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Joe Kelly's Blog - disability arts online
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Joe Kelly is a writer and campaigner around mental health issues.

Kampala here I come

14 March 2009

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It’s Saturday 14 March. I’m traveling this evening to Kampala, Uganda via Nairobi Kenya. My Friend Chetan is picking me up at 3pm and I hope to arrive at my destination Entebbe airport in Kampala at 9-40am tomorrow. I’m attending the World Conference of the WNSUSP. The Conference is called ‘Making our Rights a Reality-Human Rights in the Age of the CRPD’. That is the World Network of Service Users and Survivors of Psychiatry. You could call it The United Nations of...

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On My Way

23 March 2009

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[Posted by Joe, March 15, 2009] Dearblog I arrived at Entebbe Airport Kampala Sunday March 15. I travelled by Kenya Airways’ the Pride of Africa on Boeing jets. My journey began at Terminal 4, Heathrow - waiting for what seemed like forever. The first leg of my journey was to Jomo Kenyatta Airport, Nairobi, Kenya. The flight lasted about 10 hours. Sitting down for that amount of time is challenging and vexatious to the spirit. I watched the film ‘Quantum Solace’ twice, spending time...

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Opening Up

23 March 2009

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Africa is a beautiful place. Uganda was called ‘the pearl of Africa’ by Winston Churchill. The people are friendly and are pleased to see us. The pace of life is gentler, not so buzzing busy and local people take time to talk to you. Our conference began at 9am sharp. Our master of ceremonies was Julius Lutaakome Kayiira, Director, Mental Health Uganda. The Opening was by Mrs Patricia Athieno, President of Mental Health Uganda, welcoming our conference to Uganda. We also were...

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Joe Kelly's blog

5 March 2009

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Dear Blog I’m exhausted after a busy day of tasks. Visiting the Doctor. Picking up messages. Collecting my sister Sheila and her son from out of town at the bus station. My depot injection kicking in. I’m reminded of why I’m going to the WNSUSP conference in Kampala. The thought that has been in my mind for so long. That mental health services could be much better. There must be a better way. I feel strongly for the underdog Food for thought? I’m for the guy that is on...

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To and Fro

8 April 2009

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Dear Blog The pleasant aspect of the conference is that we are in a warm tropical location, meeting lots of new interesting people and we are focussing of mental health advocacy, but advantages can be disadvantages and likewise one can get stressed and tense and out of sorts. As we get into the conference certain personalities seem to lead. There is no doubt that WNUSP attracts some of the best minds in userdom: Moosa Salie fought apartheid in South Africa; Tina Minkowitz, a feminist and lawyer...

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Reflections on return from Kampala

8 April 2009

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The time has come, the Walrus said, to talk of many things. Of shoes and shipping and sealing wax - of cabbages and kings and why the sea is boiling hot and whether pigs have wings - Lewis Carroll I arrived back from Africa on Sunday morning at 6am. Heathrow Terminal 4. Took a bus to Southall and then home. I had no electricity, no gas, and I had to wait for four hours while the gas man put a new battery in my Quantum meter. It's a bit of a come down from my adventures in Africa. At present my...

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Joe Kelly sends in a report on the Politics of Evidence conference

7 November 2009

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Joe Kelly is a writer and campaigner around mental health issues. Organised by the Philadelphia Society, 'The Politics of Evidence' conference took place on 10 October 2009 at King’s Fund Centre, Cavendish Square, London. I recently attended the R.D.Laing Conference at the  Kings Fund Centre. It was a good conference, bringing together approximately 100 delegates from a mixture of backgrounds, but principally from the liberal wing of psychiatry. It was a 10am start after...

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Joe Kelly reflects on mental health issues and the Hearing Voices Network

6 December 2009

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I have a confession. Apart from having a so called mental health problem, I have yet another affliction. That is I suffer from difficulties with writing. The problem is not genetic or environmental, not infectious or of some strange origin or ague. It’s merely this - I am so impassioned with my cause and so keen to say my piece, I seem to get overcome with a kind of word blockage and a compaction of thought that prevents me approaching the computer keyboard. Now in the late hours of the...

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Joe Kelly is working towards a better deal for mental health users and survivors

19 January 2010

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Photo of a man sitting down holding his hands together

I hope 2010 is a very productive and positive year. 2009 was very mixed. I had some interesting experiences but the year was tinged with difficulties. I am reminded that I am continuing on a pathway that started many years ago. In 1998 I co-founded Footsteps Art Group, which later became Footsteps Arts. From small beginnings my colleagues and I were able to create a lively art group, with visual arts, music and creative writing, not to forget filmmaking and photography. We were lucky to create...

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Joe Kelly blogs some reflections on the Survivor Movement

15 March 2010

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The Unstoppable Movement ''What we did was to start a movement that can’t be stopped. All it can do is grow.' Hans Weigant, 1985 Dutch Patients Council Foundation. This rather wonderful quote, now part of survivor history, spurs me on to say that I am part of a movement - a movement that I am very proud to be a member of. Sometimes the movement is extraordinary, as when I visited Uganda in Africa and met the wonderful delegates from over 35 countries discussing the important issues on...

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Joe Kelly reviews the Survivors History Pageant at Kingsley Hall

29 March 2010

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Last weeks Survivors History Pageant at Kingsley Hall in Bromley-By-Bow was a great success. Run by Survivors History Group and F.E.E.L (Freedom for East End Loonies), about seventy people were there. Andrew Roberts was in command as the IT projector unrolled the history of User Survivors in Britain. Nathalie Fonnescu made a photo/live action record of the evening that can be seen in parts on Youtube. You can find related links by clicking on the video of Frank Bangay's performance of 'A Proud...

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Joe Kelly charts the progress of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

12 April 2010

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shows an image of a chess piece - a castle - with lettering around the circumference of the round central image

In March 2009 I attended the World Network of Service Users and Survivors of Psychiatry [WNUSP] Conference in Uganda, Africa. The main business of the conference was the CRPD, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This Convention was originally signed in the United Nations, New York in 2007. Since then I have been tracing its progress through our own system. It has been ratified by our government and recently I attended a conference by the Office for Disability Issues [ODI] at...

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Joe Kelly comments on causes of low self esteem in mental health treatment

15 June 2010

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drawing of a phone imposed on face of a figure

When I visit my local Mental Health Resource Centre I'm greeted by running the gauntlet of an entry system that was designed for processing, what would appear to be very difficult people. Firstly you ring a bell next to a door with a glass frame. A buzzer rings and you go into an enclosed space with a glass screen looking into an office. In the corner is a CCTV camera monitoring you from above. Next you have to sign in saying who you are visiting and the reason for visiting. You then press a...

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Joe Kelly is keen to connect. He blogs some favourite online places for mental health issues

10 July 2010

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drawing of a group of faces huddled around the world

When I stood down as Director of Footsteps Arts I made a particular point of getting broadband at home. I realised the power of the internet and it's many advantages. I wanted to develop my research and development capacity and search for new and innovative ideas in the mental health sector. I realised that communication and isolation was an important issue for service user/ survivors, both individually and collectively. The internet continues to offers new opportunities and new links between...

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Joe Kelly visits Birmingham to attend an important seminar

26 July 2010

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a group of survivors

Recently I travelled from my home in Greenford to Whitechapel and was picked up at the Brady Centre by a minibus that took a group of us to Birmingham. The group was a keen bunch of user survivors from three main groups. These were the Survivor History Group, THACMHO [Tower Hamlet Afro Caribbean mental health organisation] and lastly f.e.e.l. Friends of East End Loonies. We travelled to the University of Birmingham, Centre for Excellence In Interdisciplinary Mental Health, Edgbaston -...

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Joe Kelly is looking for feedback about approaches to changing medication

6 September 2010

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book cover

Currently I am in a transitional stage of development. With the help of my advocate I have changed from depot injections to oral medication. I am finding this very challenging. In this I have been influenced by Dr. Joanna Moncrieff, author of The Myth of the Chemical Cure, and Dr Richard Bentall, author of Madness Explained. Also, I have started to write a book with the help of art therapist Andrea Heath. I am working on a new project, "USA, a manifesto, a user-survivor agenda", which I hope to...

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Joe Kelly comments on service provision at 'resource centres'

22 February 2011

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I believe that Service Users/Survivors can help each other to recover. This self-help thinking is not evident at day centres, and could do a lot to help people lead more meaningful lives. Professionals feel threatened when mental health service users want to be providers and run things. They are often averse to this way of thinking. I feel that day services should be geared up in getting people back to work not long-term disability. This process should begin at the day centre My local Community...

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Joe Kelly attends Mental Health Research Network National Scientific Meeting

28 April 2011

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I must be meeting the right people because the North London Hub of The Mental Health Research Network invited me to attend this important conference at Cambridge University from 6th-8th April 2011 concentrating on Developmental and Youth Research. Cambridge is the home of Antarctic explorers, a famous spy ring, the splitting of the atom and the Monty Python Team, to mention but a few of its achievements. It was good to meet service users/survivors and carers from the various MHRN research hubs...

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Back on the road again!

6 July 2011

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Heaing Homes DVD cover showing an image of a red clapboard house

Dear readers, last week was a week to remember. Had my annual health MOT with Dr Patel looking at my bodywork and my big ends - everything working well so ‘back on the road again ‘. I can almost hear the guitar strumming out the chords. The week started well with a trip to f.e.e.l friends of east end loonies] at the Larc Centre in Whitechapel. They were showing a Daniel Mackler documentary called ‘Healing Homes’ about service user/survivor recovery and healing in Sweden....

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Poems for Café C

9 October 2011

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book cover showing a collage of small drawings

I am poet in residence at Cafe Church - a community that meets for coffee and doughnuts in the lounge at St John’s, West Ealing. Here is a small sample of poems from my poetry pamphlet 'Poems for Cafe C' published by St John’s Church, Mattock Lane, London W13 9LA Could be me, could be you, could do better I’m for the guy that is on the run, the outward traveller, the homeless one, the one whose life is hard and not much fun. I’m for the girl who’s a mental health...

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New Vision...

12 October 2011

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I’m exploring a New Vision in communication. I’m reviewing my situation and re-evaluating the power of the blog. I think blogging is a very powerful disability campaigning tool. I have heard from NSUN [National Survivor User Network] of the large projected growth of Internet access for disabled people and service users in particular. I‘d like to take full advantage of the growth and expansion and use it as a campaigning tool to inform, promote discussion and work for change...

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I have a dream

27 December 2011

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‘I have a dream': these were the words uttered by the champion of liberty, Martin Luther King. They were delivered on the 28 August 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C. He had a vision for human rights in the USA and humanity. Originally he took his lead from Mahatma Ghandi the inspired human rights leader of Indian Independence. These two giants of civil rights have written in the pages of history the road to freedom and we take our lead from them in the Disability Movement. In...

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SOS - Save Our Services

31 December 2011

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newspaper clipping of protest

On a freezing dark December evening a group of friendly campaigners gathered on the steps of Ealing Town Hall to raise awareness about the threat to close Ealing Hospital also the threat to close the MAC Centre a Mind in Ealing & Hounslow Mental Health Project. Our group of approximately 40 people, many of whom were service users, spent time talking to the public, gathering signatures on their petition and talking to the local Ealing Gazette. Having made our platform we went into the main...

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Can we trust the Trust? The changing landscape of welfare reform!

24 February 2012

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photo of St Bernard's Gate, covered in ivy

Serious questions are beginning to emerge about future healthcare for people with Mental Health difficulties in West London. The under-performing West London Mental Health Trust, severely criticised in the recent Care Quality Commission Reports, is probably to be merged with the Central and North West NHS Foundation Trust or another Trust? An alternative plan of action is unfolding as various serious problems emerge. The West London Mental Health Trust as Chief Executive Peter Cubbons, who is...

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New Vision of Disability

3 July 2012

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photo of a tree in leaf with a round frame border

A WORD ‘Where there is no vision the people perish’ proverbs 29-18 A SONG http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvkvAXXuS58 THE STATEMENT Since leaving Footsteps Arts two years ago I have been campaigning for a better deal for mental health service users and in the process realising the need for a new approach to disability. Pan disability uniting all the disabilities including people, mental health problems with physical disabilities, those with learning disabilities and also vulnerable...

Comments: 6