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mental health survivors, carers, therapist, family and friends
By Steve Walter in conversation with Jenny Bloomer

ISBN: 978-1-84991-853-4
Published: 2012
Pages: 384
Key Themes: Mental Ill-Health, Depression, Schizophrenia, Recovery


Voices… tells the real-life stories of different people’s experiences of mental ill-health, from the point of view of sufferers and carers, family and friends spanning a range of ages and backgrounds, from mild depression to schizophrenia, from the younger woman to the older man; plus commentary and conversation with a qualified and experienced psychotherapist. It also weaves a narrative, which tells of the author overcoming his condition and performing his own story at the Brighton and Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

About the Author

Steve first experienced ‘An Acute Psychotic Episode’ in June 1997 and then again two years later in 1999. His story of having bipolar affective disorder is told in Fast Train Approaching…

From 2001 he was an Ambassador for the government’s mind out for mental health campaign. He has worked extensively with the Employers’ Forum on Disability delivering a variety of presentations and has also advised companies directly on managing mental health in their workforce.

Having written of his experience of bipolar he decided to write Voices to capture other people’s experience of mental ill health. He weaves these voices in with the story of presenting his own show at the Brighton and Edinburgh Festival Fringes with musician Steve Antoni, Peter Wilson and sons with combined spoken word and song. The show has been warmly received and is described in Voices.

Book Extract

After my first book, Fast Train Approaching…I am writing this to embrace other people’s
experience of mental ill-health, not only my own. These original voices – true-life stories from
the edge – share differing perspectives from friends, relations, and strangers becoming friends,
on surviving fractures of the mind both first hand (or as care givers), and range from mild
depression to schizophrenia, from the younger woman to the older man.
This book is for those who may identify with these stories, whether directly or through caring
for friends and relations who have had, or may yet have, similar experiences. One in four of us
will have a common mental health problem at some time in our lives and about 1% of us will
live with a severe mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or severe depression,
which may require continuing, treatment and care. However, remember this…
…a person with an anxiety disorder can be housebound and require intensive support
from a carer, whereas a person with schizophrenia can lead a normal life in all respects
other than the subjective experience of their symptoms.
Mental Health and Work, Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2008
Describing our state of mental health goes to the root of our being. As we attempt to define or
express a sense of who and what we really are, we can be led deep into creativity and even
into the realm of spirit. And when we are shaken, when we lose that connection with the real
and stumble into illness, we become strangers to those close to us, those who care for us.
Before each of these stories, heading every chapter, are a series of movements from the yang
24 style of Tai Chi1. I have chosen this meditation of spirit in movement since Tai Chi has
played a major part in my growth and healing following my experience of breakdown. The body
dancing in slow motion, realizing moments of reflection, of focus and reaching different states
of being.


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