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Exchange Bar and Curve Theatre


let’s end mental health discrimination

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Leicester City



Group News 2013

14 November 2013. Tania and Jan went to the People's Photographic Gallery to see an exhibition of photographs and poetry by Nottingham-based Villayat 'Wolf' Sunkmanitu, an ex-serviceman who suffers from PTSD.

Villayat ‘Snowmoon Wolf’ Sunkmanitu is of Asian origin and grew up in Highfields where he attended Moat Boys School before joining the Armed Forces. So he already knew a lot about coping with prejudice, discrimination and stigma before he developed post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after his time serving his country. He says there is so very little coverage given to Black or Asian Service People in this respect.

Wolf uses his photography and poetry to challenge disability and raise awareness through creativity. He likes to travel the world taking amazing photographs of volcanoes, mountains and of course wolves, as a way to escape his PTSD. His poetry provides another route of escape, helping him to get his many experiences out there. Both are beautifully displayed in his current exhibition, Living with PTSD, at the People’s Photographic Gallery corner of Wellington St and Belvoir St, which runs until 30th November.


Challenging Stigma among Asian Women.

This session was run by Bev King (Time to Change East Midlands Co-ordinator) at BBC Radio Leicester, 4 - 6 on Friday 8th November.

It was good for those present to be able to share their experiences and talk about ways forward, in an area that has often been taboo.


On Monday 4th November 5 of us attended a 'Making a Difference' session at the Exchange. Following brief introductions, we developed lists of our targets and then chose the most important one for us. We then developed these into SMART goals working in 3s.

It was felt this sort of training might be useful for new members in the future.


On 8 october I went to a National Survivors User Network meeting in Leicester. It was packed. It was opened by Jon Ashworth MP. After a day in which the 70 - 80 people there were unanimous that there is an urgent need for decent, appropriate crisis provision in the area ('step up' and 'step down' - as an alternative to admission to an acute unit or as part of the discharge process) AND that this needed to be led by users, supported by the voluntary sector, not by bureaucrats or experts, as this is OUR lives we are talking about. The day was closed by Rory Palmer, Chair of the Health and WellBeing Board at Leic CC, who agreed totally.

On Wed 30th Nov I went to the NSUN National AGM which was handily held at the Curve in Leicester. The photo above is of a diva dance performed by members of the Savera group (It''s dark because they put the lights out). Having discovered that they have £26,000+ in their reserves I asked whether they had considered giving small start up grants out to new groups and they said they would think about this.


21 October 2013. The monthly meeting at the Exchange Bar was attended by 7 people, including 2 newcomers. The draft constitution was considered and a set of objectives for the group was agreed. The committee will now work on the rest of the draft between now and the next meeting.


11 October 2013. Tania sends us her own take on the Sabras Radio interview...

On the 9th of October Jan Wild-Grant and myself Tania Shah went to Sabras Radio Station. We did a Leicester Time to Change awareness interview with a very nice presenter called Amber. Sabras Radio is based in Belgrave, Leicester and has listeners all over the East Midlands. This interview was very important to Leicester Time to Change as we wanted to reach out to all diverse communities and cultures, especially the Asian community, where mental health is still very much a taboo.

For me this interview was quite personal as my background is Asian and as I was a victim of discimination from my own community, I felt it was time to try and break some barriers.

I am grateful to Jan for holding my hand on the day of the interview because deep down I had reservations and was scared - a lot of thoughts went through my head. I was surprised I didn't have a panic attack.

Once the interview started and Jan had started speaking about what Leicester Time to Change is all about I, found my hidden strength came out after being given the opportunity to speak about my own experiences.

I thought that one way we could get people to take us seriously and be able to understand me was to use my mother tongue, which is Urdu and is very similar to Hindi. I think speaking about my own experiences in a language that the majority of listeners understood brought a really good response. I still find it hard to believe that while we were still at the radio station my phone started ringing non-stop!

It was amazing to know that a lot of listeners were grateful to Leicester Time to Change for putting together such an informative programme. Many callers appreciated my speaking to them in a language they understood and they opened up about their experiences and discrimination against them. They have all been reassured that Leicester Time to Change have their doors open for all and we shall try to accommodate whatever language they speak. They just need to take the first step by coming to our group meetings.


7 October 2013. Tania and I (Jan) held an LTTC stall at the African Caribbean Centre on St Peters Road.

Started with the AGM and then loads of stalls and lots of talking. We did well with our raffle (until someone stole the prize, but I had another) and the lucky number is Ivy Hamilton so I shall ring her with the good news. Met loads of people whom I knew from 30 years ago!

Now we have petty cash to pay fares etc, so let us know if you get a bus to come along to something.

Tania excelled herself with a long conversation with a Hindi speaker (she speaks Urdu) towards the end, who had suffered the Asian traditions of taboo around mental health for many years and became very emotional. He gave us a donation of £5. Hope we see him again soon.


5 October 2013. Bright Sparks Arts in Mental Health - brilliant evening at the Guildhall organised by Tim and Lydia. Lots of performers all doing one or 2 songs, poems, musical items and free food. No photos to upload as my camera flash wasn't good enough but if Lydia would like to send some she can just mail them to us. Also we can put poems etc in the Arts page.


19th September 2013. Tania and Jan went to BBC Radio Leicester to be interviewed by Rupal on the Lunchtime programme. We spoke for about 10 minutes, and she was a brilliant interviewer. You can catch it again for the next 7 days on BBC iplayer, about 2 hours 15 mins into the programme.

We've already had a text about the interview, and an email from someone interested in joining the group - and it's only 2 hours later! We left pens, badges, leaflets and a lovely bag at reception so if you are near there call in and see if they are still there.


10 September 2013. An event was held at the Y theatre in support of World Suicide Awareness Day. The event was opened by Mike Wilbur of the Suicide Awareness Partnership Training. Various organisations had stalls in the bar and auditorium areas - Leicester Time to Change, LAMP, LGBT and others.

Entertainment was provide by singers Gren Bartley (pictured) and Eliza Wren Payne.


1 September 2013. A contributor has provided us with the following snippet (E-news Issue 5) from Healthwatch Leicester concerning the furore surrounding the Bradgate Mental Health Unit:

"Philip Parkinson, Interim Chair, has issued the following press statement about the issues identified by the Care Quality Commission at the Bradgate Unit a month ago.

We are very concerned about the issues that the Care Quality Commission identified on its unannounced visit to the Bradgate Unit a month ago. Over the past two years there has been one incident after another, following which measures were put in place to remedy matters apparently without success. The Bradgate Unit caters for some of the most vulnerable people and their safety must have the highest priority.

Patients have been badly let down and steps must be taken to put in place a consistent, reliable programme of care that reassures patients, their loved ones and the wider public that this is not only of the highest standard but also sustainable and consistent.

Healthwatch Leicester are concerned about the sustainability and resilience of the measures that Leicestershire Partnership Trust has put in place in recent months. Future plans must address the serious shortcomings identified and have to be deliverable, achievable and measurable with clear time lines.

Sustainability and external monitoring is the key (sic) to restoring confidence."


1 September 2013. Saturday 31 August saw Leicester's annual Pride Festival at Victoria Park. Plenty to do and see - entertainment, food, booze, stalls and fairground rides. Also, the weather was great. It has to be said, however, that the organisers badly underestimated the number of portaloos that would be needed.

Jan was there promoting Leicester Time to Change, giving out goodies and chatting to lots of people, helped by husband Pete and friend Ambrose. This time she managed to hijack a whole table in the LGBT tent. See the photos page for a load of pictures.


26 August 2013. Leicester City Fete and Mela. A lovely sunny day for it. The city centre and market were taken over by all sorts of stalls, including loads of yummy Asian food outlets, amusements and entertainment of various sorts. The guy on the right has a lovely hat, but he could have done with a size or two larger. Never mind. Maybe he should have taken his wife with him to the hat shop.

Jan hijacked a corner of the Rethink Mental Health tent on Gallowtree Gate and dispensed Time to Change leaflets, postcards, pens and badges to the public at large.

Note that they made her wear one of their T-shirts.

See the photos page for a selection of pictures taken around the city centre.

Group News
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