As I’ve already bowed out of my former life and am at a safe distance I want to give some shoutouts.
So many brilliant, dedicated mental health workers.
Former close friend Angela Kinn nee Salway has to top the list. She suffered alongside me but never stopped trying to ‘give something back’.
Wendy Giovanelli, mental health social worker but also very big in Hollywood I hear lol.
Wayne Garner, mental health social worker, for sharing many a gossip about our fellow professionals in Haringey over coffee/breakfast in a local caff. What larks Pip!
Emma Risheq and Carol (surname forgotten) are Occupational Therapists who have worked tirelessly in Haringey for many many years. They are a fantastic double act and really show everyone else how it’s done. They will always have a place in my heart. When I was incarcerated in the Spring of 2016, visits to the OT department upstairs from (then) Downhills ward (renamed Fairlands now lolol) helped me more than words can say because it reminded me that as well as a ‘patient’ I was also a professional. Over tea/coffee and chocolate digestives we would hold little micro-conferences which also doubled as gossip sessions. Aren’t those the best sort?
Phillippa Lennon and Theo Lloyd (with whom I starred in a professionally-made short promotional film no less) were amazing Light Workers from Centra Mental Health. I owe both of them a huge debt of gratitude. Theo is a graduate in Classics from Oxford University who could literally do ANY job but instead chose to help some of the most disenfranchised and downtrodden members of society. Our weekly sessions never failed to re-energise me when I was at such a low ebb. I also did my fair share of volunteering for them and was even on the panel that hired Theo for the role.
Katrina Lahmann is a Dual Diagnosis Support and Recovery Worker extraordinaire in Haringey. She is a whirlwind of activity and light and an absolute natural at what she does. She among other things, held my hand at a funeral of a dear friend, gave supportive hugs like they were going out of fashion and ran a fantastic Theatre Group for recovering addicts which staged many performances. ‘Acting’ was an absolute blast and we had so much fun while doing it. We grew all of our performances from scratch. She counselled me for a year, bought me cake on my birthday, gave me her number to call whenever I needed a boost. A special place in Heaven is reserved for this amazing woman.
I’ve actually only scratched the surface. There are legions of others, literally. It just goes to show you that in the darkest places of all someone will come to shine you ‘the light that never goes out’ (Morrissey).
And yup. These incredible people could and SHOULD upstage any number of dubious ‘celebrities’ who are more at home at ‘red carpet’ events.
There is even a ‘Nollywood’ film (Nigerian cinema) that was made at St Ann’s Hospital. I tried to watch it online but could never find it. Will try another search now if I can only recall the title.