Saturday, 23 April 2016

Remembering Sarah Wheeler (Thomas Tobias)

It is with deep sorrow that we found out that the amazing Sarah Wheeler (Thomas Tobias) has sadly passed away last Tuesday 19th. Sarah is the brilliant Founder and Creative Director of the Dragon Cafe and the Mental Fight Club.
She has inspired and motivated many of us and will be deeply missed. Rest in peace Sarah heart emoticon
(Sarah, a fond Blakeanian, reading at the William Blake burial site in Bunhill Fields on the annual recurring gathering, celebrating Blake's deadday on 12th August 2014)

To follow we share the announcement from the Mental Fight Club.

Sad News from Mental Fight Club

An inspiraton to us all, Sarah Wheeler

It is with deep sadness that we share the news that our friend and colleague Sarah Wheeler passed away in the early hours of Tuesday 19th April. As you may know Sarah was diagnosed with cancer in 2013 and it was only recently that she moved into a hospice. Throughout her illness she remained engaged in many activities and continued to speak up for those with lived experience of mental illness.

Sarah has been an inspirational figure to many of us personally and also across the mental health sector and wider community. Sarah was that rarest of human beings, a visionary. Sarah’s friendship, her vision and her ability to create and communicate will always be remembered, and she will be greatly missed. Mental Fight Club (MFC) and the pioneering Dragon Café are her legacy to us all, and we will be continuing to develop and expand the important work that MFC does.

Funeral details will be announced in the next few days, and we ask people to respect the family's privacy at this upsetting time.

We hope that in Sarah's spirit you come along to The Dragon Café soon and celebrate her life through the many creative interactions available.
Sarah’s love of poetry and the inspiration she took from Ben Okri’s poem 'Mental Fight' is evident in many of her creative endeavours.  Here is an extract from the epic poem called 
‘Turn on The Light’

The new era is already here:
Here the new time begins anew.
The new era happens every day,
Every day is a new world,
A new calendar.
All great moments, all great eras,
Are just every moment
And every day writ large.
Thousands of years of loving, failing, killing,
Creating, surprising, oppressing,
And thinking ought now to start
To bear fruit, to deliver their rich harvest.

Will you be at the harvest,
Among the gatherers of new fruits?
Then you must begin today to remake
Your mental and spiritual world,
And join the warriors and celebrants
Of freedom, realisers of great dreams.

You can't remake the world
Without remaking yourself.
Each new era begins within.
It is an inward event,
With unsuspected possibilities
For inner liberation.
We could use it to turn on
Our inward lights.
We could use it to use even the dark
And negative things positively.
We could use the new era
To clean our eyes,
To see the world differently,
To see ourselves more clearly.
Only free people can make a free world.
Infect the world with your light.
Help fulfill the golden prophecies.
Press forward the human genius.
Our future is greater than our past.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Mental Health Resistance Network needs help please.

Mental Health Resistance Network needs help please - On May 3rd a 'non-debate' featuring Mind's Paul Farmer, Simon Wellesley from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Shadow MH Minister Luciana Berger and an artist and service user Alice Evans, will be held at the Old Vic discussing the question:
"Are we failing those suffering from mental ill health in the UK? It is estimated that around three-quarters of people with mental health problems in the UK receive no care at all. While the government has committed to a £1 billion spend by 2020, is this enough, or does something more fundamental need to change in our attitude, and soon? "
- we want to hand out a zine afterwards with voices of the people whose lives are affected by the failing/useless services that are on offer and which will provoke more thought than the 'non debate; which is likely to conclude that soon things will be better - they always say this and services always seem to deteriorate.
If you can write your thoughts/experiences, draw a pic or write a poem to address the question, please email it to admin[at] by Wednesday 6pm - add you voice to the debate please

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

FEEL meeting Monday 18 April

Next FEEL meeting is Monday 18 April, 6.30 - 8.30 pm, at London Action Resource Centre (LARC), 62 Fieldgate Street, E2 1ES. At our March meeting lots of concerns about benefit changes and cuts were voiced. We think most people don't know that there is any help about benefits and how to get and keep them, and we felt we should try to make information about benefits advice more widely available. Would it be a good idea to have one of our evening events at Kingsley Hall highlight benefits advice and how to find it? We had a very good presentation from Disabled People Against the Cuts gave an excellent presentation at our November meeting and maybe it would be useful to hear from them again.. If you think it would be a good idea for us to do something about benefits advice, do come to the FEEL meeting on the 18th.

In November, we also heard about the human rights handbook for people with mental health issues produced in Chile. We do not know if it has been translated from Spanish into English, but one of our Spanish speaking members offered to translate it if that has not been done.  It could be a really useful resource for the community.  Join us on the 18th to discuss this and more.