Voices: mental health survivors, carers, therapist, family and friends has been published by Chipmunka publishing!

Steve’s second book is a fresh look at mental health problems, as we experience them from day to day. Voices builds on his experience of mental health by connecting with that of others.

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 – Jenny Bloomer.

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.

This is a wise and at times even beautiful book. Led by Steve, all the contributors in this story share their own vivid experiences of either having a mental illness, or caring for someone who does. Their writing is open, vulnerable and worthy of being listened to. One in four of us will have a mental health problem at some stage in our lives, and as Steve says, ‘when we lose that connection with the real and stumble into illness, we become strangers to those close to us.’ This book is a hand held out across that divide, offering understanding support, first hand knowledge and serious reflection.

Sarah Salway

Voices is available price £15 from Chipmunka Publishing www.chipmunkapublishing.co.uk/shop. It is also available from major booksellers including Amazon

Fast Train Approaching…was Steve’s first book telling his personal story of breakdown and recovery.

Steve Walter – brief biography

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 what is now the Business Disability Forum 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 inVoices.

Jenny Bloomer (MA(Lond) DipCouns MBACP(Accred) UKRC RMN) – brief biography

Jenny’s experience has been wide and varied. It wasn’t until the early 80s that she trained and qualified in Psychiatry which led on to becoming a counsellor and psychotherapist. After working in the NHS, Private Clinics and Community Mental Health Teams in England and Australia, she began her own practice in 1996 which she has today. In 2000, she completed a Masters Degree at London University in Psychoanalytic Studies.

Her philosophy is that humans have incredible strength, but that this is equalled by our fragility. Our strength, she says, enables us to find ways of surviving even the most difficult circumstances. However, techniques of survival may prove detrimental to either psychic or physical health, often to both and, importantly, the level of distress is very individual. Her practice respects, values and celebrates the uniqueness of individuals and is concerned for their eventual well-being. There are often underlying strengths that can be utilised and always reasons for temporary or long-term inability to cope.

During therapy, she aims for attunement, but not intrusion and holding, but not suffocation. Her ultimate aims are to generate or re-generate independence rather than to create dependency and importantly, to achieve integration where fragmentation (for whatever reason) may have caused confusion, distress and often illness.

Jenny Bloomer, 2012

Voices – the second book has arrived!