Phoenix Project

19 May 2016

Mental health issues can be a difficult subject to talk about but Active Communities funded group The Phoenix Project is hoping to break down barriers through a new radio show True Thoughts. In this blog, one of its members Robert talks about the project and how it's helped him manage his depression and anxiety.

"For a couple of years now a few of us have been talking about starting a radio show up but it seemed like a pipedream. Then I found out about this project which we’re about 12 weeks into now. We had a lady from the local radio station, IO Radio, come down and talk to us. Quite a few of us volunteered and True Thoughts came from there.

"At the start one or two of us thought we might find it quite daunting and thought we might have to pull out after a few weeks, but no one has. As time has gone on, we’ve all grown in confidence and now we find it quite exciting, we’re all as keen as we were on day one.

“We started by talking through our ideas and gradually we came up with a format that would make up the hour-long show. We all chose our good day, bad day song – songs that might cheer you up on a bad day or your favourite song that will lift your spirits.

"For the first show we read a few poems that we thought would be fitting and we had a couple of interviews with Active Ipswich because quite a few of us are involved in new-age kurling (like curling, but played indoors) and boccia (a sport similar to bowls but played indoors with soft leather balls).

We work on the project for two hours on a Friday and I actually look forward to coming which I never thought I would, but I’m finding talents that I never knew I had.

“Everyone who’s taking part is affected by mental health problems in some way or other and I think this is helping us. I’ve noticed that one or two of us who come to the project are becoming more talkative and confident in ourselves since we’ve been involved.

“I’ve lived with depression for most of my life. I’m now in my early sixties and since I was in my twenties there have been three black periods where I was very heavily depressed and even thinking of taking my own life. Anxiety still affects me. I have bad days and good days.

"Sometimes I wake up and feel fine and then the next day I’m really down and I have to really push myself to do anything.

“True Thoughts has helped me. I feel more confident about talking in public. I read a few long poems for the last show and there would have been a time where I would have dreaded that.

“Projects like this bring mental health out into the open, which is so important. It’s important not to hush them up. I genuinely think the show will help other people listening to it.

“If people tune in and think ‘they’re doing something with their lives, maybe I can do the same’ – that would be brilliant.”

Robert Rainbird

Click on the link below to listen to the group's first ever radio programme.

The next True Thoughts radio shows will be available on on Tuesday 31 May and Tuesday 14 June between 4 and 5 pm.

To connect with this group, click here.
To see pictures from this project, click here.
To read more blogs from the Trust, click here.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2016 takes place from 16 to 22 May 2016. This year's theme is relationships. To find out more and get involved, click here.   


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