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We Are All People at The Mental Health Housing & Support Workshop

Mental Health Housing & Support Workshop: 29th September 2017, York  

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A workshop aimed at professionals in housing, social care or health organisations working with adults with mental health issues, and for York residents who rely on the city’s Mental Health and Housing services. The session will outline our vision for Mental Health Housing and Support highlighting existing accommodation, support and related programmes of work across the city.

In the Moment were recently asked by Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS trust to make a piece of theatre which would depict the point of view of service users, ready to leave hospital, but who require housing and support in the community. This would be shown at the Mental Health and Housing Support Workshop (see above).

After looking at various anonymous case studies, the group decided that between its members there was enough lived experience of the struggles faced in their lives around housing, for them to present their own testimonies.

We had 4 two and a half hour sessions to share stories, workshop ideas and then rehearse – some of the sessions were difficult, owing to the memories and emotions invoked by the telling of previously difficult personal circumstances. However, the group were keen to tell their stories with the prospect that it might help the NHS trust and the housing services gain a deeper insight into the needs of real people after hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth.

In the Moment devising We Are All People

Workshopping ideas of home

Workshopping ideas of home

A kitchen sink or a bathtub?

A kitchen sink or a bathtub?

I want to be able to sit and eat ice cream in my pants.

I want to be able to sit and eat ice cream in my pants.

Brian tells his story

Brian tells his story

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We are all people, written and performed by Jamie Towie

We are all people, written and performed by Jamie Towie

We are all people and we need

Shelter, security and space.

We are all people and we need

Cooperation, community and connection.

We are all people and we need

More social housing.

More halfway houses.

And less finger pointing.

Fingers cannot just be clicked

But the correct path can be picked.

We are all people and we need

Shelter, security and space.

Cooperation, community and connection.

We are all people and we don’t ask for much.

These pleas are for our basic needs.

We are all people.

By Jamie Towie

The performance was received well and a lot of attention paid to it. It was highly relevant to the workshop and of significant importance to the moving forward of the services involved:

‘It was a fantastic, really thought provoking contribution and it really helped ensure that the service users’ ‘voice’ was heard in terms of what’s most important to them.  The fact that some of the group then stayed onto contribute to the discussion groups was a real added bonus.

It was very powerful and really summed up what we need achieve moving forward’.  (Chris Weeks Commissioning Manager: City of York Council | Adults Commissioning Team Health, Housing and Adult Social Care Directorate).

In the Moment valued the opportunity to tell their stories, especially if they have the power to make an impact and  bring about change:

‘I felt like I can’t reverse what happened to me but telling my story can help other people’.  (In the Moment Member Joe Huddlestone)

The Company with Teri Sanders (Locality Manager Adult Mental Health Tees Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust) and Chris Weeks (Commissioning Manager: City of York Council | Adults Commissioning Team Health, Housing and Adult Social Care Directorate).

The Company with Teri Sanders (Locality Manager Adult Mental Health Tees Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust) and Chris Weeks (Commissioning Manager: City of York Council | Adults Commissioning Team Health, Housing and Adult Social Care Directorate).

By Jane Allanach Artistic Director of In the Moment