student, the confidence that my blackness was interlinked to my work and who individuals decided I was. I found that my blackness, and its many complex outlet, were not always appreciated by everyone. But I worked hard, dug deep and focussed on my own assessment of myself in comparison to my peers to self define if I was good enough. I am, in fact, I would be as bold to say that within my creative practice I am more than 44 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


good enough. The industry has helped my affirmation of this through a successful commercial creative career (the relationship with blackness and the creative industries are not always this supportive either - this is my privilege). However, within academia this is less straightforward. For creative teachers of colour entering into the complex journey that is ‘academia’, it can be a vulnerable experience. The sense of belonging is a huge obstacle when there are so few of us, 3.6% according to Equality Challenge Unit data 2009, the second lowest representation within Higher Education subjects. This can cause additional anxiety for an academic of colour in the creative sector. Part of having a ‘successful’ academic career is that you are researching, writing for journals and publications, being invited to join committees and disseminating your activities through engaging with the conference circuit, which in the early stages of your academic career means writing abstracts for selection. This was a huge burden for me and for the many academics that I now advise within the creative higher education sector irrespective of ethnicity, gender or faith. Not only do we have to be exceptional art & design practitioners but also writers for academia. This is one of the reasons that those teaching pedagogy and learning and teaching in creative arts and design are generally linguists and or historians. I don’t think it is because creative practitioners are not good enough, but this is not what we generally practice: writing. Instead our art & design practice has been our focus. What all of this can do, is present additional burdens and cause anxieties that can not only affect your health and wellbeing but also open wounds around institutional racism. Here are some ways you can counter these: Sense of belonging - Make sure you get to know the names of the security guards and receptionists, find out if there are any staff groups around social justice both inside your institution and external such as the Group for Equality of Minority Staff (University of the Arts London) or Black British Academics to develop support mechanisms beyond your course, department and or institution. Academic Progression - There are always courses for academic writing for funding and research awards within an institution, attend these. You will be surprised how many types of people take part and also have anxiety about their academic writing. Additionally it’s an opportunity to build networks. Also you could seek a mentor, this is an unspoken opportunity in many cases. A mentor can be both internal or external to your institution. Most senior management have several, one for academic support and another for career progression (so we have heard). Transparency around academic career progression - If career progression is not #mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 45


transparent, there is a reason why. At many institutions it is a secret, however they have to have a process even if you can’t see it. Seek this information, either through teaching and learning departments or HR. How can you know what to do if you do not ask? ‘Figures published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency record no black academics in the elite staff category of “managers, directors and senior officials” in 2015-16 – the third year in a row that this has happened. Among the 535 senior officials who declared their ethnicity, 510 were white, 15 were Asian and 10 were recorded as “other including mixed”. Thirty senior academics either refused or failed to record an ethnicity. The figures also show universities employ more black staff as cleaners, receptionists or porters than as lecturers or professors.’ (Adams, 2017) Whilst we have provided suggestions as to what you could do to alleviate or reduce anxiety and demystify some unspoken practices, it is also important to offer responses and speak about the responsibilities of individuals that are part of the majority community and institutions as a whole to level the playing field: 1.

Sense of belonging - Dear white staff smile and tell yourself in the first instance that this person must be a member of staff if a person of colour enters the staff room

46 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


(especially when staff IDs are required to gain access). Rather than cluck together at meetings and further isolate the marginalised or minority, go out of your way to include and speak with us. Institutions, support the creation of safe spaces; if there are few academics of colour or any other marginalised community offer openly the information of existing academic groups for these communities to engage with both internally and externally to your institution. 2. Academic Progression - Senior staff, offer to be mentors and or invite staff of colour to lunch and or encourage them to join committees and diverse staff groups. There are some mentor schemes already in place at institutions, however it’s far more genuine if either someone recommends a program or and themselves as a support. We don’t bite and we know how to conduct ourselves however, we would benefit from encouragement and reassurance that we will not be ostracised. This makes all the difference. Institutions, acknowledge that current practices must have prejudicial aspects given data and research regarding the experience of staff of colour in academia. Consider drafting clear progression structures and processes that remove line managers from progression opportunities to reduce bias and offer further opportunities for objectivity throughout this process. Additionally consider, mandatory training of all senior staff, including the chancellor on social justice, bias, microaggressions, power and privilege. This would present a lead by example approach of which may not have been tried as yet. 3. Transparency around academic career progression - Institutions should providing explicitly what work, contributions and achievements are involved to develop as an academic, gain a pay rises, and become part of academic leadership team. This should be presented in the staff areas of institutional websites for both current and new staff. We hope you find this useful. Salute. Additional reading: Bhattacharyya, G., Ison, L. and Blair, M., (2003). Minority ethnic attainment and participation in education and training: the evidence. Nottingham: DfES Publications. Fourie, M., (1999). Institutional transformation at South African universities: Implications for academic staff. Higher Education, 38(3), pp.275-290. Unit, E.C., (2009). The experience of black and minority ethnic staff working in higher education. Adams, R., (2017). British universities employ no black academics in top roles, figures show. www.theguardian.com/education/2017/jan/19/british-universities-employ-noblack-academics-in-top-roles-figures-show #mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 47


DEATH AND TAXES.

Words by Charisse Chikwiri

You know when you reach that point in life where you understand what Marvin Gaye (1972) meant when he said, “There’s only three things that’s for sho’: taxes, death and trouble.” Perhaps, the stage of life we call “adulthood.” “Life is unpredictable; but bills must be paid on time, on the same day, every month.” “Reality” does this really cute thing, it hits you and everything in life that was once sure, now requires a little revaluation here and there. What constitutes as the “foreseeable future” becomes redefined, you experience this “shift in perspective.” The years start to go by faster and the value of time increases with every year. So, “adulthood” is a rocky experience. Sometimes you stumble upon a large slab and feel like you’ve finally found your footing. You feel a sense of triumph when you finally find the stepping stone you needed in order to advance. You finally get a chance to take in your surroundings and look back at how far you’ve come. And then the slab cracks; you panic. OHSHIT!GOTTOMOVEGOTTOMOVEGOTOMOVE!NOTIMETORESTNOTIMETO REST!GOTOMOVEGOTTOMOVE!BUTWHEREDOIGONOW!WHEREAMIGOING! Then over time you learn that losing your footing is an opportunity to pull back and realign, to move on. It reminds you of your humanity; it’s okay to stumble, it is expected. When we were children, losing our footing or falling over and scraping our knees were 48 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


minor deterrents. They were challenges then, at which point do they become setbacks? Life is an adventure. In all of this, the only things that are for certain are the journey and the fact that you will stumble, and you will be held accountable (trouble and taxes). The journey is the destination and the journey will eventually come to an end (death; whether you believe in an afterlife is down to you). So then, life is about enjoying the journey, despite how unpredictable the road you face will be. “There’s only three things that’s for sho’: taxes, death and trouble.” - Marvin Gaye. When I listen to Marvin Gaye sing these lyrics, I notice he sings about the darkness beside a window looking out into the light. He sings about the heavy weights with a coolness that says “I ain’t gonna let it sweat me, I’m gonna keep movin’.” He sings with an acceptance of harsh reality and chooses joy regardless. Like two steppin’ over hot rocks on your bare feet, instead of standing still and firm to the pain. When times are hard an attitude like this (I find) is exactly what you need; it’s neither pessimism or optimism, it is a healthy balance of both. It is understanding that focusing on the negative can lead to your burdens weighing you down, even paralysing you. On the other hand, the negative has the ability to put things into perspective, where optimism can be like blissful ignorance. But maintaining that balance and keeping on, requires strength. As humans, we aren’t always strong, sometimes we get overwhelmed and the prospect of “keeping on” is entirely draining. We aren’t perfect, we make mistakes and we do fall. This is where Daniel Caesar’s reference to Trouble Man’s “death and taxes” (2015) becomes the one I lean towards. “Surely we’ll live to see the day, when all of our problems, they fade away.” Surely? Finding and maintaining a balance is great, it is progressive, but sometimes, I don’t want to have to rush to the next hurdle, sometimes we need the break that life’s fast pace doesn’t always afford us, because bills must be paid on time, on the same day, every month. Usually, right before I re-centre myself, I have these periods of melancholy that sound like Jordan Evans & Matthew Burnett’s production on ‘Death & Taxes’. The instrumentation, Caesar’s fragile and encapsulating vocals, River Tiber’s backing vocals. Sometimes I exude courage like Odysseus, and sometimes I sing the mariners’ choric song. The two aren’t always mutually exclusive, they are sometimes simultaneous.

#mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 49


ANECDOTES WITH: NICOLE CRENSTIL. FOUNDER OF UNMASKED WOMEN. Words by Charisse Chikwiri, Twitter: @CharisseeC.

Photography by Holly Marie Cato.

Unmasked Women is a project which aims to channel “the Black British female experience through creatives.” The first phase took place from the 2nd - 4th of September, in the form of an exhibition about black mental health, curated by Nicole Crenstil. Its purpose was “to creatively document and showcase the work of several artists, whilst creating a safe and open platform for further discussion”. 50 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.

It all started with Nicole Crenstil’s mother, a seamstress with a passion for design, textiles, and art. She taught the future founder of Unmasked Women how to sew. She encouraged her creativity and supported her personal ambition, despite a lot of her family preferring she study law or become a doctor, for example. Nicole: I’m most passionate about creativity, expression of the Arts and design. It probably all began because I


studied Product and Furniture at University, Nottingham Trent, but I’m from London. My mum is a seamstress and she taught me how to sew and she’s always been interested in design and textiles. It’s sort of always been in my family, to be creative and to be expressive. Fast forward to 2015, Nicole made a New Years resolution that stuck; she wanted to curate an exhibition and in 2016, inspired by personal experience, Unmasked Women was born. Nicole: The idea really refined itself, I knew I wanted to do an exhibition, I knew I wanted to do it for women and I knew it had to have more of a purpose to it, rather than just a pretty art exhibition. I wanted it to be really meaningful, and for people to walk away from it understanding something new. It refined itself to being an exhibition about me. Exploring something that I already know; I am a young black woman, I am a creative and I have dealt with issues relating to mental health. Sharing experience is what brings humans closer together, it is what strengthens bodies of people. Sharing experience is how we learn from each other, it is how we don’t make the same mistakes or fall into the same traps as the people before us. It is how we develop a stronger appreciation and understanding of each other. It is a way in which nobody has to feel isolated, but rather reassured by the fact that they are not alone. It is how communities grow and progress.

#mentalhealth #sonevents.

Nicole: I always say this is a very social project, I want it to be inclusive, I want to get businesses involved, I want to get various artists involved. Essentially, this project is for me, it’s a very personal project. I couldn’t think of anyone better to do it than myself, so when people try to challenge it and say “well why are you doing it just about black women?” and “why aren’t you doing it about white women?” Well, I’m not a white woman, so quite naturally I’ll do it about what I know and what I know, is people that are like myself. So that’s how I came up with the idea, and I found that a lot of black women creatives weren’t really being supported. Whether it was by the media, or press, or organisations or funding and I wanted this to be for absolutely anyone. You don’t have to be a world-renowned artist or an up-andcoming whatever-whatever. You just have to be someone who is good at what they do and care about the issues at hand. And when we share experience, we spark a conversation that has the power to go beyond us and make a difference outside of our own circles… Nicole: [I want the] press, media, general practices, therapists, local businesses, charities to really come together and to really understand what more we can do to further push the conversation about black mental health. I’m hoping that people who come will want to learn more as well, what is it about black mental health that we need to discuss? To see how we can make this conversation national is what I really wanted; for the progress to happen past what I’m doing. As well as that, I am always thinking about other organisations MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 51


and social groups that could be involved with this because I’m all about helping more people than one.

When it comes to finding and connecting with like-minded people, in this digital age, social media is one of our greatest tools.

Once the conversation has been sparked, the passion behind the voices carrying it must ensure that its flame continues to burn. It cannot die, if the conversation dies, so does the motivation.

Nicole: I’m gonna have to big up Twitter! Twitter was probably and is still the main source for all of my communication. Everyone else I kind of found through going to their exhibitions or I’d come across them on Twitter and just be like “hey, I really like your work, let’s get in touch!”. Or word of mouth really, someone might say to me “I’ve just seen this great piece of work, I thought you might really like it.” So I would say being online, was probably my biggest tool to finding these artists and getting to know them on a level where we become more than just us working together, we become good friends. That’s how I really interact with everyone initially.

Nicole: You can’t really start a conversation and just let it fizzle out. You’ve got to keep it going. I would like these professionals in their fields to talk about it further. What more can we do to address the issues surrounding black women, what can therapists do, what can journalists and writers do? I want the conversation to surpass the panel discussion. I don’t want people to come to this and feel as if the conversation will end here. So if passion is required to keep a conversation burning, then surely all involved must share this same passion and have a unanimous understanding of the vision? Nicole: It meant a lot to me that the artists I worked with understood the message, that they were advocates and that they supported it. I wanted it to be someone who was good at what they did and cared about the issues at hand. So I carefully curated and selected each artist and had conversations like this to make sure they understood where I was coming from, that it wasn’t just something I just thought up, that it was a passion of mine and I wanted them to represent throughout.

52 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.

An obstacle for many who pursue careers as creatives or those who do work for the love of something is having to work a job you hate, in order to facilitate the work that you love. In order to fund the work that you deem necessary, or in order to survive, to then be able to do the work. Nicole: I was just starting a new job in January, this PR job and thought “okay, I’ll start my new job and then I’ll figure it out.” Coincidentally, I wasn’t enjoying my PR job at all, but I had already begun the makings of Unmasked. I found it quite frustrating that I was doing this PR job 5 days a week, and I didn’t have any time to really do what I really enjoyed, which was Unmasked. I tried to juggle something that I really loved doing, and something that I did not like doing, and tried to make it work somehow. Eventually, I just went full throttle and said


right, I need to go forth with this. I quit that PR job after 6 months and then got this job here at The Artworks. [Before I got the job at The Artworks] I almost quit Unmasked, it was too much and too expensive. It’s only when I was looking for an exhibition space, I came through this company called ‘Somewhere to’, and the first place they cc’ed me into was Artworks Elephant. Whilst I was going through an approval process for that, I was just on the website wondering what it was about and then I saw the job role. So I was like “apply for the job, you never know.” I applied for the job, interviewed for the job, got the job and in my first week I was like “soooo, my exhibition, are we good for that?” And they were like “yeah sure!”, so I quit my PR job so fast. When I got here they were like right you have your event and have your work and I was like “this is great!” I get to do what I like to do in this really cool space and plan out my exhibition as well #mentalhealth #sonevents.

so it’s worked out really really well in my favour. Killing two birds with one stone is something I’ve been doing constantly with Artworks. Not many things in life come without obstacles, but obstacles are overcome and they are lessons that contribute to our progression as people. Nicole has been on a journey with Unmasked, a journey whose destination revealed itself, just as blocked roads cleared to make way for all she was to achieve. Was it destiny? Nicole: Dude! Dude! I couldn’t be a bigger believer, I swear to you! I was thinking “I really want to put more effort and time into Unmasked” and the way it all just happened, is just unreal! I definitely believe so much that it has happened for a reason, the reason why I’m doing this job is so I can do Unmasked. The fact that I didn’t have the ability or the timescale in the other job, MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 53


means so much to the fact that I’m doing this all here now. It’s just all worked out really really well in my favour. It is definitely fate, definitely God’s work, definitely, something happened. I’m constantly just saying thanks because it’s ridiculous! What about the future? What happens after today? How does this evolve? How can the idea be innovated? Nicole: I’m definitely predominantly keeping it to black women, Unmasked Women, and potentially diversifying into Unmasked Men. As I’ve been doing a lot of research for Unmasked Women, I’ve been finding that men have been continuously coming up in the conversation. I even created a Twitter name for Unmasked Men, just in case somebody else tried to create it! In case I wanted to do it next year because the conversation about men in relation to black mental health is… wow, there is so much there. With Unmasked Women, other than mental health, I wanted to discuss issues relating to self-love and self-affirmation. I wanted it also to be about things I know I struggle with, like being the only black woman in the workplace. How you deal with social-cultural changes and shifts within university and the workspace. How you represent yourself as a black woman within these spaces. So after all the work, the progression and the innovation has been done, and as it continues. What does the future hold for the social progression of black mental health?

54 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.

Nicole: I want the mindset behind black mental health to change, although it’ll be a long time running. I want mental health to get to a level where it’s not okay, not to be okay. I want us to be able to easily get up and say “I’m going to get a mental health check, I’m going to speak to a therapist, I’m going to speak to a counsellor.” The conversation about black mental health is so diminished, it’s so not talked about, it’s so quietened down. Culturally, it’s really hard for people to get up and go to the clinic and just say “I’m having these issues.” I want what I’m doing to be the start of moralising something that has become so demoralised. In so many vast ways, black mental health is still seen as a taboo within the community. It’s still seen as being demonic, it’s still seen as being “you can’t control your mind” and that kind of thought process is really sad. I want mental health to be as normal as any other health issue. So if you were to get a cut on your leg, you should be treated with the same quickness and ease when it comes to your with mental health.


CLUE APP: TRACKING YOUR PERIOD.

Artwork & words by Charisse Chikwiri.

Clue App: Tracking your period as a holistic self-caring practice. (If talk of periods makes you feel uncomfortable, you may not want to read this, but also you need to grow up). I won’t lie to you guys, up until the age of about 18, telling when my next period would be was kind of a spidey-senses thing. At the time I couldn’t give you dates or numbers, but I could tell you “it’s about to come” and “it’s about to finish.” To be honest, that was pretty accurate, you can definitely feel and see the signs in your body once they’re no longer new to you. Nonetheless, this intuitive method doesn’t allow you to prepare for and take the right care of yourself in each stage of your menstrual cycle. Even more so when you’re sexually #mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 55


active, or using hormonal contraceptives. It is also trickier to recognise any changes, variations and even abnormalities in your body. Being on your period can be so inconvenient, for many women, it is not just an inconvenience it can be extremely painful, take a toll on one’s emotional well being or their ability to carry out essential daily tasks. However, liberation has taken restrictions place in many areas of my experience. It starts with being able to talk openly about it and ridding ourselves of the pressure to be prudish when approaching the subject. There are many factors I take into consideration now when I think “period” — instead of just “ugh great, that time of the month again” or “well, I guess this means I’m not pregnant.” Tracking my menstrual cycle has become a holistic activity and part of how I practice self-care. Something I am equally as concerned about both within and outside of the four days that my uterus sheds its lining (the bleeding). If you ask me when my next period is today: I can give you an estimated date. I can tell you that my period normally lasts for 4 days and, my flow goes from light/medium on the first day, to medium/heavy on the next two, to light/spotting on the fourth day. I can tell you that in the days leading up to my period, I gain weight, and find myself looking and feeling quite bloated (the food I choose to eat affects how significant these changes are and they may also be in part psychological because I am generally the only person that notices them). I also crave sugary carbs (a catch-22), bread, cake, pastries, biscuits - all that bad stuff. I tend to feel less confident in my appearance and less “sexy” during this time, however, my libido usually increases (another catch 22?). So I try to make time for extra pampering and TLC (try is the keyword here, sadly we don’t really get extra hours in the day or time off for being on your period, kmt). I am always extremely exhausted and fatigued particularly on the second and third days of my period, the loss of blood is especially problematic for me because I lack iron (anaemia). To counter this, I try to make sure I eat enough nutritious food throughout the day (everyday), especially foods rich in iron. However, taking an extra iron supplement on each day the of the period helps when I don’t have the time. Because lack of time is an issue I tend to have, meal prepping prior to my period also helps to make sure to I eat well during. It also means that I don’t have to get up to cook a full meal when I’m feeling exhausted.

56 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


This is me, Charisse, this is my body. I am in control and am equipped with the tools needed to manage my cycle. Knowing yourself goes further than what you like and don’t like; it is also how your body functions, what you need, when and how you need it, for example. I have been able to monitor these things through using an app called Clue. “Clue is a female health app that uses science and data to help you discover the unique patterns in your [menstrual] cycle.” I love the use of the word “discover” in this context. There is nothing I hate more than onesize-fits all approaches to the human experience, because we are all so different and this must always be at the core of understanding how we as humans function. Unfortunately for many of us women, we are taught about ourselves, our bodies and our sexuality in this one-size-fits-all manner and so, the understanding of self really is a discovery that happens sometimes too late in life. Which really sucks. How can you be expected to live an enjoyable life to its full extent, if something as essential as knowledge of self isn’t easily accessible? When you don’t know that what works for everyone else, actually might not be the best thing for you. When you may suffer in silence because you think your discomfort is normal. When you may struggle in silence because women are taught to be discreet about their periods, (and many other intimate experiences). The issue I have always had with the way science (in this case Biology) is taught from a young age is that it is often taught without context and it is partially detached from reality. Sex-ed (from my experience) is taught without nuance, without consideration of wellbeing, mental health, social issues and DIVERSITY. The Fader recently published a great story on this topic: Will Sex-Ed Ever Get Any Better? It is often taught out of obligation as opposed to care. This is why I believe it is so important that these conversations are normalised at home, and in social situations. That our parents and guardians openly and extensively talk us through these things, because they can address us as individuals and with concern for our wellbeing.

#mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 57


FINANCE & MENTAL HEALTH.

Words by Michael Ukaegbu

What are the financial implications of having a mental health condition? Mental health and money have a direct correlation. Your mental state can make managing money easier or harder and conversely, worrying about money can make your mental state better or worse. Debt and financial stress in general can easily cause illnesses such as anxiety and depression, and can often get severe enough to lead to suicide. Studies show that “suicide is considered by almost 50% of people struggling with debt in the UK. Often the burden of debt can become too much and it’s thought the only option is to commit suicide.” When you think about it, this makes sense, seeing as money plays such a dominant role in our society. When you look at representations of celebrities and incredibly wealthy public figures, we see many images of happiness, a ‘perfect life’. We are led to assume that it’s because they have the money to buy whatever they want. However, that’s not to say being wealthy means your mental state will always be positive; as like the famous saying suggests ‘Money Can’t Buy Happiness’, which is often why you sometimes hear about billionaires experiencing depression. 58 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


Although when you think about it, when you have money, you do have one less thing weighing down on your mind. Money is truly at the core of our society. Usually in cases of mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, the sufferers financial wellbeing is often overlooked; poor mental health could result in “a reduced ability to earn an income, making inappropriate financial decisions, even putting themselves at risk of financial abuse from acquaintances, carers or family members”. Reduced ability to earn an income/reduced ability to work to full potential Using a freelance writer as an example, this is a position where you don’t get sick pay and your funds rely entirely on the work you produce. When suffering from depression and anxiety, from my own experience you’re riddled with all kinds of problems when it comes to doing your work. Problems like: writers block, oversleeping, lack of motivation and lateness; you find yourself struggling to write to your full potential or to the quality that may be expected in order for you to get paid. In some cases, you may fail to produce the work at all, thus resulting in you not being able to earn an income or your usual income being reduced greatly, meaning you have less money. Less money means you can’t afford to pay for things and when you can’t afford to pay for things, the pressure you face builds up, which causes your condition to worsen and creates a cycle, which just leads to your situation getting worse and worse.

#mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 59


Inappropriate financial decisions Some mental health conditions may also cause you to make inappropriate financial decisions such as, compulsive buying and turning to retail therapy for happiness. This often happens in a bid to try everything they can to make themselves feel better, even if it’s only for a short while. People tend to buy compulsively to “get a buzz or put themselves in a better mood. They also believe the purchases could change their life, for example by transforming their appearance, self-confidence, reputation, and relationships.” Research at the University of Michigan “found that buying something was up to 40 times more effective at giving people a sense of control and they were three times happier than those who only browsed.” The problem with this however, and why it’s inappropriate is because people tend to turn to retail therapy when they can’t necessarily afford it, causing them to spend money that should have gone elsewhere, like on rent for example. The implications of this are similar to that of the last issue. Relationships - friends, family, housemates, partners The financial implications of having a mental health condition, can have negative effects on one’s relationships. When you’re ability to earn money is affected, relationships can be soured because as said earlier, money is at the core of our society and even plays a part in our relationships. Lack of money due to less work and retail therapy could result in you having to borrow from people in your life to get by or missing important payments like rent. These financial implications will then not only be confined to the individual but those around the individual also, because they then have to work harder to make up for your lack in contribution. If this was in a working environment one person not being able to play their part places pressure on the whole team, sometimes compromising the whole operation, which could possibly mess with the income of the team as a whole. Students perspective Looking at the implications from a student’s perspective, many students who come to London have to live by themselves and work alongside their studies. According to the Telegraph London is the “fifth most expensive city for students”, “International students in London paid out a monthly average of $ 4,672, and those from the UK paid $ 3,245.”, when you take the cost of rent, as well as textbooks, printing and travel, students are forced to live constantly with financial worries on their minds. For many students, these pressures and worries can either trigger new symptoms or heighten the symptoms of pre-existing mental health conditions. They may have trouble both at work and at university, which would have financial implications in the short and long term. They may not be able to earn enough money to live and stay healthy in London and they wouldn’t 60 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


be healthy enough to pour their full potential into their university work, resulting in them not getting a good grade or even outright failing, ruining their future money making prospects. For many students of colour, they also feel pressure from their families. Being first generation british citizens they are often the first in their families to go to university so they are often burdened by the hopes and dreams of their families, which may again heighten their pre existing mental conditions. Mental health conditions can cause severe financial harm and it may often feel like there’s no way to deal with them. For those in need of help dealing with their mental health and money problems, here’s a link to a free booklet created for people with mental health problems and those caring for them. It won’t completely rid you off your mental or financial problems but it’s a start. It covers quite a lot of ground, in terms of its content; providing information on “how to handle debts when unwell, banks, free debt counselling” and “specific tips for bipolar disorder or depression sufferers”, whether to declare a condition and more.

Sources www.moneysavingexpert.com/credit-cards/mental-health-guide

www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/money-and-mentalhealth/ www.publictrustee.wa.gov.au/_files/financial_impacts_transcript.pdf www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cant-buy-happiness/201308/why-do-shoppingaddicts-keep-spending-their-money www.debtsupporttrust.org.uk/debt-advice/debt-and-suicide www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2546425/Feeling-sad-Then-hit-shops-reallyworks-Buying-makes-people-three-times-happier.html www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/10/06/london-is-the-fifth-most-expensiveplace-in-the-world-to-be-a-st/

#mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 61


IT’S OKAY TO SAY YOU DON’T FEEL OKAY.

Words by Kei Maye

It’s okay to say you don’t feel okay. We are not machines, nor robots and can’t be expected to constantly give and give without taking the time to take stock, reflect and regenerate. It is important for us to find moments of calm in all the chaos taking moments to block out all the noise and take care of ourselves. Don’t pressure yourself to perform if your battery level is low, you’re allowed to take breaks and shouldn’t feel guilty for doing so! A lot of us put pressure on ourselves to produce when our patch of soil is dry, as a result of conditioning ourselves to believe that breaks and rests will only lead to imminent failure. Hey, we are human. You are human. It’s okay to take a day off once in awhile to do nothing but indulge in a Netflix marathon and stuff your face - you owe no explanation for existing in your own space and doing the things you enjoy. In order to do your best, you need to be at your best, and to be at your best, you need to love, nurture and care for yourself. You’re great and you are enough. You are the only you that exists in this galaxy and can achieve all the great things you dream of as long as you are kind to yourself, nourishing your body and soul with all it needs to flourish. Talk to people if you feel the need to offload, don’t bottle it all up and wait for it to explode, slowly open the cap with care, dealing with the burst of fizz in small stages. Another important thing to remember, and what contributed to helping me out of my moments of depression, was knowing that whatever it is you may go (or are going) through - we are never alone. We all have fears, hang ups, sadness, hopes and dreams, in this crazy thing together trying to make the best out of life. There are people out here who understand, and may have similar experiences, so if you’re suffering - please don’t let it be in silence. www.kei-maye.com // @Kei_Maye 62 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


Behind Closed Doors

Find Your Peace

Silent Nights #mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 63


‘TOO MANY BLACKAMOORS’. As Re-enactment Phototherapy by Heather Agyepong.

The work was inspired by a 19th century Carte-de-visite of Lady Sarah Forbes Bonetta. Sarah was the West African adopted goddaughter of Queen Victoria who came to live in England at a young age. The images are based on my own personal experiences as a young black woman, dealing with the macro and micro traumas of racism encountered while travelling around European countries. The format was based around Rosy Martin and Jo Spence’s ‘Re-enactment Phototherapy’. “Phototherapy refers broadly to the use of photographic representations within a context in which the intention is therapeutic: to promote self-awareness and healing. Exploring the self as a series of fictions, as a web of interrelated stories told to us and about us, the simplifications and myths of others, too long accepted as our own histories. The collection of images created will act as a way of exploring traumas and shine a light on them.” I wanted to use Sarah Forbes Bonetta’s story as a template to unpack my own traumatic experiences and reclaim them in a way; by repositing myself within the narrative as an agency of both power & vulnerability. Too Many Blackamoors aims to challenge the “strong, independent, black female” narrative that can burden and often entrap black women. With Sarah as my template, the project attempts to illustrate the effects of such perceptual limitations whilst exploring my own internal conflicts of falling short from such mainstream ideals.

64 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


Too Many Blackamoors, 2015, Heather Agyepong. (Courtesy of the artist/Autograph ABP).

#mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 65


WHY HEALING IS VALUABLE WORK.

Words by Shivani Seth.

Image by Seynabou & Thiam

When I hear people sometimes talk about the value of hard work, it seems as if they are talking about some idealised, beautiful concept instead of the grimy, occasionally horrid reality that work can be. Growing up in the USA, as the daughter of South Asian immigrants, I constantly had impressed upon me the value of hard work. Work as sacred, enshrined in the pantheon of good things, above all things except maybe apple pie. (Note: I love apple pie. It just seems overly exalted. Kind of like work.) Now don’t get me wrong. I enjoy my work. I like feeling productive, in ways that are meaningful to me. But at some point, in this process of learning, I internalised the idea that taking care of myself was not work. It became relegated to the giant pile of things that weren’t “real” work, like talking to people on the phone, writing birthday cards, keeping up with news and other odds and ends. Something that should be done in one’s spare time, after work.

66 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


In fact, I took it a step further. I came to the conclusion that caring for myself was synonymous with avoiding “work” or being lazy or somehow ditching out on the sacred activity of capitalism: working for money or prestige or some related benefit. Somehow, working on my own sanity and self was something that wasn’t worthwhile or needed. Working was more important and by contributing towards someone’s vision of a better humanity, whereas taking care of myself was extra. This continued for years, despite therapy, affirmational posts, tons of self-help books and a myriad of impromptu speeches from friends and family. One day, sitting around, beating myself up about not doing “work” while I was home, I sat down and made a list of all the things I had done in that day that I had not felt were worthy of being called work. This list included: • • • • • •

Emotional labor educating a privileged person on how they should work to educate themselves Planning a trip for myself and another person, where I was trying to put in all the leg work as they were too busy doing the work thing Balancing my checkbook/figuring out my finances and financial goals Answered work-related emails Planning my week Doing a load of dishes

And that wasn’t by any stretch all of it. But somehow, this wasn’t “real” work, even though it took effort, brain power and emotional strength. Now part of this is my socialisation as a South Asian person who was raised with some traditional ideas of what being a woman means and requires as work. (My mom is lovingly feminist, just as a note, but feminism doesn’t guard perfectly against all of the implicit things we are taught as children.) This resulted in me seeing cleaning, remembering birthdays, being a shoulder to others, and maintaining a home as somehow my job, beyond my regular work. It drives me up the wall, cause I am an awesome, unapologetic, third-wave feminist and I’ve always had my mum backing me up on taking care of myself and making sure to put myself first. And yet somehow, replenishing myself didn’t take on the same importance as taking care of someone else in crisis until I was the one in crisis. Now, there are incredible amounts of things we could unpack here: emotional labor, femme liberation, socialisation, and capitalism. But I am going to choose to focus on one portion that I feel intersects all of these.

#mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 67


Healing is work. I’m not saying this as a way of justifying or seeking to perpetuate the unhealthy attitudes that exist around work. We see the impacts every day of the choices our society has made in how we value people and their labor. But what I am seeking is to find a middle path towards change in how we care for ourselves, as we seek to unpack our society’s unspoken ideas about work. Think about healing. It requires guts, determination, a self-awareness about the need, an ability to utilise your strengths and accept your weaknesses as you move towards a goal. What part of that doesn’t sound like a full time job some days? But it’s not treated as such and that’s something we need to address, both within ourselves and within our communities. Why do we beat ourselves into the ground for not being “strong enough” to ignore our trauma or our pain instead of realising that most of us have never had the time, opportunity or ability to heal from it? Viewed through the lens of capitalism, our worth is only so much as the money we make. And according to that doctrine, healing “makes” no money, so it is therefore extra, worthless, something only for downtime. But what if we thought about it differently? What if we considered what healing gives us that is not monetary? What if worth could be more than just money or production? Twitter: @ShivanaSeth05 Facebook: /ShivaniSeth05

68 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


FURTHER RESOURCES. Books. Du Bois, W, E, B, (2016) The Souls of Black Folk Dutton J, Ed (1999) Sowing the Seeds of Cultural Competence: Family Therapy Training for a Multi Ethnic Society. Context Vol 44. London. The Invicta Press Egawa, J (1982) Indigenous healers in Southeast Asian refugee communities Fannon, F (2008), Black Skin, White Masks - New Edition Freudenberger, H. (1974) Staff Burnout. Hazzard, V. & Picot MEd, I. (2015) The Color of Hope: People of Color Mental Health Narratives. Howitt and Owusu-Bempah (1994) The Racism of Psychology: Time for a Change. Kareem J Littlewood R Eds (1999) Intercultural Therapy : Themes, Interpretations and Practice Blackwell science Kunjufu, J, (2005), Developing Positive Self-images and Discipline in Black Children Lago, C,. Thompson, J, (1997). ‘Counselling and Race’ in The Handbook of Counselling in Britain ch 17, pp 285-302. McMahon G Palmer S (Eds) Lago, C,. (2006), Race, Culture and Counselling: The ongoing challenge OUP Marbley, A, F (2011) Multicultural Counseling: Perspectives from Counselors as Clients of Color. Mucherera, T, N, Lartey, E, Y,(2017), Pastoral Care, Health, Healing, and Wholeness in African Contexts: Methodology, Context, and Issues #mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 69


Nakamura, K (2013) A Disability of the Soul: An Ethnography of Schizophrenia and Mental Illness in Contemporary Japan Nandi, A, & Platt, L (2010). Ethnic minority women’s poverty and economic wellbeing. London: Government Equalities Office, HMSO Whanau Kawa Whakaruruhau. (1991). Cultural safety Hui of the Whanau Kawa Whakaruruhau. Rotorua. Palmerston North, New Zealand: PSI Solutions: Apumoana Marae

ESSAYS & JOURNALS Andermahr, S, (2016) Decolonizing Trauma Studies: Trauma and Postcolonialism Ahmad, F., Shik, A., Vanza, R., Cheung, A. M., George, U., & Stewart, D. E. (2005). Voices of South Asian women: immigration and mental health. Women & health, 40(4), 113-130. Brown, T, N (1999) “Being Black and Feeling Blue”: The Mental Health Consequences of Racial Discrimination. Race & Society, Volume 2, Number 2, pages 117–131. Burrell, T, (2010), Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority Carr, S (2014) Social Care for Marginalised Communities: Balancing selforganisation, micro-provision and mainstream support. Health Services Management Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK. Crenshaw, K., (1991). Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color. Stanford law review, pp.1241-1299 Fernando, S (2005) Multicultural Mental Health Services: Projects for Minority Ethnic Communities in England. Griffin, R.A., 2012. I AM an angry Black woman: Black feminist autoethnography, voice, and resistance. Women’s Studies in Communication, 35(2), pp.138-157 70 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


Lamb, J (2011) Access to mental health in primary care: A qualitative metasynthesis of evidence from the experience of people from ‘hard to reach’ groups. Martin, R (2009). Inhabiting the image: photography, therapy and re-enactment phototherapy. European Journal of Psychotherapy & Counselling. Williams, D, R, PhD, Rahwa H, MA, Hector M. González, PhD, Harold Neighbors, PhD, Raymond Baser, MS, and James S. Jackson, PhD (2007). Disentangling Mental Health Disparities: The Mental Health of Black Caribbean Immigrants. American Journal of Public Health. Williams, D, R, Y An Yu, & . Jackson J, S (1997) Racial Differences in Physical and Mental Health: Socio-economic Status, Stress and Discrimination.

PODCASTS Black Girl in Om. (Soundcloud, Itunes) “Welcome to your go to conversation on all things wellness, self-care and selflove for women on colour, hosted by Black Girl in Om founder Lauren Ash and Art Director Deun Ivory. This show uplifts, affirms and informs and features a refreshing line-up of guests - including Yogis, holistic lifestylists, clean beauty experts, and a plethora of other movers, shakers and innovators within the wellness and beauty industries. This buzzworthy show speak directly from women of colour and strives to inspire women around the world.”

Hey Girl, By Alex Elle. (Soundcloud, Itunes) “hey, girl. is a podcast that unites the voices of phenomenal women near and far. Created with sisterhood and storytelling in mind, author Alex Elle sits down with people who inspire her. From friends to family members and strangers, the hey, girl. guests give us a peek into their stories through candid and intimate conversations.” A Different Perspective by Dr. Amber Thornton (Soundcloud, Itunes, Google Play) Dr. Amber Thornton is a clinical psychologist, womanist and writer. She provides “A Different Perspective” for topics related to POC mental health and wellness, psychology, activism, social justice, racial identity, womanism, diversity, multiculturalism, and more. #mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 71


The Courage Makers Podcast “Couragemakers is a weekly podcast for creative and passionate,mission-driven doers, makers and world-shakers designed to inspire and encourage fellow couragemakers, and spark a movement of women who are choosing themselves. Building the life you want and putting stuff in the world takes a boatload of courage, but you don’t have to do it alone. Every Monday, unconventional couragemakers all over the world share their stories, their advice and their dreams as we have honest conversations about everyday courage, living a wholehearted life and dream chasing. We’ve figured out what we don’t want in life, now we’re figuring out what we do want. And we talk about the things that make us feel on fire as well as the monsters that hide under our beds.”

Good Life Project “Inspirational, unfiltered conversations and stories about finding meaning, happiness, purpose, inspiration, creativity, motivation, spirituality, love, confidence and success in life. From iconic world-shakers like Elizabeth Gilbert, Brene Brown, Sir Ken Robinson, Seth Godin and Gretchen Rubin to everyday people, every story matters.”

Meditation Oasis Meditations to help you to relax deeply, be more present and flow more easily with life. We offer a variety of guided meditations with and without music, as well as instructions for meditations you can do on your own. We wish you a peaceful mind and open heart.

Wellbeing Podcasts by The Mental Health Foundations Relevant topics: ‘Mental Health in Students’, ‘Traumatic Events, How Far Do The Effects Spread’, ‘Depression: Are The Right People Being Treated?” As well as mindfulness and stress relieving exercises.

72 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


Twitter users to follow. @MarvinsCorridor @Ubuntugraphy @BGUnscripted @UALAlumni_India @WOWtweetUK @NKrystal @refugeejourno @tweetskindeep @UnmaskedWomen @JJ_Bola @_AlexElle @NKrystal @Kei-Maye

@KayDavisArtist @blackwomenfirst @HeidiMirza @CreativeATX @UALACS @MMentalHealth @SheSpeaksWeHear @BLACKWOMENS @GotToBeReel @Flicks_Thoughts @DrAmberThornton @Clue @DontJustStareUK

Youtubers users to follow. /ShamelessMaya /ShopeDelano /TheGrapevine /MsAllyTaylor /MentalHealthChannel1 /MindWebteam /ttcnow2008

#mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 73


HELPFUL ORGANISATIONS. Cool Tan Arts - www.cooltanarts.org.uk

“CoolTan Arts is an award winning arts in mental health charity run by and for adults with experience of mental health conditions. We believe that mental wellbeing is enhanced by the power of creativity. There’s something for everyone at CoolTan. We run a vibrant community arts centre in Walworth Road, Southwark, South London. We provide a friendly, safe and supportive space, offering creative workshops, self-advocacy, art projects, stigma-busting cultural walks, a public art gallery, and an inclusive volunteering and training programme.”

Action for Trans Health - www.actionfortranshealth.org.uk

Action for Trans* Health seeks to improve trans* people’s access to healthcare

Mental Health Foundation - www.mentalhealth.org.uk

“Our vision is for a world with good mental health for all. Our mission is to help people to thrive through understanding, protecting and sustaining their mental health. The Mental Health Foundation is the UK’s charity for everyone’s mental health. With prevention at the heart of what we do, we aim to find and address the sources of mental health problems. We must make the same progress for the health of our minds that we have achieved for the health of our bodies. And when we do, we will look back and think that this was our time’s greatest contribution to human flourishing.”

Mind - www.mind.org.uk

“We provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. We campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. We won’t give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets support and respect.”

Oya Retreats - www.oyaretreats.com

“OYA Retreats offer women of the African diaspora and women of colour an opportunity to immerse themselves in self-care and self-practice. We honour the intersections of our identities both on the yoga mat and off. Our team is dedicated to providing a sacred space in which all body types have the freedom to experience a fulfilling practice in movement and in stillness.” 74 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


Recovr - www.recovr.co.uk

“We’re here to help young black adults find black therapists and counsellors who relate to their experiences.”

Rest for Resistance - www.restforresistance.com

“Rest for Resistance strives to uplift marginalized communities, those who rarely get access to adequate healthcare or social support. This includes Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Pacific Islander, Asian, Middle Eastern, and multiracial persons. We also seek to create healing space for LGBTQIA + individuals, namely trans & queer people of color, as well as other stigmatized groups such as sex workers, immigrants, persons with physical and/or mental disabilities, and those living at the intersections of all of the above.”

Stress Management Society - www.stress.org.uk

“The Stress Management Society is a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping individuals and companies recognise and reduce stress. Since our inception in 2003, our dream has been to create a happier, healthier, more resilient and sustainable world.”

The British Association for counselling & therapy - www.bacp.co.uk

“The British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP) is a professional body and a registered charity that sets standards for therapeutic practice and provides information for therapists, clients of therapy, and the public.”

The Nightingale Hospital - www.nightingalehospital.co.uk/about-us

“We’re a team of professionals committed to helping people with mental health or emotional problems, eating disorders and addictions. The leading private mental health provider in central London with over 25 years’ experience in mental health.”

Unmasked Women - www.un-masked.com

“Unmasked Women is an exhibition channeling the Black British female experience through creatives. The first theme is health and well-being including an in-depth exploration of our Mental Health.”

Young Minds - www.youngminds.org.uk

“YoungMinds is the UK’s leading charity championing the wellbeing and mental health of young people.”

Don’t Just Stare - dontjuststare.com

‘‘Don’t Just Stare’ is the UK’S new Mental Health platform promoting positive Wellbeing through creativity. Now is the time to beat Mental Health Stigma. DON’T JUST STARE explores the connection between Mental Health & The Arts through a series of events & workshops.’ #mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 75


CONTACTS, SERVICES & SUPPORT GROUPS. UAL Counselling Service 020 7514 6251 counselling@arts.ac.uk Studenthealth@arts.ac.uk

IESO Digital-Health uk.iesohealth.com info@iesohealth.com 01954 230066

Asian Family Counselling Service

Individual, couple and relationship counselling for all members of the South Asian communities above the age of 16. Also see couples where one partner is Asian. www.asianfamilycounselling.org/ Tel: 020 8813 9714 Birmingham office 0121 454 1130 Mon-Fri 9am-5pm Email: afcs@btconnect.com

Asian People’s Disability Alliance

Day Care and Development Centre, Alric Avenue off Bruce Road, London NW10 8RA Information, advice, advocacy and respite day care services to Asian people with disabilities. www.apda.org.uk Tel: 020 8459 1030 Email: info@apda.org.uk

Asian Women’s Resource Centre

Runs a UK-wide multi-lingual advice line in six languages for black, minority, ethnic and refugee women and children. Tackles issues relating to abuse, including domestic and sexual violence, forced marriages, honour based violence and trafficking, and the many interrelated issues such as homelessness, welfare benefits, child contact and immigration. www.asianwomencentre.org.uk Tel: 020 8961 6549 Email: info@asianwomencentre.org.uk 76 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


Bawso

Provides specialist services for BME communities in Wales, including those suffering from domestic abuse and all forms of violence; including female genital mutilation, forced marriage, honour based violence and human trafficking. www.bawso.org.uk Tel: 24 hour helpline 0800 731 8147 Email: info@bawso.org.uk

Black and Asian Therapists Network

UK’s largest independent organisation to specialise in working with Black and Asian clients. Promotes high quality therapy for Black and Asian people, actively supports new therapists into the profession and develops partnerships with institutions and individuals who want to develop their skills with this client group in therapy, supervision and training. Also has online directory of Black and Asian therapists across the UK. www.baatn.org.uk Email: eugene@baatn.org.uk

Chinese Information and Advice Centre www.ciac.co.uk Tel: Advice Helpline 0845 313 1868 Mon-Fri 10am-6pm Email: info@ciac.co.uk

Chinese Mental Health Association

The Chinese Mental Health Association (CMHA) is actively involved in providing direct services, increasing mental health awareness, representing the wide spectrum of Chinese mental health issues in public forums and raising its profile in the overall Chinese community. www.cmha.org.uk Tel: 020 7613 1008 Email: info@cmha.org.uk

Jewish Women’s Aid

Help and information for women experiencing any form of domestic violence and abuse. www.jwa.org.uk Tel: Helpline 0808 801 0500 Mon-Thu 9.30am-9.30pm

#mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 77


Karma Nirvana

Charity that supports victims and survivors of forced marriages and honour-based crimes, and provides information and training for professionals in need of guidance. www.karmanirvana.org.uk Tel: Honour Network Helpline 0800 599 9247

Lambeth Collaborative

We are a group of commissioners, providers of health and social care services and service users and carers. We provide these services for, to and with people when they have a diagnosis of severe mental illness. We comprise organisations from statutory [GP/primary, community and secondary NHS and local authority] and voluntary sectors. We recognise that we are a small but representative sample brought together by the Commissioners to develop a radically new service offer. lambethcollaborative.org.uk/about-the-collaborative

Muslim Community Helpline

Confidential, non-judgemental listening and emotional support service for women, men, youth and children. www.muslimcommunityhelpline.org.uk Tel: 020 8904 8193 or 020 8908 6715 Mon-Fri 10am-1pm Email: ess4m@btinternet.com

Muslim Youth Helpline (MYH)

Provides a free and confidential service run by young Muslims trained in Islamic counselling skills. Also offers live web chat service. www.myh.org.uk Tel: Helpline 0808 808 2008 Mon-Fri 6pm-12am, Sat & Sun 12pm-12am Email: help@myh.org.uk

Nafsiyat Intercultural Therapy Centre

Offers high quality community based intercultural psychotherapy in London www.nafsiyat.org.uk Tel: 020 7263 6947 Mon 9.30am-8.00pm, Tue-Thu 9.30am-5.30pm Email: admin@nafsiyat.org.uk

Refugee Council

Provides free advice for asylum seekers and refugees. www.refugeecouncil.org.uk Tel: General enquiries 020 7346 6700

78 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


Southall Black Sisters

Advice, advocacy and resource centre providing a comprehensive service to women experiencing violence and abuse and other forms of inequality, focused on the needs of black and minority women. www.southallblacksisters.org.uk Tel: Helpline 020 8571 0800 Mon, Wed, Fri 9.30am-4.30pm (closed 12.30pm-1.30pm)

South London Family Centre

Serves people from multi-ethnic and culturally diverse background, providing a range of mediation and counselling services for men, women and children, to support and strengthen family life. www.southlondonfamilycentre.org.uk Tel: 0208 671 5843 Mon-Fri 10am-5pm Email: southlondonfamily@yahoo.co.uk

Students Against Depression

Students Against Depression is a website offering advice, information, guidance and resources to those affected by low mood, depression and suicidal thinking. Alongside clinically-validated information and resources it presents the experiences, strategies and advice of students themselves. www.studentsagainstdepression.org

The Maya Centre

Provides long term counselling and psychological support to vulnerable women, who have experienced severe trauma through domestic violence, abuse in childhood or overseas in war and conflict, or who are living with FGM. www.mayacentre.org.uk Tel: Referral line 020 7272 0995; General enquiries 020 7281 8970 Email: admin@mayacentre.org.uk

#mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 79


UPCOMING EVENTS. Anna Sui In Conversation

LCF, 20 John Princes Street, W1B 0BJ 23/5/17 6pm - 7.15pm Free Since her first runway show in 1991, modelled by Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington, Sui has offered her own brand of catwalk rebellion. From her iconic babydoll dresses to rock ‘n’ roll androgyny, her references might be popular and playful, but her drive and vision have remained consistent: she has never pandered to anyone’s expectations.

Late at Tate: Queer British Art Tate Britain, Millbank, SW1P 4RG 2/6/17 - 24/6/17 Free

Bring your friends, check out an amazing mix of artworks, have a drink and a bite to eat. It’s free to get in, a great atmosphere with a relaxed immersive mix of sound and visuals, hands-on making activities and intriguing discussion all curated exclusively by 15−25 year olds from Tate Collective London. This Late at Tate explores what queerness means to many Londoners today.

The Reuse of Film and Photographic Images in Postcolonial Southeast Asia SOAS, Bloomsbury, WC1H 0XG 22/6/17 - 23/6/17 6pm - 8pm Free

Taking its lead from these recent developments, this symposium will explore the ways in which colonial and postcolonial film and photographic archives have been rearticulated within a range of Southeast Asian political and aesthetic contexts. How have artists and filmmakers sought to subvert existing power relations through the use of colonial images?

80 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.


Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TJ 1 2 / 7/ 1 7 Free

The show opens in 1963 at the height of the Civil Rights movement and its dreams of integration. In its wake emerged more militant calls for Black Power: a rallying cry for African American pride, autonomy and solidarity, drawing inspiration from newly independent African nations.

Fighting Proud: The Untold Story of the Gay Men Who Served in Two World Wars LSE, Houghton Street, WC2A 2AE 27/7/17 6.30pm - 8.30pm Free

Come hear Stephen Bourne talk about his latest book Fighting Proud, which explores some of the untold stories of the gay men who served in two world wars. These include Lord Kitchener, Battle of Britain hero Ian Gleed, writer Hector Bolitho, Police Constable Harry Daley, Noel Coward and bandleader Ken “Snakehips” Johnson

#mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 81


PHASE FOUR ZINES. You can now access all of our previous Terms of Reference (ToR) Zines from Phase Three and Four on our website at: shadesofnoir.org.uk/terms-of-reference-zines/ All of our Zines are packed with informative resources that supplement our events. They are a great tool for curriculum development and/or dissertation writing! Enjoy.

Queer Bodies

Decoding Masculinity

Who Am I?

Intersectional Film

82 // MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING.

Women & Non-Binary Identities


WITH THANKS TO. OUR PANELISTS & CONTRIBUTORS. Phase 4 Shades of Noir Team Panelists & Chair: Jay Kirton. Marie Kan. Michael Forfieh. Tiffany Webster.

Contributors: Mahaneela Choudhury-Reid Marie Kan Bee Tajudeen Kei Maye Shivani Seth Heather Agyepong Tiffany Webster. Katy Jalili Michael Ukaegbu Charisse Chikwiri

OUR SUPPORTER.

#mentalhealth #sonevents.

MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVE HEALING. // 83


W: shadesofnoir.org.uk E: info@shadesofnoir.org.uk Tw: @shadesofnoir • Fb: shadesofnoir

WE SALUTE YOU!

Mental Health & Creative Healing © Shades of Noir 2017

Shades of Noir: Mental Health & Creative Healing  

“What does well-being look like for young ethnic minorities in the creative world? How do we go about approaching mental health issues, sel...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you