Balloch Open Mic Mental Health Week – May 2021
Mental Health Awareness Week
Realising it was Mental Health Awareness Week I immediately thought of a book I had read some two years ago and the strong impact it made.
Graham Morgan, MBE, of the Mental Health Commission (Engagement and Participating Office Scotland)> has worked in mental health for 30 years. His MBE was awarded for services to mental health. He has been a joint service user contributor to the Royal College of Psychiatrists and is a member of the Milan Committee and the McManus review of the mental health act in Scotland.
In 2017 he addressed the United Nations Committee against Torture. He has also spoken at various international, national and regional mental health conferences, often concentrating on supported decision making.
Graham has appeared on television, radio and in the printed media on a number of occasions. He highlighted HUG’s work in Romania, Poland, Catalonia, Portugal, and Czech Republic as part of a European Project some years ago. Graham says his favourite piece of work was being a sort of mascot at dramas which HUG took round Highland schools on mental health. He reports his very best experience as meeting people with mental health problems and trying to change the world in a way yet to be discovered, but believing we will, change it, or might, slowly…
Graham helped write the Scottish Mental Health Act under which he is now ‘detained’ in the community
Review of ‘Start’ by Graham Morgan
This was a book I read in two sittings – the ‘one more chapter/section syndrome’. It is not just another book about the trials and tribulations of living with mental health. It is a well-written book, in places a cheerful book, with the author writing with courage and honesty.
The style is linear, comprising three main themes. One theme deals with the author’s mental health. Descriptions of being in a psychiatric hospital are harrowing at times but due tribute is paid to the support received. Another theme is nature and the beautifully described observations reflect the author’s obvious love of and relationship with nature, finding it liberating and offering mental freedom. The third theme is maybe the most important for it deals with the love that Graham has found and the happy life he has with his partner and her children. Although he claims he cannot describe love he does give a wonderful definition. Graham demonstrates clearly how people living with a mental health issue can, and do, contribute to society.
This is a very positive book with stress on the importance of freedom. It is a book for professionals and those in daily contact with mental health, either because of their own or those near to them.
The Poster/Open Mic/Meet the Author…
This is really self-explanatory. Graham Morgan was interviewed by award winning author Robin Lloyd-Jones about Graham’s work and the book he had recently written. A full room heard Graham and Robin talk comfortably and openly not only about the book but also about Graham’s life generally. He read extracts from his book and, subsequently, not only headlined at the Open Mic at the Balloch House Hotel but also at a ‘Meet the Author…’ Event at Fruin Farm. Graham has the most wonderful speaking voice and his readings entranced everyone present at both events.
Mary Irvine, 13 May, 2021
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