Here you can find information about all the news and events that have been published on this website.
Here you can find information about all the news and events that have been published on this website.
Finding Space and Sanctuary is the fifth Compassionate Mental Health gathering, and the first to be held outside of Wales. As with previous events, they are bringing together a wide cross section of people with a shared interest to bring about transformation in the way we live and work with mental health crises and distress.
Once again they’ve gathering influential speakers who are passionate about changing the script around mental health, challenging stigma and raising expectations.
At this three day they want to challenge the myth of mental illness as a disease for life, and call for a more compassionate, trauma informed approach to mental distress. Ultimately they hope to work with others to inspire a new more wholesome psychiatry, with safe, healing mental health services that people want to use when they are in crisis. For more information and booking details go here
Continuing her series of articles about spirituality and hearing voices, Jane Fisher discusses the spiritual benefits of spending time in nature:
There is a reason why so many healing and spiritual retreats take place by the sea or in the mountains. Nature has been found to almost instantly reduce stress levels, leading the mind gently to ‘the present moment’ owing to its often majestic, pristine beauty. A recent study by researchers found that living close to nature and spending time outside reduces the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and premature death, but can it help us feel closer to the universal life force and remove us from the stigma associated with hearing voices?
Nature As A Way to Avoid Stigma
Hearing voices can be an important aspect of people’s religious and spiritual life. As noted by Dr. Angela Woods of Durham University, “Many people immediately link voice-hearing with particular forms of distress or psychiatric diagnoses, but 5-15% of the general population will have occasional or fleeting occurrences of hearing voices.” These can serve one’s mental health positively by encouraging self-reflection on the messages they convey, yet their meaning can be lost in the ‘noise’ of everyday life. Spending time in nature can create the relaxed, quiet space the mind needs to listen to these voices and interpret what they are trying to say in a visionary way.
Carl Jung on the Importance of Nature
Psychologists like Carl Jung and nature experts like Richard Louv share one common view: the idea that time spent reconnecting with nature is a profound investment in one’s spiritual health. For Jung, life in urban surroundings caused human beings to feel small, insignificant, and alone. It was only in the presence of nature that one could feel expansive, like part of a greater and magnificent energy that unites all human beings.
Restoring the Sense of Wonder
For Louv, children have a spiritual necessity we deprive them of when we remove them from the Great Outdoors. The root of all spiritual life, he says, is that early sense of wonder. He notes: “There is another world. When a child listens to the leaves in the trees, they sense something bigger than their parents’ problems. That’s more important than keeping grade averages up.” Louv talks about turning over a rock and finding an entire universe: that of bugs living underneath. It is the same when one tends to bumblebees and discovers their rich and complicated social systems or observes the complex patterns of flight of a flock of birds. Nature instills a sense of marvel and as such whizzes us into a deeply mindful state – one in which, for one moment of the day, we give ourselves fully to the present moment.
Nature as a Stress Reliever
In order to feel at one with God or a universal energy, it is important for the mind and heart to reach a calm, still state. Nature can help us reach this place in a matter of minutes. One study found that forest bathing – a popular practice in Japan which involves walking through a forest or green area while opening our senses to its wondrous sights, sounds, and textures, brings about a significant drop in levels of stress hormone, cortisol. Another found that simply listening to the sounds of nature (a burbling brook, the wind through the trees, waves crashing to the shore) affects bodily systems that control the fight or flight response.
Nature Helps Kids Too
A fascinating study published by scientists at Michigan State University found that children who spend time outdoors can have a stronger sense of self-fulfillment and purpose than those who do not. Those who spend five to 10 hours per week outside said they felt a spiritual connection to the earth and a responsibility to protect it. These kid also had heightened aesthetic values. They had a deeper appreciation of characteristics like balance and symmetry, order and wonder, and a fascination with natural structures such as bees’ nests!
Nature leads us into the right frame of mind to feel more connected to humanity and the Earth but also puts the mind in the right state to listen to voices that can be healing, visionary, or soothing. This phenomenon affects both adults and children in many ways. If you wish to deepen your spirituality, do as Jung suggested; break free of the stress of everyday life for a few magical moments a day and receive the profound messages that nature is ready to give.
#EmergingProud is a grassroots film made from a compilation of interview clips conducted by Katie Mottram, and clips sent in by people wanting to share their stories for the campaign. The #EmergingProud campaign aims to reframe so called ‘madness’ as the catalyst for a positive transformation, if properly supported and validated. This film was made possible thanks to those who #EmergedProud to share their personal stories, and the donations of the music and artwork featured in the film. The aim is to provide HOPE to those going through psychological distress and difficult process, to show that there can be a benefit to be gained through the pain.
“This is more than a movie, this is a movement! A new paradigm of mental health and human awareness is emerging and these are some of the pioneering voices heralding that change. I watched the Emerging Proud film with tears in my eyes thinking of the lives that will be saved and of the possibilities and gifts made available when human transformation is managed well. And this is just the beginning…..” – Kimberley Jones, UK.
“Emerging Proud is an important contribution toward our understanding of what society labels as ‘psychosis’ or ‘serious mental illness.’ The subjects profiled in Katie Mottram’s film embody a clear and direct link to the spiritual nature of these experiences for many people. It’s time we start listening, there is so much to learn.” – PJ Moynihan, Producer/Director, Healing Voices
Visit the Emerging Proud website here
Hearing Voices Cymru have placed an advertisement on Radio Pembrokeshire announcing the formation of the new With Voices in Mind Group that meets in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire
Listen to the announcement here:
This is the text for the announcement:
“Do you hear voices?
Voices from inside or outside your head that others cannot hear?
You are not alone.
Hearing voices is a common human experience.
You are not crazy. But the experience may be upsetting and frightening.
If it is, you are welcome to join us.
We are “With Voices in Mind”.
A friendly space where you can share your experience with other people who hear voices.
We meet monthly in Haverfordwest.
Would you like to join us?
For more information contact Josie on 01437 763626 or visit our website hearingvoicescymru.org.”
This article is by Will Tottle. He explores how Music and mental health are deeply connected, and is something that we all feel a bond with. It resonates with the deepest part of our very being, and it has the power to lift us from even the most crippling levels of darkness and despair. Music is a way to feel new emotions and process ones that you are having difficulty with, and while the art of listening to music in order to improve your mental health is one with a few rules, it is ultimately one of the best choices. Here are some of the ways that music might be able to help your mental health.
Music and Anxiety
Anxiety can be a tough one to beat, especially if you can’t shake the feeling of impending doom or crippling fear. However, when you listen to music, you get taken to a whole new plane of existence where you can relax a little and let the rhythm take you. It lowers your cortisol levels, decreasing blood pressure, heart rate, and stress, keeping you calm and tranquil. The longer you spend sitting back and listening to tunes, the better you will end up feeling.
Music and Depression
When you are stuck in a rut and depression kicks in it can be all-consuming. It’s not pleasant, and it can be even harder to break out of. Depression means that you have an imbalance of serotonin in the brain, and music can help to produce more of it – boosting your mood even in the smallest way. If you take some time to relax and listen to the music, the songs will help to make you feel happier inside, calming you down and just letting you forget everything except for the song that is playing.
The Best Music to Listen to
The next question, of course, is the music that you should be listening to. What is the best genre or style? Are the songs you listen to at the moment enough? There is something for every kind of mental health issue, but as that would take a while to get through, we’re just going to take a quick look at the best music for anxiety and depression.
For anxiety, Marconi Union’s Weightless is the perfect song. It is made up of a series of harmonies that have been carefully arranged and consist of beats and rhythms that have been designed to slow your heart rate and reduce the amount of cortisol being produced by your body. Similarly, music with a slow and steady beat will work just as well.
If you are listening to music while feeling depressed, research shows that sad songs are not what you should be playing. You may love them, but they could be making you feel worse instead of better. They can lower your mood, and so the best choice would be to play something that is more upbeat and positive.
If you take a look at the research, it is clear that music can be incredibly helpful when we are suffering as a result of our mental health conditions. It can be hard to try and overcome them, but managing your mental health is the first step towards success. Music leaves you feeling calmer, with a clearer mind that is ready for action.
If this a topic that you found interesting, or one that you would like to learn more about, we have written a detailed article on mental health, music, and the effect it has. It’s worth having a look at, and you can learn so much about it.
About the Author
Will Tottle is a freelance writer & blogger. If you are interested in more information on music therapy, audio guides and gear reviews, be sure to check out Will’s audio guides here.
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“…. Another thing happened that I’ve only talked about once or twice in my life,” he breezily continues of that fateful night. “I have some form of synaesthesia because I always have music in my head. It drives my girlfriend crazy because I go home and have to turn the television on because I can’t sleep in a quiet environment. Right now, talking to you is the distraction from the composition going on in my head. When I went to that disco, it was the first time I heard continuous music just like the one in my head. I didn’t know how to explain it to my girlfriend. It was a miracle to me.”
See full article here
Published: Independent Ireland, 26th August 2018
Click on the link to listen to the programme: The Reunion
In the early 1970s, children with severe learning disabilities were often hidden away in institutions and sent to “special” schools, away from their peers. No-one expected anything of them. Conditions like dyslexia and autism, although named and identified, were rarely diagnosed and sufferers were often seen as “problem children”.
In 1974, Jo Collins and Mary Ward identified a common interest in treating all children as individuals, not labels. A disused chicken shed, owned by an impoverished aristocrat, became the base for their new theatre company. That summer, Chickenshed Theatre was named most promising new company by The Stage newspaper.
It took some years for the company to become fully inclusive. But, when it did, the results were astonishing. Able-bodied and disabled actors, dancers and singers created what theatre director Trevor Nunn described as “a glimpse of a more perfect world”, a utopia where everyone’s individuality was celebrated, not hidden.
Famous names including Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins were bowled over by the quality of the performances. Princess Diana became a patron and got to know many of the young actors.
A girl in a wheelchair could dance through the air, a young woman who could not speak became a gifted songwriter and a young man from the wrong side of the tracks chose to become a dancer rather than a jailbird.
Joining Sue to look back on the pioneering work of Chickenshed are founders Jo Collins and Mary Ward, actor Simon Callow and former Chickenshed members Lucia Bellini, Emma Cambridge and Jessica Wall.
BBC Radio 4, 2nd September 2018
“To stand in the corridor of a crowded locked ward in a contemporary British mental hospital” writes Will Self, “is still to feel oneself closer to Hogarth’s hellish vision of Bedlam, than any enlightened healthcare”. Will tells the disturbing story of what happened to a friend, recently detained in a London psychiatric hospital.
A Point Of View by Will Self: BBC Radio Four, 2nd September 2018
You can listen to the programme here
First shown on BBC 3 in May 2018, this thoughtful documentary about three people who hear voices was broadcast again on 10th July and is now available on BBC iplayer for the next four months.
Hearing the Voice has been working with members of the voice-hearing community to develop Understanding Voices – a new web resource to help people ﬁnd clear, balanced and comprehensive information about voice-hearing. Over the past ten months, we’ve run online surveys, and consultation events and workshops in London, Bradford, Manchester and the North East, in order to design a site that is as useful as possible.
These contributions have played an invaluable role in the development of Understanding Voices, and we want to thank you for all your hard work so far.As part of the next step for Understanding Voices, we’d like to invite the friends and family members of voice-hearers to complete our latest online survey. The questions themselves arose through the consultation process, as a result of comments made by participants.
Your answers will allow us to further refine Understanding Voices, and provide clear and accessible information for both voice-hearers and supporters like you.
You can raed more by clicking here Understanding Voices: Family and Friends Online Survey
The survey can be found here.
Source: Hearing the Voices (UK), 8th August 2018
Continuing her series of articles about hearing voices, Jane Fisher discusses coping with change by introducing new life into your home
Coping With Change By Introducing New Life Into Your Home
39,000 individuals throughout England and Wales consider themselves to be Spiritualists. As a Spiritualist, your home is so much more than bricks and mortar. It’s an environment to encourage adaptation and new life and an opportunity to enhance your wellbeing following a life changing event. During such a time, it’s common to hear voices and you may benefit from introducing a pet to boost your mental health and to help deal with your reaction to these voices. Embracing alternative souls can be the optimum path to mental wellness.
Bringing houseplants into the home
Houseplants promise to bring cycles of life and spirit. As spring rolls around, a reminder of new life is experienced as plants begin to grow. What starts from nothing more than a seed will transform into a blossoming plant. However, you’ll meet obstacles along the way, just as you will personally, possibly in the form of voices. There will be times when your plant fails to thrive and cutting it right back to nearly nothing is the only thing to do. Yet, this is a reminder that with patience, care and belief, you’ll make it through the other side and that the voices will subside.
The human body consists of between 55 and 60% water, proving that it is a vital source of life. Everything on earth requires water to survive and its role in spiritualism has been practiced for years. Historically, African communities respected bodies of water as a spirituality source. The now Lake Victoria was previously named Nalubaale, which translates to the home of spirituality. Therefore, bringing water into your personal living environment is the simplest way to appreciate the treasures that you have. Additionally, by introducing aquatic life into your home by installing a fish tank, you’ll reap the benefits of both water and marine life. Fish have a strong connection to spiritualism and are cited multiple times in the bible. They are strongly associated with faith and will support you through the challenge of hearing voices.
Let there be light
Light has significant spiritual meaning and is most frequently associated with guardian angels. It is widely documented that God created light before anything else. Light, like water, is a source the world simply can’t survive without. Plants need light in order to feed themselves. Meanwhile, human nature and animals rely on plants for energy. Therefore, a home full of bright light is the key to connecting with spirits and for a peaceful and satisfying living environment.
Spirituality is a powerful source to assist you in adapting following a challenging life event and in dealing with the voices that come hand in hand with such emotions. By introducing spiritual sources into your home environment via plants, water, fish and light, a sense of comfort and support will guide you through any obstacle.
The Intervoice Board is proud to announce the 2018 Intervoice Awards as an opportunity to honour the diversity and dedication of the community of which we are part. These awards are just one way to highlight some of the people, groups, projects and organisations who contribute towards making the world a better place for those of us who hear voices, see visions or have other related phenomena.
Please consider making one or more nominations for those that have contributed to the growth and developement of Hearing Voices locally and around the world!
Find out more here
Scrolling over the words “nomination form” will lead to you to the submission page.
Thanks so much for being a part of this vital movement!
The members of the Intervoice Board
The Rt Rev Dr David Walker was a recent contributor on Thought for the Day, a daily slot on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 offering “reflections from a faith perspective on issues and people in the news” broadcast at around 7:45 each Monday to Saturday morning. This contribution concerns homelessness, mental health, making connections and working together with homeless people to find solutions.
“I first met Jonny in 2013. All day, most days, he sat by the entrance to the car park I use. A paper cup stood in front of him, ready to receive any coins passers-by wished to donate. I struggled to know how to respond. If I acknowledged his presence, would I feel obliged to drop some money into his cup, even though most charities say that’s a bad idea? So I went back to something close to the core of my faith, the story of a young man named Francis from Assisi who met a leper one day. Francis was fearful, even disgusted, but knew that he had to greet and serve the man as he would Jesus Christ himself. He approached the leper, embraced him, and it changed Francis’s life. I took courage, struck up a conversation with Jonny, as I’ve chosen to call him. And my life was changed too.
Over the next couple of years, we became friends. We talked about our shared love for detective fiction, discussed the life of our city and chatted, as the British invariably do, about the weather. Somewhere along the line, a local GP practice found him a Community Psychiatric Nurse. Jonny became adamant that his homelessness and his mental health issues needed to be resolved in tandem. Abandoning him with a set of keys to a flat would not be enough. But then one day he just wasn’t around anymore.
I said that my life changed too. I now chair the Manchester Homelessness Partnership. I spoke recently at the launch of Cause and Consequence, a report into the two way link between Mental Health and Homelessness in Manchester. What’s different about this report is that it’s been written by a group who really know what mental illness on the streets is like, because many of them have been there. We call that co-production. It’s a rule we stick to in all our Manchester work on homelessness. It also explains why it’s probably the most practical report I’ve ever read.
Last week, this programme led with the news that a hundred million pounds will be set aside to eradicate rough sleeping over the next decade. Around a third of it will be targeted on Mental Health. Money alone isn’t going to solve the problem, but it does add fuel to the engine of co-production. Allowing responses to this problem to be led by the expertise of rough sleepers may be the breakthrough moment.
Earlier this year I met Jonny again. Now living in a Housing scheme where he’s getting support to manage independently. Seeing his smile re-energised my commitment. I want to work for a better future for him, and for all still sleeping on our streets.”
You can listen to the talk here BBC Radio 4, Today Programme, 17th August 2018
1. “Working at the JobCentre has to be a tense job – knowing that if you get fired, you still have to come in the next day” – Adam Rowe
2. “I had a job drilling holes for water – it was well boring” – Leo Kearse
3. “I took out a loan to pay for an exorcism. If I don’t pay it back, I’m going to get repossessed” – Olaf Falafel
4. “In my last relationship, I hated being treated like a piece of meat. She was a vegan and refused to touch me” – Daniel Audritt
5. “What do colour blind people do when they are told to eat their greens?” – Flo and Joan
6. “I’ve got a new job collecting all the jumpers left in the park at the weekends, but it’s not easy. They keep moving the goalposts” – Darren Walsh
7. “Trump said he’d build a wall but he hasn’t even picked up a brick. He’s just another middle-aged man failing on a DIY project” – Justin Moorhouse
8= “I lost a friend after we had an argument about the Tardis. I thought it was a little thing, but it seemed much bigger once we got into it” – Adele Cliff
8= “Why are they calling it Brexit and not The Great British Break Off?” – Alex Edelman
10. “I think love is like central heating. You turn it on before guests arrive and pretend it’s like this all the time” – Laura Lexx
Continuing her series of articles about hearing voices, Jane Fisher considers a therapeutic approach to hearing voices following brain injury.
Nearly 1.5 million people in the United Kingdom experience traumatic brain injury every year. One of the many possible symptoms of traumatic brain injury is hearing voices. Most of us have what we call an inner voice, which is often a manifestation of our conscience, but some people have an additional voice that their brain perceives inside their head. Hearing voices can have long-term effects that can be particularly difficult to cope with; however, with the support of loved ones and therapy, symptoms can become manageable and the individuals who hear voices and the voices themselves can learn to live together harmoniously.
The concentration of this therapy is to promote personal control over the experience of hearing voices with the use of easily accessible devices such as tape-recorders, iPods or MP3 players. In this particular study, the individuals were asked to record their own inner voices while listening to a wide range of external stimuli. The study concluded that absolute music was the most effective external stimuli because it lessened the frequency and severity of the voices to the greatest effect. This type of therapy is manageable and efficient because it can be self-controlled. Individuals who hear voices can bring their music with them anywhere they go to help reduce the severity and frequency of their symptoms.
While this therapy is still in its infancy stages as far as practice is concerned since it has only been conducted in trails, in time, it could have revolutionary results. Avatar therapy proposes to create a create a three-dimensional manifestation (or Avatar) out of the voice inside the individual’s head. This manifestation will then be projected on a screen and the individual can communicate with it in order to better understand and respond to it. The therapist will be a third-party guest or host of sorts, there to monitor the conversation and improve the relationship between the individual and the manifestation of their inner voice. The trial runs have yielded positive results, as there was reportedly a significant reduction in the severity of symptoms when tried over a twelve-week period.
One significant reason why this particular therapy could prove to be revolutionary is because the inner voice often presents itself as overbearing. There is an element of fear in the unknown in a voice that stands alone; however, this therapy proposes to put a body and a face to that fear and help to build a more positive relationship between the individual and the voice in their head. Hopefully, avatar therapy is just one of the many ways that we will be able to use technology in the near future to assist those who experience traumatic brain injury.
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