No Panic (Sutton and Merton) is a group of people who meet every week to provide mutual support for their experiences of anxiety. Founded by an incredible woman named Jean Bevan, the group has helped people cope and recover since 1997.
Over the past few months I’ve been proudly working on an extremely worthy project through the fantastic Apples & Snakes Performance Poetry organisation. Apples & Snakes’ amazing Daniela Paolucci asked if I could design and illustrate a book that No Panic (Sutton and Merton) was developing. It would feature poetry and prose plus creative writing activities helmed by the uber-talent, author and performer, Sally Pomme Clayton. Sally Pomme also brought out the writing skills of the group members, and helped develop their abilities to produce some incredible work for the book entitled The No Panic Book of Not Panicking (well-being through creative writing).
Here’s a piece of writing by Robin Bevan in an Online Exclusive page that was developed but not included in the final draft of the book…
The project has shown how taking a valuable goal of creating understanding of a serious mental health issue and fusing it with the creativity of writing prose and poetry has a double win.
Firstly the act of creation itself has clearly been a helpful constructive process for all the writers involved who suffer from anxiety. Secondly the final result has already been appreciated by many readers, breaking down the stigma of mental illness and spreading understanding.
On Thursday 16 June, the official launch of the book took place at Sutton Central Library. It was compèred by Sally Pomme, and featured talks and readings by Daniela and many of the contributors to the book, including myself…
There were even official introductions to the event by the head of the local council, Simon Wales, and the deputy mayor of Sutton Nali Patel (far right below, alongside myself, book contributor Lawrence Ashenden and book editor Sally Pomme Clayton…)
The book is a fantastic read to learn more about anxiety, or to directly help anyone suffering themselves. You can pick up a hard copy of the book from any of the Apples & Snakes offices (see branches here and maybe phone to double check first!) or download a PDF version here!