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Freedom of Mind Festival 2018 is HERE! Day three featured (fittingly!) three different events across all sorts of genres. We started with an Afternoon Tea Party Against Loneliness, where we worked with Link Age Network and Marmalade Trust to deliver an afternoon of fun and games. We followed that with a film screening and Q&A of “I made this for you”. Finally, we wrapped up the evening with Spoken Word with Raise the Bar.

Missed the events?

Check out our thoughts on how they went…

 

Cai’s Experience at Afternoon Tea Against Loneliness

I had no idea who would come along to this event. You never do at these things, but especially so at this one. When we began programming it, we wanted to create an event that would be inclusive for everyone, but particularly welcome some of the older members of our community.

As the event began, Mark was on the doors welcoming people as myself and others fetched tea. Watching the room fill up was exciting – it really was filled with everyone from the under 5s, to the over 70s! At first, there was an air of nervousness around everyone – what to say, how to act.

That atmosphere was quickly dispelled by a little thing we like to call Human Bingo!

We moved through the room starting conversations with people we’d never met before, which really set the tone for the whole event. I found myself engaged in discussion with a couple of elderly women about reducing plastic use, but only after playing jenga with some toddlers.

What was particularly engaging was some of the talks from the people at Link Age Network, Marmalade Trust and a couple of the other partners. They talked of supporting others and looking out for the people within our community. You could see people across the room opening up throughout – sharing their experiences of Loneliness and the support they received (or wish they’d received!)

That was the most powerful moment in this event – listening to others.

Mark – who was hosting the event – left us with two challenges. These were designed to encourage us to reduce loneliness within our community. And I urge you to take on these challenges too.

  1. To trade e-mails/social media/phone numbers someone new.
  2. To reach out to someone you already know who might be feeling lonely.

Between everyone at the event, I hope that this triggers a knock on effect that makes a real difference. For me – I took the details of someone who runs creative workshops at the event, and I’m going to message a friend that’s been going through a hard time.

All in – we had a great time challenging loneliness as a group.

 

Katie’s Experience at the Film Screening and Q&A

TW: Discussion of Suicide.

I Made This For You is a beautifully artistic film about a young man who, after attempting suicide, receives a DVD from his friend containing a series of interviews with people from throughout his life. It was really exciting to be able to share this moving and raw film with a wider audience, and the Director Cristian Solimeno joined us for a Q+A after the screening.

The documentary style to the film, and the true stories behind many of the interviews shown, makes this a realistic piece and we discussed the way Cristian moulded the actors sessions in order to achieve this. Confusion from the audience demonstrated how effective this was, and Cristian explained how much he wanted to “break the rules of filmmaking” and create something full of improvisation.

It was moving to hear Cristian speak of his friend Billy, one of the actors in the film, who did take his own life before the film was complete.

He had one of the most profound lines about how when you are contemplating suicide you have pictured how everyone will react at your funeral, how your death will impact their lives. As someone who has been in that dark place, this really resonated with me and highlights how mental illness can affect any of us.

One of our content creators – Liam – created a sketchnote of the Q&A with Christian. This is the result of the discussion

An important and powerful film I Made This For You shows a realistic interpretation of how suicide can influence people’s lives whilst still managing to maintain the positives of the impact of friendship, family and love.

If you would like to speak to someone about suicide or any emotional difficulties, the Samaritans is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can contact them by phone for free on 116 123, email jo@samaritans.org or visit your local branch (in Bristol this is 37 St Nicholas Street, BS1 1TP).

 

HJ’s Experience at Spoken Word with Raise The Bar

There is something about Spoken Word that aims a gun straight to my heart and shoots words that pierce me to my core. But it feels more like a lesson, a strength in its softness. A therapy of some kind.

As I walked into a row of chairs and a host of fairy lights at Prince Street Social, I knew this was going to be a good one. One by one, audience members grew into a pack of 60+ people, all watching two companies with one common reason; mental health.

A host of poets blurted their deepest secrets out on to the microphone.

You could hear a pin drop as honest accounts of what it is to feel, fell between us. Every year I’m excited about this event, and every year I’m left more inspired.

If I could introduce this artform to someone who doesn’t know it, it would be this; these artists have chewed up an entire dictionary, understood exactly how they work, and eloquently spat out the words in a rhythmic concoction of genius that unlocks something inside you that you didn’t know exists. They make human pain the most beautiful song I’ve heard. They make memories last forever. Some artists stand quietly behind the mic stand, spitting every silent syllable, and some bodies become enraged with their words, the whole performance turning into a visceral dance – their words their song.

For this ‘mental health special’, they spoke of domestic abuse, eating disorders, religion, suicide and love. They twisted their hard times into a live audio book that no one could put down.

They united a group of strangers and made situations you haven’t been through completely understandable.

It was a pleasure to watch every truth unravel, to watch these artists modestly accept their applause and cheers, and to speak to the general public about their mental health. As a mental health campaigner, the most important thing to see is Mental Health as a subject lose its stigma entirely, and come alive in its own right – to find its place in everyday conversation. Freedom of Mind execute this effortlessly at every event.

And not only are these poets painfully talented and intelligent, they are the bravest souls around.

They are able to voice the times most vulnerable to them, put them on a plate and serve it to you, and make you realise you are most definitely not alone.

To become vulnerable and to allow your softness?

That’s the greatest strength I’ve ever seen a human perform.

 

And so wraps up day 3! For day 4, we’ve unfortunately had to cancel our Book Signing with Jonny Benjamin as he’s come down with a virus, but join us on World Mental Health Day for an Early Morning Silent Disco and a Body Image Panel Discussion

See you next time!


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