Philosophy of The Big Society

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Monday, 6 October 2008

They Wanna Tell You A Storeee

A group of Norwich people, with mental health problems, have offered their services as living library books. People can borrow them, to find out more about their lives.

The collaboration between MH Charity 'Rethink' and the youth volunteering campaign, 'Agents4 Change', has been set up to break down stigma around mental illness by allowing members of the public to listen to people's individual stories and hear about their experiences.

Acting Manager for Stuff Stigma, Oz Osbourne (no relation..well, I don't think so), said: “The human book volunteers will be helping to reduce stigma, promote diversity and increase understanding between social groups".

I do get a bit sick of MH charities harping on about stigma, like it is the biggest concern for people with MH problems and the only barrier to a quality life. I also get sick of myself and repeating that the system is where the stigma was started and mostly continues and the usual 'We Know Best' approach to campaining, carried out by charities, twats me off. However, I like the idea of people telling their stories and if this campaign came from the people wanting to tell the stories then it is alright by me.

Not sure about those t shirts though!! I would have gone for something more subtle like, "Guess the name of my lunacy" or "Bonkers But Doesn't Bite"

The full story, of 'The Living Library', can be found at


  1. Ia it me or are they an odd looking bunch, is that because that's what the public expect?

  2. suffering from N.F.N.

    Normal for Norfolk ROFL

  3. I dunno Lareve...the more I think about things the more reasons I find to distrust them.

    Paranoid, me? Never!!! Ha!

    It takes some gumption..or complete oblivion... to go to talk to people you have not met before about something like illness and how it has affected you, your behaviour and relationships etc etc. Some people like it. I can't think of anything more weird than sitting in close proximity to complete strangers and telling them the ins and outs of my lunatic past and present.

    I hope it isn't one of those 'how we all recovered' type of affairs.

  4. Hi Anon

    You haven't been to Downside!

    It is like the Oxfam relief version of Chavdom here. All the community policing work is done around keeping your precious objects safe..(oh to be cred enough to have precious objects).

    Fact the place is rife with drug dens seems to go over everyones' heads.

    Perhaps we should have our own community library..."Too fekked to be prejudiced"