Today the group had a bit of time reconnecting with people they had not seen for a while. We reminisced that the group has been running now for 5 years this month, firstly under the name ‘Choose Life’ and since January this year, ‘A Life Worth Living’. We had a discussion about whether there had been noticeable changes in the way mental health and illness was spoken about in culture and the media and whether there was less stigma in the time that the group has been running. People had noticed that in the last five years more public figures had been speaking more openly about their own experiences of mental illness which in line with more gradual changes of speaking about mental illness over the last three decades and raising awareness of how to stay mentally healthy had lessened stigma because more people realised that mental illness could affect at least 1 in 4 of us in our lifetime, and rather than media coverage making it sound like all “paranoid schizophrenics” (stigmatising labels!) brutally murdered people, it was more understood that people struggle with symptoms of schizophrenia in ways that do not equate with violence and fear.
For the activity in the group today each person named a group or artist and everyone then thought of a track by that artist which held particular memories for them. Some of these songs and memories included seeing Madonna for the first time and thinking thinking she was hot on the ‘like a virgin’ video. Other memories included decorating to The Doors, dancing to The Beatles, random and ancient impersonators of Elvis, deeply emotional connections with songs, the beards of ZZ Top, and the iconic tracks from Oasis in the 1990’s (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? holding memories for people of a time that was very influential for them and Oasis provided an apt soundtrack for life at that time.
You might be interested in the following article from Psychology Today: