I’m delighted to announce that Talking Taboos has been nominated for The Broadcast & Media Award for the 2021 Norfolk Arts Awards!

I’m so grateful for everyone’s support, including Gary Standley at BBC Radio Norfolk with whom I feel in good company with this nomination! It’s an honour to be alongside him.

Here’s a link to the EDP article announcing the 2021 Norfolk Arts Award nominees: https://www.edp24.co.uk/things-to-do/days-out/norfolk-arts-awards-nominees-announced-8142720
Transcripts of the monologues are now on sale 
in The Book Hive in Norwich.
Every book sold includes a donation to The Norman Lamb Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund

Helen was interviewed by Jonathan Harden on his Honest Actors’ Podcast about Talking Taboos and it’s now available to listen to for free online – on your favourite podcasting site!

Two of the monologues featuring Jonathan and Helen – Axis & Seagull – are also featured on the podcast

play.acast.com/s/honestactors

https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-honest-actors-podcast/id976204285

Talking Taboos Launch #2 @ Equity, London

13th December 2019

Producer and Host Helen Vine

Mental Health Advocate Laura Darrall

“Hard stuff needs to come out so it can heal.

I think what’s interesting about mental health and when you’re struggling, is that your tears don’t feel like your own, they feel aggressive somehow, they feel as though they’re not a part of who you are, but there’s this depth, this weight of sadness that somehow alienates you both from yourself and everyone else.

We connect through our vulnerabilities. When we speak to people openly and honestly and bravely, that is when we truly see each other.

Hearing other people’s stories, we don’t know what that will trigger, in ourselves and in others, and it’s in communication that healing begins.”

#itaffectsme Laura’s campaign

Mental Health Coach and Ambassador Josh Connolly

“Anytime I expressed any kind of emotion it came with a sense of shame. 

When I was younger and people told me I was too sensitive I now believe what they meant was they couldn’t handle how they felt when they sensed my sensitivity. 

Operating on surface level is comfortable because then we don’t feel exposed and I think we do a lot to avoid being exposed. 

Addiction, for me, is anything I do for temporary relief that has an adverse affect in the long run but that I continue to do anyway.

When we see the addict on the street who’s addicted to alcohol and drugs it touches a part of us that we don’t want to face. 

For most of my life I felt like I was on a sinking ship, and I was just keeping my head above the water, and I had a bucket, and I was emptying the water as fast as I could to keep my head above the water.  Lots of people saw my ship off course and they came on and they fixed me, they jumped on and steered the ship. Nobody realised that when they got my ship back on course my experience never changed, I was still emptying water. I believe the best way we can support each other is we jump on and grab a bucket and we start emptying the water and that gives people the opportunity to start steering their own ship. And we wait and when they go off course we let them find their own way. And when they get there eventually, they do it for empowerment not because we fixed them.”

https://www.joshconnolly.co.uk/

NHS – Bereavement Midwives 

“Within a few words, their lives change forever. 

We’re there to catch people at the worst time of their lives. 

Families crying from their absolute souls… guttural awful heart wrenching sounds when they’re told the news… it’s something very primitive… it’s a sound you never forget” 

They have to find a new normal. 

They can only retain about 5% of what we say because they’re in such shock.

The most unique thing about this kind of loss is that this is not the natural order, this is not the way that things are meant to happen. 

In the UK in general we are very bad at talking about death.

A lot of our families go home and they feel very isolated. We’ll call them up and often find it might be the only conversation that family has had that week … their friends and family don’t contact them as nobody knows what to say because they’re not used to having these conversations.”

 

Solace Women’s Aid 

“Women and children across the UK are experiencing domestic abuse and sexual violence right now. 

“Some of the women accessing our service have been with the perpetrator for more than 60 years, they’ve never told anyone and they’ve never sought support before.” 

“Women who have severe drug and alcohol issues or really complex mental health needs that have been completely marginalised by other services, completely ignored and sidelined.”

 

AA

“The taboo of being an alcoholic is so extreme that even for people who know they’ve got a drinking problem, allowing themselves to consider that they maybe an alcoholic is often very very difficult. 

Shame keeps people out of AA. 

When I went to my family and said I think I drink too much my mum’s response was like “Oh but you know if you stop you’ll never enjoy a nice glass of white wine” and that inability to see someone else’s drinking can be really unhelpful for people who are trying to recover.

This concept of the rock bottom… what happens when an alcoholic reaches rock bottom? They start digging… that’s quite typical of an alcoholic because there’s a sort of defiance about us which when put in the right direction can be extremely effective, but when it’s there to keep us from accessing help, we keep digging. 

The Alcoholics Anonymous programme allows people to take their worst nightmares, the things their most ashamed of, the most dreadful harm they’ve done to others, the things that have happened to them that they just can’t allow other people to know about, and actually these become the experiences that allows them to connect with other alcoholics. 

AA is another chance of life, and actually in some ways a first chance of life.” 

Mind

“Stigma prevents people from accessing treatment and not talking about mental health issues is incredibly damaging to people’s lives .

Ask someone how are you feeling? And be prepared to listen to the response. 

We have to normalise mental health issues. 

People with lived experience being prepared to actually speak out and challenge on a daily basis.

We have to breakdown the taboo of mental health problems and the only way we can do that is by having conversations and talking to people about it, because that’s what changes attitudes, that’s what changes behaviour.”  

Time to Change Champions Podcast

Talking Taboos Launch #1 @ Norwich Arts Centre

6th November 2019

Host and Producer Helen Vine

“Society closes its doors on outsiders – dismisses them – as it is easier to ignore ‘misfits’ than to engage with them. This sense of otherness that people are made to feel is damaging. It shuts them down. Often the thing society has deemed ‘taboo’ is out of the control of those experiencing it, so why do we label is as ‘abnormal’, socially sensitive, and feel it to be unutterable?” 

Time Norfolk – Pregnancy Loss Charity 

“When you lose someone that you’ve had a relationship with, the one thing you have is your memories… when you lose a baby to miscarriage you don’t have those memories.

… it doesn’t matter if your 8 weeks pregnant or 40 weeks pregnant, it is still a loss.

…If you’re a woman or a couple who have lost a baby and someone says to you ‘never mind you can have another one’ that is so not what you want to hear because that was your baby and you wanted that baby at that time.”

Time Norfolk Website

Alcoholics Anonymous

You will find that it is possible to rediscover happiness whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not.” 

Listening to the shared experiences of others may help you find the confidence you need to deal with the effects of someone else’s drinking. 

“The social taboo of alcoholism isn’t only about the alcoholic, it’s about the loved ones. Where do the families fit into this social taboo? The wives, the husbands, the partners, the children, the siblings, the parents… 

Alcoholism is a family disease, a progressive disease and most importantly a lifetime disease.


https://www.al-anonuk.org.uk/

4Cs Counselling


“Now more than ever there is a need for the provision of long-term talking therapy. Unless people can afford private therapists there is very little available out there.

We are of the belief that our thoughts, feelings and reactions to life happening around us are all valid. 

People struggling with emotional issues affecting their mental health often feel devalued, unworthy and misunderstood.”  

https://www.fourcs.org.uk/

Recorded interview with Mental Health Advocate Jack Teare

Tod Sullivan – Mental Health Ambassador

“I think we’re at the launch of something profoundly special. These are really incredible stories told in a really powerful way.

We have to, when we’re talking about taboos, be willing to face things that are difficult and be honest about them.

There’s no need to be afraid of mental health. 

When you listen to these stories, you don’t have to think did I experience something like that? All you have to think is did I ever have a feeling like that?
… as soon as you notice those feelings you have a complete connection and understanding of the people’s stories.” 

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/todtalks-inspiring-mental-health-stories/id1345312440

The Matthew Project

User, abuser, drunk, piss artist, crack head, crack whore… there are so many derogatory labels that we use for somebody who’s going through addiction…  waster, loser, shame on society, weak, useless… there’s so much guilt and shame felt by the person with the addiction. 

The greatest rick of relapse in recovery is isolation, so the answer to that has to be a positive community.” 

Producer Helen Vine chatted taboos to Gary Standley on BBC Radio Norfolk

It’s #AlcoholAwarenessWeek (11 -17 Nov 2019) and the slogan this year is #AlcoholAndMe
It is all about awareness-raising, campaigning for change and learning about the impact alcohol has on our health. For more info visit:
https://alcoholchange.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns/alcohol-awareness-week-1

The Talking Taboos Listening Chair is at The Millennium Library in Norwich this week! (11th – 18th November).

Take a seat and listen to the stories in your own space. There are a range of leaflets available to read and take away for support and advice.


The Talking Taboos launch event will be happening at Norwich Arts Centre on Wednesday 6th November. Tickets are free but booking is advised and are available from HERE. The organisations and mental health advocates that will be in attendance at the event are:

Al-Anon, AA, Leeway, The Matthew Project, 4Cs, Time Norfolk and mental health ambassador Tod Sullivan. There will also be a video appearance from mental health advocate Jack Teare.

The recorded monologues are currently touring around Norfolk Libraries in the form of a listening chair. They have so far visited Kings Lynn, Dereham, Plumstead Road (Norwich) and Sheringham. The chair will be at Great Yarmouth library from the 4th – 9th of November, and will finish the current run at Norwich’s Millenium Library from the 11th – 18th November.

Helen Vine with Lizz Page from and at Plumstead Road Library, Norwich