Frank Turner visited Kingston (again) back in May 2018 for a Banquet records show, We all were a little worried, at the time his mate Scott Hutchison – Frightened Rabbit’s front man was missing. The band had posted this earlier in the week
“We are worried about Scott, who has been missing for a little while now. He may be in a fragile state and may not be making the best decisions for himself right now.”
I can’t imagine what was going though Frank Turners head at the time, but he soldiered on, determined to give the audience what they had turned up for. We had asked if he would say a few words on camera about mental health but under the circumstances we didn’t push it. But Frank being Frank finished his sound check and strolled over and introduced himself.
Here is his interview .. full of kindness, hope and understanding. A truly great guy, and a wonderful musician, such compassion for music, music fans, and for people who struggle.
He played his heart out during the gig, most unaware of his personal struggle at the time.
Scott’s body was discovered a few days after our interview, he had tragically taken his own life.
Tiny Changes was set up by his friends and family to help support other young people who find it tough sometimes.
Little Changes … filmed by our amazing volunteers. lets hope we can film more shows very soon.
Hello my name is Kevin… I suffer with a mental illness… please don’t be scared of me I’m not crazy I’m just a little off balance sometimes… if I go quiet don’t worry I’m not going to jump, If I’m manic then just laugh at my jokes.
My poor folks where so worried about me the other day and my mum was scared that I was going to go the way of Robin Williams because she said I was manic and up and down but I use my #groundingtechniques and I take a deep breath before I leave the house and try my hardest to go forward.
I promise I’ll never lash out or get physical I just take a step back and collect my thoughts – I sometimes take a day or so to reply or a few hours but please don’t take this as me being a rude it’s because I care about my response and i also have to slow down my brain and my eyes – this isn’t fun not one F**king bit and most of this is brought upon by my own doings.
But I’m also learning and I’m getting better – I promise… Positive mental health is the answer… But I also wouldn’t half mind a farm somewhere out there I think that’s be nice 😃 If you didn’t think I was mental already then you’ll definitely think it now.
Every day before I leave my room I ground using the 5 rules of and it works – well most of the time l, sometimes my brain is going too fast I feel like a child and not a 40 year old man (well ManBoi ha!)
5 things you can see, around you, it can be literally anything you can see.
4 things you can touch, feeling the ground beneath your feet is a good one to start with.
3 things you can hear, id love to say bird somg but more often than not its next doors washing machine
2 things you can smell, the shampoo you use, or the hand sanitiser you have.
1 thing you can taste, what taste is in your mouth right now?
There are no right answers to any of this of course and there are lots of different grounding techniques you can try. Found a few here that might help Click link
It can be tough sometimes to keep striving for your goals, even simply things can feel daunting. Don’t loose heart, looking at solutions rather than the problem is a great way to keep moving, even if sometime it feels like its going sidewise.
It can be frustrating when what we think will happen and what actually happens are different. This happened to us a few weeks ago.
We had the idea to film squirrels in Kington upon Thames, with a tiny shopping trolley we had. This is how we imagined it …
And the reality of turning up with food in a beautiful church yard.
Who knew that pigeons bossed around squirrels and enjoyed eating peanuts? But we tried, failed, and tried again. Half a bag of peanuts later it finally happened. So excited that it had happened, and proud that we had stuck at it. would have been easy to give up but we didn’t.
Of course we know that feeding squirrels isn’t actually that important, But challenges we all face each day are. So keep trying, keep throwing your own peanuts around until you make a break through. It can take time and be frustrating but it’s well worth it in the end.
When I engage in art making I relax. I enter my happy place where I can stay for hours without realising the time passing. You can try to. You do not need to have any artistic talent to benefit from creative activities.
The process of making is enough to offer some healing and tranquillity. You do not need to even create any masterpiece or anything at all, you can just simply play with patterns, colours or just doodle.
You can also keep it to yourself, you do not need to show it to the world. I personally have an art journal, a sketchbook, where I just try things out, doodle, make a note of a motivational quote and decorate a page with it and treat it as a form of diary which I engage with at least for 10-15 min. a day. You can have a diary like that too.
I have also participated in making a short video about my art with fellow champions from Time to Change Greenwich Hub, to show how art may start a meaningful conversation about mental health.
My name is Dorota Chioma, and I am a self-taught artist based in London, who explores the varying states concerning the mind and mental health. I am also an active Time to Change Champion, who created the Venusian Guide to Kingston – Mental Health Zine as a project for TTC Kingston Hub.
I have created this publication as I believe that amazing stories of advocacy about mental health and attempts to break the stigma around this topic, need to be shared.
There is so much happening across the U.K. on this particular battle field and there are amazing people, heroes, who are making a change for better.
There is so much bad news around us which overshadow the aspects of kindness, resilience in fighting against all odds, bravery in sharing own stories of hardship in order to help others feel that they are not alone. Particularly in the resent, challenging circumstances of the pandemic and lockdown, which took and still take its toll on our mental well-being, I wanted to explore and showcase some of amazing services which are still available in one way or the other.
This publication explores the town of Kingston from many different perspectives and brings to light some amazing people and services who support mental health in their community.
It has been a big project and I would not be able to pull it together without a collective effort of many wonderful people, especially in such a tight time scale in which it had to be completed.
Although Zine exceeded my expectations in terms of the work involved, it has been an absolute pleasure writing and I will forever cherish meeting people who do so much for others.
This project has brought back my faith in humanity.
2020 has been a tough year for all of us. It’s ok to struggle and feel lonely, we all do sometimes.
Together we can make a difference. Reach out to the people in your life, so we all feel appreciated this Christmas. If you are finding it tough and want to speak to someone, you can find loads of free help on our help page
Are you struggling to write? Been struck with writer’s block and don’t know how to escape? Try out these few writing tips the RiPPLE team have thought up and see the difference to your writing.
Change your environment
Having a set place where you write can be beneficial, but sometimes it can feel pressurising to write on your laptop in a set place.
Changing your environment can help motivate and inspire you, so you could potentially try moving rooms where you live. Or perhaps you can try writing on something other than your laptop, such as on your phone or in a notebook.
Change the font you’re writing in
I’ve certainly noticed when I write in a Microsoft Word document and I copy and paste the document into WordPress, which uses a set font, I notice the mistakes I would’ve missed otherwise.
Using the same font all the time means you’re more likely to just skip over any errors because you’ve adjusted to the font.
Write when you can
Finding the time to write can seem impossible with everyday responsibilities, but even if you only write 100 words or for ten minutes a day, that’s still more words than you started with. Writing is a marathon, not a sprint, so take as long as you need to write it. So long as you’re putting down words, what does it matter how long it takes?
It’s so easy to just pop onto YouTube, convincing yourself it’ll only be for five minutes, but then three hours have passed and you don’t know how or where the time went.
If you are going to sit down and write, make sure you turn your phone onto ‘do not disturb mode’ or install an extension on your browser to temporarily block the internet. Make sure you’re also not likely to be distracted by loved ones or impromptu meetings or anything else
Share your work with someone else
It’s easy to miss your own mistakes or think you’re making perfect sense, but sometimes a fresh pair of eyes can help. They can point out where you could be clearer or where you’ve made some grammatical errors.
Sharing with someone else can be useful too if you’re stuck because they can offer you ideas for where to go next or give you suggestions for how to change a particular scene if it’s not working properly.
Take a day off
We all need to take a step back and do something else from time to time. Whether it’s watching a TV show, meeting up with friends or exploring somewhere new, it can give you a much-needed break. It might even inspire you when you come back to it.
RiPPLE is a Kingston University anthology, run by Creative Writing and Publishing MA students. You can find us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram
Loneliness can be the saddest of ironies. The challenges life brings means that we are all inevitably susceptible to it at some stage, regardless of how popular we may seem or how busy our schedule is. Some say it is a social pandemic of our time. And yet, most people experience it in silence and those that are suffering work and live side by side but remain invisible to each other.
Personally, the sensation of loneliness has consumed me at very different stages in my life. The problem was that the most effective solutions for it, namely talking and socialising, were usually out of reach. Friends, family, support groups or even therapy were not available to me and therefore causing the loneliness in the first place.
How can you “talk it over” or “open up” if you feel you have no one to talk with, or that will understand where you’re coming from? What if you’re living far from home, or struggling financially? How can you find solace in phone calls alone if you’re prevented from travelling to see your loved ones when you need them?
Being surrounded by people is also no guarantee against loneliness. My best efforts to talk it through with someone else did not always work. I remember trying to talk to a friend on one occasion but it proved impossible as they were overwhelmed with their own issues. Another time, I tried to speak to my doctor and struggled to articulate myself. And so the loneliness continued.
Writing now from a different mental space, I want to share what helped me in my loneliest times in the hope that I might assist someone feeling the same isolation. These actions enabled me to have the courage to either start connecting with others again or to move beyond the loneliness to a place of contentment.
One action that has always lifted my spirits and provided a fresh perspective to my thoughts is volunteer work. A recent study in the US and Canada found that people volunteering or supporting others during the Covid-19 pandemic had higher positive emotions and were happier with their relationships on the days when they helped others compared to the days when they did not engage in these activities.
Consider whether you might be in a position to offer help to someone in need. For example, perhaps you know of a neighbour living alone, a single parent, a homeless shelter or youth club that would appreciate some assistance. Alternatively, you can search for websites of organisations that require support online.
I could recount many stories of how creativity has saved me at different times, including the occasions when I moved abroad without any contacts or lacked money to always meet friends.
Poetry, cooking, drawing, painting, collage making, photography, film making, writing, knitting, dancing… the possibilities are endless and the benefits can be immediate. If you’re not sure how to start something creative, you could always begin with a journal and write or doodle your thoughts down to see where it leads you.
A study published in 2020 found that wisdom may protect against loneliness and provide a potential intervention against it. Though I never labelled it as ‘wisdom’, I realise that a lot of my reading is an attempt to make sense of life and its complexity. I would not call myself wise, but I believe that some lessons learned through reading have helped me to gain resilience and hope.
Maybe you can increase the time you devote to reading or perhaps try authors that are known for tackling issues such as mental health or mindfulness. You will be surprised how many discoveries you can make if you simply search online for ‘wise’ books and authors.
While the sensation of loneliness can sometimes feel all-consuming, it is important to remember that it is not forever and the circumstances creating it will most certainly pass. Until that day comes, exercising your kindness, your creativity or your curiosity may be just what you need to see you through.
Work deadlines, family and social commitments, the constant influx of emails and social media posts, incessant negative news and, of course, the looming presence of Covid-19 in everything we say and do this year.
Let’s stop. Take a deep breath in . . . 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, slowly exhale out and then try these tips to nourish your mind. You’ll be surprised how effective these quick exercises can be if you allow yourself a couple of minutes to soothe your mind without any distractions.
Write down a negative thought that keeps playing on your mind. Now rip or scrunch the paper up and throw it away. Studies have found that this simple technique helps you to mentally discard the negative thought.
Close your eyes and think of a happy time in your life for a few seconds. The memory will give your mind a boost and optimise your mental outlook for the day.
Write down a positive thought about yourself. It may be a memory, a personality trait you value, a friend you trust, anything really. Just make sure it is something that makes you smile inside and gives you a sense of calm. Now tuck this paper into your pocket. This effectively protects that thought and reinforces it in your mind.
Sit or stand up straight with your shoulders back and head facing forward. This should have an immediate positive impact on your self-confidence. The alternative stance of curling towards your stomach is a classic defence posture; you are subconsciously telling your mind that you are in an unsafe environment. This has a knock on effect on your thoughts and feelings. Instead, protect your posture as much as you can and notice any difference it makes to your outlook.
Look out of the window and search for a bird flying in the sky. Notice the beauty, grace and joy with which it flies. Alternatively, look for a tree and start counting its branches. Notice the multiple autumnal tones and intricate details. Thousands of studies have shown nature’s positive impact on our mental health. By doing this exercise you are bringing a level of attention and mindfulness that may have eluded you previously when glancing outside.
We are all living through a unique event in the history of the world and the toll it is taking on our mental health is undeniable. The busier and more overwhelmed you feel, the more important it is to look after your mental health and prioritise your wellbeing. Take as much time as you can to nurture your mind, even two minutes a day can make a profound difference.
Having some extra tools up your sleeve to methodically ‘turn things around’ can help – especially when your heart feels like it’s sunk into your feet, your stomach is churning like a mis-guided attempt at making yoghurt in mixing bowl and your ability to face the day has disappeared quicker than a ‘Boris promise’.
So here are a few bullets to add to your armoury of tools for those ‘on the floor but still breathing’ days that seem to be coming increasingly thick and fast:
“Energy Breeds Energy”
This is my favourite quote from my dear friend and Geordie wise-arse / Yogi-extraordinaire Caroline Lofthouse. Make just one change: apply a different energy to the things you always do. Walk lightly. Eat toast sternly. Yawn aggressively… you get the idea.
Go on, have a play. Get out (outside / out of town / out in the open / out of your usual altitude / out of the country).
A change in the way that you see things is more likely to happen within a place that has different things to see. Even being upside down can make a difference.
Try on Somebody Else’s Shoes Dust off your childhood fantasy issues…if you’re in lockdown, there is nothing to be lost by allowing yourself to dress like (and become) the inner superhero that you always wanted to be. Just for a day. Unleash your inner Lenny Kravitz-Teresa May love-child creation!
(Wait, come back! I was just giving an example…was that a bit much?)
Talk to your friends… Or even better, challenge your friends with something ridiculous but harmless. Maybe challenge them to be YOUR inner superhero and get them to challenge you with being THEIR inner superhero? Maybe a Napoleon Dynamite dance-off? Maybe see who can learn to play a Bruno Mars tune on a Ukelele the quickest?
The ‘Ice-Bucket challenge’ or the ‘Bottle-top challenge’ had to start SOMEWHERE, right?
Set yourself a challenging, but surprising achievable challenge … and then achieve it. This has to be something that you can do, within the day/hour/minute, that requires you to push yourself but not break yourself (physically or mentally). Example: throw on a proper TUNE and challenge yourself to dance ALL OUT until the very end of the track, without stopping. Goal setting and exercise, all in one.
Give yourself credit Remember to pat yourself on the back and allow yourself to feel proud of yourself when you get the ‘win’. Learn a new word and try to slip it into conversation as many times as you can in a day
The more ridiculous the word, the better. German words are brilliant as many of them have no English equivalent but express something that we all feel from time to time. No matter what you choose to do, just remember that it’s all about breaking old patterns.
One change to a pattern of default behaviour can make a huge difference. It’s part of the reason that playing music that has a feel and tempo that doesn’t follow your default pace and rhythm can be such a powerful mood changer.
Make one change, today. Make another tomorrow, make them count.
Lockdowns force us to remain within controlled environments. There’s nothing better than a controlled environment for experimenting with something new … Just saying.
[Aaand…because I like music…aaand this article is for Create4MentalHealth, here are two music vids to rock your world and fire you up: John Mayer talking guitar (but actually talking ‘life’)
and a severely underrated guitar hero Mike Dawes playing ‘Jump’ as a tribute to the late, great Eddie Van Halen.]