Film compiling stories from the Mental Health Museum's Oral Histories project. The film shares people's experiences of mental health issues and services in Wakefield and the wider South West Yorkshire area.

Well, it's great to come full circle because I'm back here at the Mental Health Museum, which is in Field Head Hospital and where I have actually been a patient. And to come here and do something positive and the sun shining, it just feels really good and that, you know, the corridor does still look clinical inside. But then the Mental Health Museum and this kind of sanctuary in the middle is full of greenery and space, and so that feels really positive. Actually, when you're going down and becoming a bit more a bit more lazy and lethargic, then, um it's It's those times that I need to step in with my own interventions

And those interventions are really quite simple. It's nothing to do with possessions or buying things or anything like that. It's to do with one of the things is walking, hiking, and I can do some great hikes over lockdown

And what have you. I've been regularly doing 20 and 30 miles in a day through the mountains and feeling fantastic. Mental health can be good

It can be positive, Um, but also, when you go through tricky times, it can also not be so good. So, um you know, I mean, when I was a teenager, I had quite a lot of anxiety. Um, just with I think hormones and pressures of things and things that now seem quite insignificant but at the time seemed a really big thing

Um, but I My dad was very influential on on helping me through that. And, um, just being able to get a positive outlook on life and being able to put things into perspective and a big thing that I would say about mental health is concentrate on the things that you personally can't control and the things that you can't control. Don't worry too much about it, because in the end it tends to work out

OK, so I think recovery is an ongoing healing journey. Um, but it is optimistic. It's not

I never say I'll be recovered. I just say that I'm now hopeful for the future and that everyone has hope. I enjoyed my job and it's good my granddaughter works up at field now

I, um, for a time worked at Store Hall Hospital. Well was based at hospital working for Health. Huddersfield Health Authority

It was 19th, the summer of the lovely summer of 1988 when I was there, um, and I was employed as a gardener in terms of, um, my job there. We would have a rota of these places to go to and do some gardening work for so we we'd go out to different satellite, um, sites across patch, um, to do some some gardening. So that would usually take a day or a half day of of that

Um, but we did do some work on site, As I said, Um, so I remember, uh, mowing the bowling green, Um, mowing, um, football pitches and cricket pitches. Um, all sorts. Really enough stuff, you mean? No, enough staff there, enough stuff

And then you can get out the products you wanted or whatever. Where did you work? I worked at Hospital Hospital. There were no women there at first

But then they said to ST Mary up, and then I went after one woman. There were all men, the male staff. We started doing that About 90

I can't remember anyway. And then, uh, I work at and that were all men and Children. And there were no staff

What was that, like one of them were a bit frightening. You know, I was on Beach Beach. I I didn't like working on that on my own, so it was still waiting for them coming down on the beach view

He set it off. I mean, you probably believe this, but and all of a sudden you were down and put steps when you got up there, they were down there. Yeah

I've just seen in the museum that the there was an artisan yard in the old, um, Stanley Royd. And apparently it goes back to the 18 hundreds. At least that there was an artist and yard, which is in the display

It says that there was That's where the workshops were for the woodwork. Um, mechanics, um, boot makers, um, within the hospital. And they're always down one yard

Well, the hospital I worked in, um, which was designed in the 1935 and opened in 37 had exactly the same. And then what had been the boot maker shop? Which is where my bench was, because when I went there in 74 the boot maker had moved. He was no longer there, but we still had his equipment in the in my workshop

So you had, um if you ever went to Timpson. So you have that big row of, uh, machines that grind and polish. That machine was still in the workshop, um, as well as things for cutting out heels and the soles and all that heavy duty work

Those bits of machinery was still about, um, So my bench was, um, had been part of the that shop. Um, and then there had been the upholster, but he had then moved to a bigger workshop. Um and so he was working there until, um, the mid eighties and they would repair and recover all the hospital soft furnishings

So do all that kind of stuff. Did that include padded cells? We never had a padded cell. That's one of the things that Runwell kind of prided itself on was that it had never had a padded cell do things

There's there's a hands on the displays. There's a bad hotel. I mean, I went into that hotel and even though the door wasn't shut, I to come straight back out because I well, I really got claustrophobic, and I thought How can anybody be put in there for the length of time and not feel claustrophobic? I mean, some of the instruments that's on display are around about

I'm thinking, I'm glad I went to when? When they have to be used like water boots and and stuff like that. The straight jackets, you know, you look at, but yeah, it's been it I like I like it's been a It's been a It's been an inspiring journey and one that I'm glad I've made and I have had the opportunity to make. And I would advise anybody to come and just have a look at the mental Health Museum

What was it like doing this? Collision beams? Um, doing the seclusion rooms? Um, well, I mean, the doors are like we we to For the start, you have to have lifters for the doors and a couple of people to lift them out with you and wheel them out. And, um, these used to break these used to break on on the weak points where the bolts went into the into the door frames and everything. Um, but apart from that, that's about what we did like, you know, um, and and and And most of this in general, like every every door's got a lock on it

So we used to look after all the locks, suites. They had lots of different lock suites, which you have to get the head your head round because you've got Yeah. I mean, from one door, you'll have a you'll have a master key that will open every door in a ward

But each door is individual, so they have a what you call a servant key. So the the, um, the the user can just have their own key to get into that door. But it's then you've got a subs suite on top of that

So you you might partition that that unit off into, like, three different subs suites. But a master key will override everything you know. So you can have a patient with a key to open his own bedroom door

And in that area it'll have a substrate that that the member is tapped to override that key. But in all the system, if you have a master, a master suite, then you a master key that will override all the subs, suites and the servant suites so that one key would fit everything in that in that unit, you know, So you've got to have all this in mind when you when you be pressing locks. So we have to have stocks of different types of locks, different barrels, different sweet sweets, different subs, suites because they all came with a servant key

But you have a sub master key on top of that and a master key that that So it's quite complicated really, to get your head around. But once you've got it, you know, it's it's there for life. We sometimes would have, um, lunch on the site in the in the cafeteria come restaurant

And we would we would meet, um, service users there. Uh, it wasn't a bustling place like I imagined it would have been when it was fully occupied. Um, because it had thousands of people, which it would explain why it had lots of sports facilities

It had something like four football pitches, two tennis courts, um, at least one cricket pitch, a bowling green. It had loads of different, um, sports facilities, um, and and walks and stuff you could do around the grounds, But then it's also good, like looking in the museum, reflecting back on the asylum systems locally because once you're kind of into mental health, you really get into it, um, as a kind of patient, even though I don't like that word and someone who now works in it, Um, and seeing how the treatment has changed over the years, but also the similarities that we still face today. Like there's some beautiful stitching from people at the asylum in the museum

Um, and I've spoken to people who were saying how much better it was in the asylum than it was out in society at the time. Um, so I think again, we might be shocked at, like the padded cell inside. But at the same time, I'm still on loads of medication and there's a certain part of that, but I feel like a bit like a padded cell today

You know, if I think of my my mental health as being like a spiral, there are times when I can do things that help that spiral go up and up and up, and so I'm getting happier and but equally there are things that I can do that the spiral will go the opposite way around and go down and down and down. I first started noticing I had problems with mental health when I was really quite young when I was about 10 or 11. I was certainly suicidal by the age of 12

Um, but I didn't start telling anybody about my problems until my late thirties, when they they really felt for me, is I I buried things for a very, very long time. Um, and there was a lot of stigma about mental health issues, and I was sort of working, you know, professional job. And, you know, like, normal life

Um, but everything just disintegrate the relationship break up, and I stuff that professional help at that point. But when I told people I at work and things are still working that was suffering from depression, nobody believed me cos you get so good at covering it up. So I've really started coming into services in my late thirties

I'm now in my mid fifties. I suffer from a mental health care from a 10 to 11 year old, and I didn't feel that I have any support until, uh, are we 18 going into a hospital, and they asked that a off with, uh, mental health help. But I didn't get any support or any help due to, uh through me being deaf

And it would be nice if if they did have any deaf community with people with deaf people have mental health problems as well. I feel that I didn't have any help of anything after the park and there were no sign sign language there available. I was struggling to hear what they were saying, and I just felt a bit intimidated

I ended up going and see a private psychiatrist in, and they put me on, uh, Stelazine. Or it was a tablet something. And my mom, my mom gave me a packet of cigarettes and said, Do you wanna have a fag? I said, Yeah, I take this tablet

So I took the tablet and then took them for about three or four days and then, um came off the tablets, started getting poorly again and decided in my wisdom to attack my mother. So I went upstairs and got a knife and tried to attack her. I couldn't get into the door cause she locked up inside the door

So I went back downstairs, managed to get a hammer and said, Right, I'll take out on the car. So I smashed the car a bit. So the next thing I remember was being on the ward sectioned, and that's where it all sort of

And then I started again. And then I started again and very confusing time where it's I blacked out a lot, but I I remember coming round on the wall, basically feeling better on the wall. You know what I mean? Um, I've had two or three episodes since, um, I about paranoia

A bout of anxiety. Um, but this has all been going on for 20 odd years. I've been in the system 20 odd years now, so it's been going on quite a long time, and I've been with mental health services for 20 odd years

You know, I've been working in the mental health thing for about 20 odd years. Um, but luckily, touch wood. I'm quite stable

Um, I'm doing OK, so and my partner is very helpful. She helps out a lot as well. Have the mental health services been of benefit or detriment in your experience

I believe that there's been, um, a mixture of benefits and detriments within our mental health professional services that have helped me through my experience. Um, I do feel that those that had more experience in the settings that they were working in and probably lived experience as well were able to, um, people bringing artists on different elements of who I am in order to come to the best diagnosis and therefore able to aid me with the best, um, support.

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