Tuesday, 23 May 2017

May Newsletter

Dear Friends,

May has been an intense month and it is not over yet. It was sad to wake up to the news of yet another 'terror attack' today, whatever the reason behind it, with the loss of more innocent lives. 

We were very pleased with the turn out and participation to the recent events at Kingsley Hall and wish to thank all involved. Thanking warmly Dr Moncrieff, Dr Ruth Cooper and Marion O'Brien for their time and contributions at the RADAR + PIP event on 12th May, we'd like to share some footage kindly collected by ‎Sian Whitehead‎hhttp://bit.ly/2qKbzju. Also find some stills from the event http://bit.ly/2rwBDjp
The community screening of The Divide also brought together a varied audience and interesting discussions.
Thanks again to everyone that has somehow contribuited in these.

Recently Myra told us about a woman (SU) which found our name offensive (!) and even refused looking into the content of the leaflet. Now, in plan for sometimes, yet still in sketch, I would like to announce that Saturday 9th of September a Loonies Fest it's in plan at Kingsley Hall. More updates will circulate soon.
Among many things we'll remember the 10th anniversary since the total shutting of St Clements Hospital, which coincides with the origin of us Loonies joining our dissenting forces in a not-hierarchical (someone calls it disorganised, sic!) way and we are still here! Isn't it amazing? Hopefully that 'offended' woman will get the chance to change her mind and get some education in regards of mad culture and embrace her lunacy in the process.
We probably have done already our part in these ten years and deserve a bit of respite for the short lives we are mean to live.

For those riding the wave please do check the events listed below.

NSUN annual survey closes 24th May 2017 
Last chance to have your say. Participate in shaping NSUN.
Take the members' survey for the leading independent national mental health organisation.
Comments will remain anonymous. Data will be stored until completion of the annual evaluation work. 
It will take approximately 10 minutes http://bit.ly/2qKnMVq


Horizon: Why Did I Go Mad? 
This past 2nd May, BBC 2 showed Horizon: Why Did I Go Mad? at prime time. The recently released documentary is still available for viewing on i-player for a few days and is also BSL (British Sign Language) accessible. We hope that it will be released on general, unrestricted viewing soon and more examples of madness, successful and/or not to be displayed in the future. Huge congratulations to all involved in the execution of this work, and kudos for the mentioning of a possible drug-free existence http://bbc.in/2oHGauA


Introduction to User/Survivor Research in Mental Health Mind in Camden 
Trainer: Jayasree Kalathil is a researcher, writer and activist in mental health with over 15 years of experience. 
She runs the virtual collective, Survivor Research
Thursday 1 June 10-4.30 pm @ Conway Hall, 25 red Lion Square, Holborn, London WC1R 4RL 
More information and booking (various prices) http://bit.ly/2rwc6a6


Making Sense of Madness: An emancipatory approach
A one day training led by Jacqui Dillon and Rai Waddingham 
Theme of the training will be voices, visions, paranoia, unusual beliefs and altered states
Fri 7 July 09:45 – 16:30 @ Hackney House, 27 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3LT
More information and booking (various prices) http://bit.ly/2rLz4ak


DSM69 by Dolly Sen’s Manual of Psychiatric Disorder
Dolly Sen is a well known artist and activist working and exploring what it means to experience mental distress and the effects of being labelled with a psychiatric diagnosis. DSM69 is a small booklet, a notice of intent, containing a selection of Dolly’s art and several manifestos. Pre-orders of DSM69 can be purchased from this website: http://bit.ly/2qf8gxd
and from Amazon here: http://amzn.to/2qK774a

Also by Dolly Sen 
Please sign and share her petition addressed to the HCPC & Nursing Council 
The Nursing & Midwifery council hold accountability and fairness as their values. They are both regulatory bodies, set up to protect the public. Please withdraw support for Work Capability Assessments http://bit.ly/2pU151j


Breaking Convention 2017 The 4th International Conference on Psychedelic Consciousness 
Breaking Convention is a biennial multidisciplinary conference on psychedelic consciousness, featuring more than 150 presenters from around the world, happening between June 30 - July 2, 2017
University of Greenwich, Old Royal Naval College, London   
For more information, visit http://bit.ly/2qKmDxf


Antiuniversity Now is a collaborative experiment to challenge institutionalised education, access to learning and the mechanism of knowledge creation and distribution. 
Initiated in 2015, Antiuniversity Now was set up to reignite the 1968 Antiuniversity of London with the intention to challenge academic and class hierarchy and the exclusivity. A rich and varied programme can be found on www.antiuniversity.org

Some recommendations among a long list of interesting events on various themes:

-Politicising Anxiety: From Precarity to Care  http://bit.ly/2qQNeJe

Anxiety is everywhere at the moment, but too often it is seen strictly as a condition of the individual. This event will be a talk and workshop on politicising anxiety; on framing it as a social phenomenon. Anxiety takes different forms and we see these multiple anxieties as weapons of the ruling class, as the result of a crisis of reproduction and a condition of capitalism itself. One response to this, we suggest, is collectivised care.
Sat 10 June 1-4 pm @ 7 The White Building, Queen's Yard, White Post Ln, London E9 5EN

-Speak Out Against Psychiatry 6th birthday Speak Out & picnic http://bit.ly/2qKh15O
Six years ago SOAP (Speak Out Against Psychiatry) held their first Speak Out in front of the Royal College of Psychiatry (then based in Belgrave Square) followed by a picnic in Hyde Park. The event will be repeated to celebrate the 6 years of fighting an inhumane psychiatric system. There will be plenty of posters to read and people to have a one-to-one with and the chance to try the 'diagnostic wheel' which is just as reliable as the DSM 5! 
Meet 2-5 pm for Speak Out @ Speakers Corner (nearest tube Marble Arch) then move to park for picnic after (weather permitting)

-Psycho-coercion & Psycho-resistance http://bit.ly/2rwao8k
An event to explore and build resistance to the increasing use of psychology to coerce and compel us through moral mantras like the 'work cure' and the use of psychometric tests, mood monitoring and mindfulness. Featuring talk and discussion from academics and activists working to question psycho-coercion. As well as a screening of Harry Giles' Everything I bought and how it made me feel. 
Mon 12 June 6-8 pm @ Red Gallery, 1-3 Rivington Street, London EC2A 3DT

-Using Art in Mental Health Activism http://bit.ly/2rcWOae
If you are brutalised or abused by the mental health system and want to challenge and resist that, what can you do without it being pathologised as part of your condition? Join Dolly Sen for two hours of reflection on the relationship between art and mental health activism.
Monday 12 June, 7-9 pm @ Dragon Cafe, The Crypt at St George The Martyr Church, Borough High St, London SE1 1JA

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Meetings and Events

​Dear All,

So many events are taking place around us, and now the General Election on 8th June. Please do register to vote, if you are entitled to https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

We highly advise to book your free seats for the networking event 'The irresistible rise of mental health crisis?'
happening this Sat 29 April 10-3:30, Oxford House. There will be discussions and the screening of 'I, Daniel Blake' http://bit.ly/2obSy4O

On Sunday 7 May, late afternoon and evening there will be the launch of 'A Hackney Autobiography - Centerprise' history projects, Sutton House, 2-4 Homerton High Street, London E9 6JQ. There will be an historic walk that will include memories of the Mental Patients Union, and we will discuss the connection between Centerprise and MPU (Mental Patients Union), the work of the MPU and the ongoing legacy. Email Andrew Roberts for more info on studymore
FEEL event on RADAR + PIP Updates is on Friday 12 May at Kingsley Hall 7-9PM http://bit.ly/2ocsVkm

Next 'News From Nowhere Club' event is on Saturday 13 May with Chris Harrison http://bit.ly/2p6TL1k

Please book your seats for the subtitled screening of The Divide + discussion on Tue 16 May 7-10 PM http://bit.ly/2nJJA3J

Next FEEL meeting is on Monday 15 May 6.30pm at LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, E1 1ES

Please find here a few extra lines, written to express some personal annoyance on some current FEEL circumstances: Mental Health week... stones in my shoes

News from Nowhere Club 13 May Special Event

Speaker / Performer: Chris Harrison

@ The Epicentre

41 West St, Leyton, London E11 4LJ 

Saturday 13 May, 7:30 PM 

A musical evening, featuring poems by Joseph Skipsey, a self-educated coal miner, set to music by his great-great-grandson, Chris Harrison.  Joseph Skipsey, ‘The Pitman Poet’, was born in Northumberland in 1832.  He began colliery work aged seven. Having taught himself to read & write, he published his first book of poems in 1859.  Chris has set 24 of Skipsey’s poems to music, calling the project “Carols from the Coalfields”, after the collection which Skipsey published in 1886.  The songs offer a rich & varied picture of life in the mining communities, while describing issues & experiences still relevant today.  His CDs, volumes 1, 2 & 3, will be on sale (£5 each.)

Ros Kane: roskane@btinternet.com

Please note: I do not look at emails all the time, so if urgent, please phone me on 0208 555 5248.

Also, occasionally emails do not reach me, so better please phone if I have not responded within a few days. 


Mental Health week... stones in my shoes

It is with great fervour that FEEL is welcoming back to Kingsley Hall critical psychiatrist Dr Joanna Moncrieff on 12th May.

David Kessel, (which coined FEEL), currently on the mend after a major accident, says he is looking forward to attend Dr Moncrieff's talk.

Professionals like Dr Moncrieff seem to be prepared to walk on burning coals in order to express their individual opinion. 
It is indeed fundamental to question some treatments, especially the damages caused by medication on a short and long term to people, and have a variety of alternatives for people to choose from on how they wish to be helped.

Avant-garde Norway has recently launched a medication-free treatment ward, while the Open Dialogue approach, started in Western Lapland, Finland years ago, is fast spreading around the world; there are even active peer supported networks now. 
"Psychiatry is cracking open and the users voices are heard", Robert Whitaker wrote. 
All work in progress, including the dismantling of big pharma monopoly in this hyper-profiting sector. Not saying that all drugs are bad here, some are useful (some keep me in life in fact!). But why are only a few limited brands easily and broadly available, to cure illness or to mantain them?
RADAR, one of the main topics that will be presented at FEEL event on 12 May, is a great initiative. The Research into Antipsychotic Discontinuation And Reduction officially started last year, currently is recruiting participants in East London http://bit.ly/2pdYlJ0 
But how safe will this be? What safety nets are being created? Must admit that I have many doubts in regards.
Coming off psychiatric drugs can be a serious matter, talking by personal experience. The withdrawal effects really often are the cause of relapses. Many people compare psychiatric drugs discontinuation to the struggles of coming off from heroin or some pain killers; not easy at all. 

We are indeed thankful that there is an ever growing number of researches experimenting a variety of approaches, hopefully also on own skin, in order to find what can really help ease the difficulties of people experiencing mental distress, or find the real causes of it. Substances are not necessarily required, aren't they? Severe and acute crisis are another matter.
Wishing the very best for the success of RADAR, in any case.

Unfortunately it is with sadness that due to prior commitments I'll have to miss this event. My peers were not a tiny interested that 12 May did not suit me. Eventually I was told that nobody heard my opposition. Of course, the testosterone filled room was loudly discussing the influencing wonders of this forthcoming  event... and I thought that I was the only deaf one!

What makes me laugh the most about the reason why the 12 May was chosen, is that it was picked because it falls on mental health week
Now, would a Survivor really care if it is mental health week? What difference would that make in Survivors everyday life? 

To be expected on mental health week: some/many "normal" people to get engulfed by the media articles and events (free or non) on themes that will let them discover they too have a mental health to take care about...perhaps self-assigning a few labels, then go crazy completely and calling for help. Welcome to the club, I usually say ...

The saddest thing is that occasionally FEEL meetings are visited by people wishing to talk about "mental health", yet they have no clue of what being a Survivor means. This seems to been happening more frequently lately, perhaps as mental health is becoming a fashionable topic.
In almost ten years since FEEL has been around, there have been many genuine people joining us, eager to share their stories, respecting and paying attention to what the values and ethos of the group are.

So what has been happening lately? From (refused) suggested re-branding, to the group branching out into various other forms, someone must be thinking that gentrification is really the only way forward for the Friends of East End Loonies.
Apparently for these people only if we conform to some regular patriarchal norms (so importantly changing our name, tipical!), success will be guaranteed, perhaps FEEL could even reach 1000s of followers in social media, fame, success!  
Kind of makes me think about the Christians discovering the Americas... A bit of decency Monsieurs de Farceurs

FEEL has also frequently been criticised, among other things, for having an "open door" policy and welcoming everyone at our meetings and events. I still believe this is important to happen, as long as people can talk honestly, respecting the group core values, and members and each other.
Be prepared to find some stubborn people not necessarily agreeing with each other, but respecting each others, at the core; late comers seem to be deaf and blind to this dynamics sometimes.
If new influencing strategy is used, even with good intentions in mind, if not discussed openly and plainly feels like a back stab. What are your aims folks?

On another hand I must stress that if people are looking for personal support FEEL was never intended to offer help as such.
Do please visit the many organisation trained to work in the field. 
Apparently some good attempts are also being done at peer level (not Survivors) at the Lifehouse: phone Nick on 07926 886372 or email Kevin on kevineva58@btinternet.com for more info.

Please book your seats for the more neutral networking event The irresistible rise of mental health crisis, happening this Saturday 29 April 10-3:30, with screening of I Daniel Blake http://bit.ly/2obSy4O 
and the subtitled screening of The Divide on Tue 16 May 7-10 PM http://bit.ly/2nJJA3J

Wishing the best of luck to all involved in the planning/participation to the forthcoming events!

Thursday, 13 April 2017


FEEL (Friends of East End Loonies) are hosting an event on Friday 12 May, 7 – 9 pm, Kingsley Hall, Powis Rd, E3 3HJ
Tube: Bromley by Bow – DLR: Bow Church – Buses: 8, 205, 25 (and others)


Dr. Joanna Moncrieff, Critical Psychiatrist and Author of The Myth of the Chemical Cure and The Bitterest Pill, will speak about her study, RADAR (Research into Antipsychotic Discontinuation And Reduction), now recruiting participants in East London http://bit.ly/2pdYlJ0
+ + followed by questions and answers + +

Marian O’Brien, PIP: How to Survive the Benefits System. Marian is a Peer Support Trainer, member of Mental Health Resistance Network, Health Campaigner, and Survivor 

+ + followed by questions and answers + +

No entrance fee but there will be a collection to cover costs
Music by the Mudlarks
Tea and coffee

FREE screening of the film "The Divide" Tuesday 16th May 7:30- 10:00 PM

The Gandhi Foundation, Friends of East End Loonies and the Kingsley Hall Community groups will be hosting the FREE screening of the film-documentary "The Divide" starting at 7:30 PM. This will have English subtitled for D/deaf audience access.

There will be Q&A with Executive Producer Christopher Hird & Director Katharine Round and general discussion on how economic differences are affecting people's wellbeing in the present days, be them in whichever side of the spectrum.
You can book your FREE seat and find more info here http://thedividedocumentary.com/

FEEL meeting Mon 17 April 6:30 PM and forthcoming events details.

Dear Friends,

Please find some updates with events for April and May and feel free to circulate among your networks.

FEEL is gathering for the regular monthly meeting at LARC, 62 Fieldgate St, E1 1ES, on Monday 17 April from 6:30 pm.
This falls on Easter Monday and you are welcome to come along and participate in Easter spirit, if you wish. Holidays or not, goodies to share are always welcome.  
David Kessel has recently turned 70 yrs old, hence while renewing our best wishes, we'll take the chance for this extra special reason to celebrate.

At the meeting details of the forthcoming FEEL events of the 12th and 16th May at Kingsley Hall, Powis Rd, E3 3HJ will be discussed (yes, two events four days apart one from the other, Guinness record for FEEL!).
For hearing aid users, we are pleased to announce that the main hall at Kingsley Hall has now been fitted with an induction hearing loop and general acoustics are being improved, which will benefit anyone involved in the use of the hall.

On Friday 12th May 7-9pm presentations and respective Q&A from:
  • Critical Psychiatrist Dr Joanna Moncrieff, speaking about RADAR (Research into Antipsychotic Discontinuation And Reduction)The study, officially started in January 2016, is now recruiting participants in various London boroughs. If you are, or know of anyone in East London, interested in this program get in touch with Dr Ruth Cooper (Telephone: 07585307142, Email: Ruth.Cooper1@elft.nhs.uk).
  • Marian O'Brien (Peer Support Trainer, member of Mental Health Resistance Network, Health Campaigner, and Survivor) will present the talk PIP: How to Survive the Benefits System. Since this is a delicate topic that touches many people, it is important to discuss the rights and options of stakeholders. Useful information on PIP can also be found on http://www.advicenow.org.uk/guides/how-win-pip-appeal and http://pipinfo.net/ Please bring/share more of what you find.
On Tuesday 16th May 7:30- 10:00 PM
  • The Gandhi Foundation, Friends of East End Loonies and the Kingsley Hall Community groups will be hosting the FREE screening of the film-documentary "The Divide" starting at 7:30 PM. This will have English subtitled for D/deaf audience access.
  • There will be Q&A with Executive Producer Christopher Hird & Director Katharine Round and general discussion on how economic differences are affecting people's wellbeing in the present days, be them in whichever side of the spectrum.

Please find to follow some more events:

-PROTEST - #HeadsApart - Protest at the London Virgin Marathon Sunday 23rd April 2-5 PM
Place: On the Hyde Park Corner roundabout – south east side by Constitution Hill crossing. Nearest tube: Hyde Park Corner exit 2 – head towards New Zealand memorial (black girders coming out of the ground). We will be behind that on the grass near the crossing. 
"The young Royals – Prince William, his wife and Prince Harry are heading the #HeadsTogether campaign and have been taking advice from psychiatrists and their allies and have not been introduced, as far as we know, to psychiatric survivors."
Contact: Cheryl Prax speakoutagainstpsychiatry@gmail.com 

- NETWORKING EVENT: "The irresistible rise of mental health crisis? Taking a stand in East London" 
Saturday 29th April 10 am - 3:30 pm 
Oxford House (Scott Room), Derbyshire Street, Bethnal Green London E2 6HG
A networking event organised by a group of mental health professionals and service users.
There will be the free showing of the film I, Daniel Blake "to help us tune in to the connections between psychological distress and austerity politics - poverty, homelessness, the housing crisis, benefit cuts and the dismantling of the welfare state, low wages and zero-hour contracts, ever-increasing inequalities of wealth, income and resources, cuts and privatisation in all public services."
More info with programme and booking link here 

- International #Emerging Proud Launch
Premiere screenings of CRAZYWISE and #Emerging Proud films, and Open Space event to ‘Re-think Madness’
Friday 12 May 9:30 - 22:30 
Strand Palace Hotel 372 Strand London WC2R 0JJ
Happening simultaneously in several countries around the world. Be part of catalyzing discussions about ‘Rethinking madness’;Exploring The Wisdom Of Falling Apart: from Stigma to Transformation.
More info with programme and booking link here