South Australian network for, by, and about people who hear voices and have other 'psychotic' experiences

Two free screenings of the Healing Voices Film Documentary are coming up in Adelaide. It’s a thought provoking film and has been well received at other local screenings. I (Sarah) will be present to facilitate discussion following the film, along with several other brilliant people who have been involved in the hearing voices movement a long time.

Please bring a plate of food or some nibbles, to share. 🙂

For your free ticket, please register here:

Thurs Oct 5th, 6.30pm at the Box Factory Community Centre in Adelaide

or

Sat Oct 14th, 1.30pm at Adelaide South West Community Centre in Adelaide – On this date, there is also a monthly shared Community Meal from 6pm. You are welcome to stay and participate – please bring a plate of food to share.

The Shared Voices community peer support group, the Adelaide City Council the Humane Clinic, and a group of Adelaide based psychosis support group specialists present the documentary Healing Voices. It will, for many, change the way you think and talk about mental health.

“Healing voices goes a long way to healing our fear of people commonly labelled as “schizophrenic,” “bipolar,” and “psychotic.” The message of this film is that understanding and love—not fear and stigmatizing labels—are what people who have experienced these altered states need.”
Bruce Levine, Huffington Post.

Any questions please contact Rob on sharedvoices@nym.hush.com

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Update for Intervoice

Recently I was sent an email asking me provide an update about the HVNSA for INTERVOICE, the international network at the major conference coming up. This is what I sent in:

Here in SA the past year has seen our network continue to exist in an informal ‘small n’ way rather than a formal, capital N way. There are currently three groups operating around the state, and a loose community has been gathered by the screening of the film Healing Voices on several occasions. There are a number of passionate, dedicated people behind each of the groups, resources, and developments, often separated by distance, different organisations, or different dreams of how things should progress in SA. There remain significant challenges to formalising a Network across organisational, personal, and ideological differences, so individuals and small groups tend to be very independent of each other, even those run within the same organisation but in different locations.

Historically there’s a great deal of trauma and distrust around structures and formal processes for many within the network in SA, many have had terrible experiences of loss of power and crushing of natural friendships and relationships so there’s distrust and suspicion about working together, formal organisations, or joint resources. It remains to be seen whether trust can be built and anything more can be developed in terms of a formal network to link the various groups and initiatives.

In the meantime I’m holding the space online and as a first point of contact and referral for those looking for local resources through my own business. We have had one unusual development recently which was acquiring a work placement student who has enjoyed visiting and speaking with as many people in the network as possible. It has been enlightening and useful to support him in these visits, both to learn what is happening on our own doorstep, and to see where the blocks and concerns around the network itself are and begin to develop ideas about how they might be turned into assets that support the development of something rich and genuine here in SA. Certainly the need is great.

On reflection, I find myself wondering that if the local groups do not feel there is a need for a network to support or connect them, then perhaps we do not want or need a network, in any sense, here in SA? Perhaps I have misread the need or misunderstood the situation, or the time is not right, or I am not the right person? I have been holding the space for SA, hoping that at some stage I would be able to bring greater life to the network and support the development of more resources around SA, but it may be that I should focus my time and energy elsewhere. I’d be curious to hear other’s thoughts. 

This week, Michael Barnett is starting work placement with the HVNSA. He is a very friendly person and is keen to hear from anyone in SA around voice hearing. Here’s a little more about him:

Hi everyone, I would like to take some time in introducing myself to hearing voice network of South Australia. I am currently a student on work experience, I choose to do my work placement in mental health as I have found hearing voices network very relevant to me. I have worked in aged care working with residents with dementia and mental health in the elderly. I have founded Celestial World Australia which is based on spiritual aspect of living.

Since I was very young I have heard voices and seen spirits. I was taken to several doctors to see if they could find out what was wrong with me. The doctors found nothing wrong with me and no diagnosis was given to me, as I was a very shy as a young child and like everyone had difficult times when I was younger. I decided to research a large amount of information on new age, spiritual topics to gather a better understanding of what was occurring, I was never afraid of the voices or seeing spirits. I consider the voices and seeing things as a blessing rather than a mental health concern. As I read more on spiritual topics, I learnt to use mediation and spiritual healing to be able to control them, I also come from a Pagan/Druidry background which I find comforting to life in general.

I hope to help and guide people to understand their visions or hearing voices from a different perspective. I believe the hearing voices network both internationally and local is a great base for people to gain better control and understanding what they are going through without fear and judgement in safe and supportive environment.

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Michael and I will be visiting our SA support groups, Sound Minds, and Sound Minds South to chat to people and learn more about how the groups work. We are also hoping to visit the Many Voices Collective in Victor Harbour in July, and have reached out to the Healing Voices Christies Beach Network. If there’s anyone else in SA you think we should get in touch with, please let us know. 

Michael is currently choosing what project he will work on during his placement, so we are keen to hear from you about how the Hearing Voices Network could be strengthened and improved in SA. If we could create one resource, what would it be? What would be of the most use or value? Some of our ideas so far have been:

  • To work on linking together what is happening around the state better – perhaps by developing the newsletter and encouraging all the different groups, people, and initiatives to send in information so it becomes a regular and useful resource for people
  • To trial state based meetings for people to connect, share what is happening in their groups or networks or projects, and gain support from each other – possibly on a rota meeting in different locations, or hosted by the different groups, or with an online option to connect.
  • Start a new group out North – and possibly to capture the process and skills and resources needed so we can host a ‘how to start a hearing voices group’ guide online for others
  • Start a support referral database so people can find support for experiences of voice hearing or ‘psychosis’ that are distressing
  • Run workshops or give talks about the hearing voices approach to raise awareness
  • Run workshops or give talks about meditation and other approaches that can help with distressing ‘psychotic’ experiences for people who hear voices
  • Create a working group of people keen to develop a project together and meet regularly in person or online

Obviously we won’t be doing all of those things this month! So if you feel something is more important or you would like to be involved in something, please reach out and say hello!

Sarah – sarah@di.org.au
Michael – celestialworldaustralia@hotmail.com

It’s an exciting opportunity for Michael and the HVNSA. 🙂

Cheers, Sarah

Hello all!

I identify as a voice hearer myself, (learn more about me here) and apart from maintaining this network, I’m also a consultant. I’m currently contracting with the South Australian Mental Health Commission who are wanting input from as many people as possible to create the new Mental Health Strategic Plan. We would love to reach out to other voice hearers and make sure you are included!

I’ve reached out to the local support groups Sound Minds and Sound Minds South, and posted in the Healing Voices Christies Beach Network, but I know there’s more folks out there! There’s many ways people can get involved, from a simple online survey to a facilitated creative group or special event. It can be group or individual, totally independent or I can set up something special. 

We have until the end of May! 

More info about the Commission and Strategic Plan here: SA Mental Health Commission Website

Info about the ways to talk to us here: Community Conversations, Ways to Talk to Us

Lets Talk Dog F.jpg

I’d love to hear from folks about the best ways to approach this. I’m currently working with the Pride of the South folks creating a fantastic, free IDAHOBIT day event (International Day against homophobia hate and discrimination for gender, sexuality, and bodily diverse people) and a little corner of my brain is thinking – how amazing would a chance to meet like that be for our community! I’d be happy to host an afternoon tea or chance to meet online if that’s easier. What do you think?

Reach out to me at sarah.reece@sa.gov.au or 0401 099 174
Or directly to the SA Mental Health Commission on  samhc@sa.gov.au or 1300 293 220

 

 

World Hearing Voices Day

Events

It is World Hearing Voices Day on September 14th, 2016. This year SA is fortunate to have a full day event ‘Many Voices Festival’ for the day!

This day was inspired by the award-winning documentary ‘HEALING VOICES’, and will feature TWO screenings of the film. HEALING VOICES is a feature-length documentary examining experiences commonly labelled as ‘psychosis’ or ‘mental illness’ in society, and a critical look at America’s broken mental health care system. http://healingvoicesmovie.com/

DETAILS:
Hopgood Theatre, Ramsay Place, Noarlunga SA
Wednesday Sept 14th
2-9.30pm
FREE/gold coin donation
Event on Facebook

They believe that money shouldn’t be a barrier to being part of a community conversation about mental health. If you would like to generously help them out with covering their costs, thank you, donations are gladly accepted here: www.gofundme.com/manyvoices

In addition to two screenings of the film at 2:30pm and 7:00pm, the day will also feature:

  • Community conversations following each film screening
  • ‘The Voices of Tali’ theatre show, returning from Melbourne and as seen in Adelaide Fringe 2015!
  • A live dance performance by Jesse Rochow
  • Open Mic Storytelling – come and share your journey
  • Live art by Jungle Phillips and Fran-tastic!
  • Drumming/sound circle
  • The premiere of a locally written song ‘Voices’
  • Art exhibitions
  • Screen printing (bring along t-shirt to be printed on!)
  • Chillout zones
  • A raffle featuring prizes by printmaker and painter Janet Ayliffe, painter and wall artist Mimby Jones Robinson and potter, local ceramicist Suzy Fagan and tickets to a State Theatre Company production among other prizes.

Food and drink available

LINE-UP:
2:00pm: Live Music
2:30pm: HEALINGVOICES Film (first screening)
4:00pm: Many sounds circle (Foyer), and Quiet reflection on film (Main stage)
4:30pm: Open Mic Storytelling – Come and share your story!
5:30pm: Dance performance by Jesse Rochow
5:45pm: ‘The Voices of Tali’ theatre show
6:45pm: Premiere of the song ‘Voices’ and Live Music
7:00pm: HEALINGVOICES Film (second screening)
8:30pm – 9:30pm – Community conversation

WHO IS BEHIND THIS?
This event is being hosted by Community Health Onkaparinga (CHO), sponsored by Country Arts SA and organised by passionate members of the Healing Voices Christies Beach Collective, who come from and work within various mental health settings across Adelaide.

I’ve reached out to offer support and inclusion with the HVNSA.

HVNSA Update

I am still running the HVNSA solo as best I can between other demands – such as the impending birth of my baby! It is at times challenging to keep up with email enquiries and I am hoping to put together a small email team I can forward these onto when I am struggling to respond – if you have experience with the hearing voices approach and would like to take part please get in touch.

It’s been wonderful to see that the southern groups and networks are developing and I’m hoping to be involved and find more opportunities to link in with their work.

I continue to maintain the online presence of the HVNSA and send out postcards and free welcome packs. I’ve also been picking up more public speaking work and have been pleased to tailor my Psychosis without Destruction talk for a number of different settings including carers groups, general practitioners, mental health workers, and community settings. It is a rare opportunity to share my lived experience, and challenge the idea that all psychosis is necessarily a destructive process.

The future of the HVNSA remains unclear, but the development of other local resources is encouraging and hopefully a path forwards to grow and sustain the network will become apparent in time. In the meantime I continue to ‘hold the space’.

New Resources

They are busy down south, there is now a new hearing voices group meeting weekly in Aldinga! 🙂

View or print a Flyer

  • Free
  • Facilitators: Berny, Matt, or Sharon
  • Meets Weekly at Galilee School Community Rooms, Lot 1 Quinliven Rd, Aldinga
  • Thursdays 11am – 12noon
  • All adults who experience voices, visions, or other unusual experiences are welcome
  • Please call to check the group is running before attending
    Sharon/Berny (08) 8322 0140, or Matt on (08) 8384 9599

For details of any groups in SA, check out our Support Groups page online.

Get Involved

Professor John Read and James Williams are asking for people to participate in their Survey “The experiences of Anti-depressant and Anti-psychotic Medication”.  Taking part involves answering an anonymous survey about your experiences with these medications. You can complete the survey online. It takes approximately 30-45 minutes. Not all questions will be relevant to everyone, so the time taken will be different for each person. For more information and the survey itself go here.

ISPS Australia (International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis) have their beautiful new website up and running: www.isps.org.au They run online forums, organise events, and publish a journal which members receive. Well worth being involved.

The Hearing Voices Cafe London is a tumblr site looking for people to contribute something about Hearing Voices (a poem, some experiences, an image, a quote, a link to a website or video) so please consider getting involved or have a look at what others have shared: hearingvoicescafelondon.tumblr.com

Call for contributions for an exhibition about hearing voices, in November by Paul Baker. Please see this link for more details: http://www.intervoiceonline.org/4345/news/communities.html and to ask questions or get involved, please contact Paul directly on paul@imhcn.org

Media & Publications

The effectiveness of services led or run by consumers in mental health – a literature review by Mary O’Hagan and Flick Grey – both respected researchers with a lived experience of mental distress.

Quote

“Since you cannot do good to all, you are to pay special attention to those who, by the accidents of time, or place, or circumstances, are brought into closer connection with you.” -Saint Augustine

Best wishes,

Sarah
sarah@di.org.au

Film Screening

Friday April 29th
Free event or gold coin donation.
**Limited spaces – please RSVP**
Please reply to: welcometocho@gmail.com / 0416 578 143

Digital Eyes Film and Community Health Onkaparinga (CHO) invite you to the World Premiere screening of Healing Voices.

Healing Voices is a documentary that follows the lives of 3 people with experiences of psychosis or mental illness over nearly 5 years. The film asks the question: What are we talking about when we talk about ‘mental illness’? Interviews with people such as Will Hall, Dr Marius Romme, Robert Whitaker, and Dr Bruce Levine. For more information about the film, see healingvoicesmovie.com or read this review in the Huffington Post.

If you are on Facebook, join the local event here, or join the Healing Voices group here.

Community Health Onkaparinga
Noarlunga Uniting Church, 23 William Rd Christies Beach
Screening starts promptly at 7:00pm.

Screening will be followed by a Community Dialogue.

 

HVNSA Update

Late last year I (Sarah) was diagnosed with exhaustion and forced to put all my work on hold. I am moving through a long recovery phase and beginning to be more active in the HVNSA. Last month I delivered my Psychosis Without Destruction talk for local General Practitioners through the Royal Australian College of  General Practitioners, which was well received. There are still local groups running and many other resources around, and I’ve continued to maintain this site and respond to email inquiries as best I can. Hopefully things in SA will keep growing and the network will continue to develop.

Sarah
sarah@di.org.au

So much News for June!

It has been busy in the world of Voice Hearing in SA!

HVNSA Update

Firstly – we have a new Postcard to advertise our services! You can request some to hand out – they cost me around $25 – $30 for a pack of 100, so if you can contribute anything towards the printing costs that’s really appreciated – but if you can’t ask for some anyway and I’ll post them to you. 🙂 You can also share a pdf image of them via email – that’s available here.

Postcard

The latest potential board meeting to incorporate concluded with some of those involved preferring not to be part of a board but to offer other support. At this stage the HVNSA will continue as a community network personally supported by Sarah and my facepainting business – all contributions, financial and your time and expertise, very appreciated! If you wish to send money for HVNSA resources please clearly indicate that is what it is for, payment details are here. Conversations about setting up a board for this and my other networks are ongoing.

Our New Resources

We have a new Facebook Discussion Group of our own! Hearing Voices Network SA Join in to share information or get involved in our projects. 🙂

You may not be aware we now also have linked in with a Hearing Voices Group that is running in Murray Bridge. 🙂 Michael Spurrier is one of the facilitators, he has shared some of his personal experience of psychosis, as a short extract from his book here. His book, The Lived Experience of Schizoaffective Disorder can be found here.

Phil Benjamin from ISPS was kind enough to compile an online conversation about how to facilitate a hearing voices group into this document to share.

News

My (Sarah’s) free talk Psychosis without Destruction was extremely well received! I am currently booked to deliver it to staff at the Northern Mental Health Team and conversations with other organisations are ongoing. If you would like to have this talk delivered for your organisation, please get in touch sarah@di.org.au my fee is negotiable and can be waived entirely in some circumstances.

The ISPS conference in Melbourne was amazing, a fantastic resource for research and approaches to psychosis. I have been invited to be a consultant to the board in some capacity and look forward to a fruitful relationship!

Local HVN advocate Matt Ball will be travelling to Scotland to deliver a keynote at a Working to Recovery camp, about how the lived experience has informed his role as a practitioner. He’ll also be running workshops on the use of the Maastricht interview in clinical practice with people who hear voices.

A local nurse and psychiatric registrar are working towards submitting a research proposal looking at the value of facilitating the Maastricht interview in community mental health teams. They are hoping to begin the research project before the end of 2015 and will keep us posted. 🙂

Events

The 3rd Sustainable Mental Health – Sustainable Communities Conference is now open for registrations. 25-26th of June, in Port Lincoln. I will be there as will many other fantastic people. There is currently a two-for-one offer at $75 per head! For more information see this flyer or contact hayley.colyer@unisa.edu.au

There are also still a couple of places available for the Hearing Voices Workshops with Arana Pearson, preferably for people with a lived experience of hearing distressing voices – these are FREE places. For more information, please contact Lee.Martinez@unisa.edu.au

Douglas Holmes and Arana Pearson have a project and they’d love to hear from people with a lived experience. They are aiming to compose a book of 50 anthologies of people who hear voices or did hear voices and have benefited from the ‘accepting voices’ approach. For more information, please see their survey and information pages here. If you would like to be involved but need support to get your story online to send to them – contact your local hearing voices group for assistance.

Media

Voices have been in the media a lot lately! This is largely due to some research you can read about:

ABC report on the research:

Radio National – a great interview to listen to, with Lyn Mahboub from the Hearing Voices Network in Perth, and ISPS

SANE have also done some great work promoting stories of lived experience and schizophrenia:

A New ‘Soteria House’ – an inpatient care program supporting people in crisis with a focus on relationships rather than medication, has open in Vermont. Learn more about it and the history of Soteria Houses here:

Links

Quote

“The reason I talk to myself is because I’m the only one whose answers I accept.”
― George Carlin

Take care, get involved, and say hello!

Sarah
sarah@di.org.au

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