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Equinox service user involvement

Headline outcomes & statistics

Statement from Chair of Equinox Board

25th February 2015

Robert Branagh, Chair of Equinox Care: “Equinox Care exists to provide support, care and accommodation to people with multiple and complex needs, including mental ill health, drug dependence and alcohol dependence. We also work with people who have a history of homelessness or offending. In 2014, we worked with 1138 people across our services in […]

In 2014, 9 people who have used Equinox Care services during the year came together to create a mental health awareness campaign called ‘Equinox Nine Lives.’ The centrepiece of this campaign was a 13.5 minute audiovisual piece, blending audio interviews, professional photography, motion graphics and moving images.

Equinox Nine Lives combats stigma, celebrates diversity and highlights recovery achievements. The 9 contributors shared memories including:

The 9 participants also related their personal experiences of mental ill health, including how they picture their mind (see David’s video and Zarina’s video as examples), as well as strengths and insights gained in terms of maintaining recovery from schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, personality disorder and depression.

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City Hall screening on World Mental Health Day 2014:

Equinox Nine Lives, City Hall, mental health, service user involvement, Equinox Care 1Working with the mental health lead at City Hall, David Beyt, Equinox Nine Lives was screened at City Hall on World Mental Health Day 2014, opened by Deputy Mayor of London Victoria Borwick. Many thanks to former Equinox trustee, Catherine Max, who was instrumental in securing this prestigious venue for our launch and thanks must go to all the brilliant staff at City Hall who organised the event.

Introducing the film at City Hall, two Equinox service users, John and Kathleen, spoke about their experiences with mental ill health and recovery.

Chair of Equinox Board, Robert Branagh, also spoke at the event.

Robert said: “we are thrilled to be taking part in the celebrations of World Mental Health Day 2014 at City Hall. In Equinox Nine Lives, our contributors speak for themselves.”

Holborn Library installation:

From 10th October to 31st October, Camden Libraries hosted the Equinox Nine Lives exhibition – a big thank you to Peter Baxter.

Visitors could enjoy the Equinox Nine Lives film and portrait photography in the main entrance of Holborn Library.

Equinox Care workers were on site for eight 2-hour sessions over 3 weeks, speaking to 164 people of all ages and backgrounds. They included Laurie, who commented: “London’s a big metropolis. People can feel swamped here. All the choices we have here can sometimes be overwhelming.”

And Elina, who talked about the importance to her of good nutrition in terms of maintaining good mental health.

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GovKnow 3rd Annual Mental Health Conference:

On 4th December 2014, GovKnow invited Equinox to participate in their 3rd Annual Mental Health Conference at Coin Street Conference Centre.

Keith and John, representing Equinox Southampton Way and Equinox Lewisham, gave speeches they had prepared for the conference. Feedback from the GovKnow conference team was that the Equinox Nine Lives session ‘was one of the most interesting parts of the day. It made a really valuable contribution.’

Time To Change:

In January 2015, Time to Change distributed the Equinox Nine Lives film via their Twitter and Facebook platforms, to their audiences of over one hundred thousand people per platform. Many thanks to Time to Change for their support.

Time to Change said: “Mental health problems affect people from all walks of life. Equinox Care showed us some videos, we like them.”

Twitter user, Jamie, commented: “Anyone can be affected, it’s how we walk with our heads held high…talk, listen and support.”

Twitter user, Fiona, commented: “The best mental health photography I’ve seen in ages.”

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Involvement & personalisation

Equinox “Off the Press” in 2014

25th February 2015

Vanessa Doidge, Equinox service user involvement manager: “Equinox Off the Press is a 20 page magazine, which initially focused on covering the topics of mental health, drugs and alcohol. The magazine expanded in the second issue of 2014 to cover news-related features, articles about Equinox Care activities, games and puzzles, recipes and creative work. “The […]

Equinox Nine Lives, Zarina’s story:

Equinox Brent logo“My name is Zarina and I am 20 years old. I love listening to music. I find it soothing and therapeutic and it helps me unwind.

“I also love seeing and talking to my Mum as she always gives me such great support and tells me that she is proud of me and she loves me.

“My life changed in the way that I couldn’t enjoy things anymore. Also I felt as if I was invisible and that no-one saw my struggle.

“My mind would be a swan, calm on the surface but paddling furiously under the surface to keep afloat.

“The most important thing to me is having a team of people ready to listen and support me all the time. Without them I wouldn’t be able to achieve the things I achieve today.

“I am proud of making a full recovery after having a serious breakdown because I really tried my best and I wanted to be well so much that I pushed myself to the limit.”

Equinox Brent:

  • Equinox Brent is a service for people who have experienced mental ill health and have previously been in high supported accommodation or hospital. At Equinox Brent, we help people over a 2 year period to prepare for moving on to lesser supported accommodation or complete independence.
  • Read about how Equinox Brent supported people to move on to greater independence in 2014.

More stories from Equinox Brent:

Equinox Nine Lives, David’s story:

Equinox Brent logo“My name is David and I am 45 years old.  I like music. I love listening to music. I’m learning to play guitar. I like to draw as well. I like to draw abstracts.

“If my mind and mental health was a colour? Brown, as in going round and round and round, cycle of life, no matter how it try to escape it, it’s there you know.

“A sky, a sun in the middle of the sky. There’d be like, natural formed columns, like mountain columns, side by side, and a bridge connecting them. It’s something that seems impossible to understand and overcome but there’s a path and assistance to getting across.

“I remember the voices said, ‘don’t tell anyone or they’ll lock you up in a psychiatric unit.’ That’s what they said. I actually told my family that I was hearing voices but that sort of went over their head.

“If I’m aware that I’m hallucinating about something or my mind is going in one direction it shouldn’t be going in, then I can stay on top of it, you know. It’s finding somewhere quiet, where I can be alone, to gather my thoughts. The first thing to confront in overcoming your mental health is accepting it.”

  • Find out more about Equinox Nine Lives, an audiovisual project celebrating the distinct voices and experiences of people who have experienced mental ill health and recovery

Equinox Brent:

  • Equinox Brent is a service for people who have experienced mental ill health and have previously been in high supported accommodation or hospital. At Equinox Brent, we help people over a 2 year period to prepare for moving on to lesser supported accommodation or complete independence.
  • Read about how Equinox Brent supported people to move on to greater independence in 2014.

More stories from Equinox Brent: