#WorldMentalHeathDay Prevention and Support #Joker

World Mental Health Day is observed on 10th October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health. This year the focus is on suicide prevention, there’s more information and videos for classroom use on the topic here

Firstly, I’d like to remind everyone to take the time to listen and spare a kind or encouraging word to those we interact with every day, especially if they look as if they need it,  because we all need a smile, a hug, or a supportive word.

Secondly I’d like to share with you my reflections after watching the film, Joker, earlier this week. I wasn’t planning on seeing the movie because I had heard that it was too violent and disappointing, not only by US critics, but also in the UK, where a recent Guardian review describes it as ‘the most disappointing film of the year’. Fortunately, one of my best friends, Elena, convinced me to go with her, and I’m so glad I did!

Joker does include violent scenes, although they are not more graphic than most action movies or video games kids play, and they are not just thrown in for effect, they are embeded in the story line.

It is also dark, because it portrays a heartless and cruel society, and distressing because it proposes no explcit solution to the subsequent violence, and foreshadows an increase in madness and bloodshed.

On the other hand it does accomplish a positive goal, and that is creating empathy with the main character’s life and circumstances. I want to make it clear at this point that I am in no way condoning or justifying Arthur’s behaviour. There is no justification for such extreme violence.

Some may think encouraging empathy is not a positive or necessary goal, that there is nothing to be understood, because the mentally ill should be locked away to protect the rest of the population, but that is neither a long term nor an ethical solution.

There are two solutions implicitly hinted at throughout the film.

In the first place prevention and in the second place adequate, professional and pharamcological support for those who need it.

Arthur was an illegitimate son, born to an unstable mother, herself having been in institutions, while he was physically and mentally abused by step-fathers, rejected by his biological father, ignored by social services, dismissed by mental health services, laughed at by colleagues, ridiculed by passers by and attacked by bullies and gangs.

I kept thinking that so much could and should have been done to prevent the escalation of the decline in his physical and mental health. I am convinced he would have been a different person if he had had better parenting, education and social and mental care.

Whatever you believe, the film certainly encourages debate and analysis of how societies could imrpove mental health issues and social welfare, and that in itself is an invaluable benefit.

Other reasons to watch Joker are, great acting, directing and photography, a moving and action packed story, and a fabulous soundtrack. Here’s my favourite song taken from the staircase scene towards the end of the film.

Here’s the complete playlist on Spotify

There are plenty of great songs such as, Send in the clowns, That’s Life, Put on a Happy Face, Stormy Weather, White Room, Smile, and many more.

Have you seen Joker? What did you think?

Are you planning on seeing it? Why or why not?

Thursday photo prompt: Flame #writephoto #1000Speak #FlashFiction

This flash fiction was written in response to Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt. and because my post is all about random acts of kindness, I’ve also added #1000Speak  

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Today’s photo: Flame. Use the image below to create a post on your own blog… poetry, prose, humour… light or dark, whatever you choose, by noon (GMT)  Wednesday 15th February and link back to this post with a pingback to Sue’s blog.

Here’s my take:

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A Happy Ending?

Crouched in the doorway at the end of the alley, Nancy watched them rub their hands by the flames.

Shivering, she dragged her bare feet behind a crate. Tom took out some sausages and stabbed them with a long skewer.

She crawled behind them, drawn by the smell of food.

Bill turned. ‘Want something to eat?’

Nancy nodded eyes wide, swallowing saliva.

‘What’ve you got?’ asked Sid.

The child shook her head, raising her empty palms.

‘Get lost,’ Jack shouted.

Nancy scurried back to the doorway and lit another match.

Maybe next time her story would have a happy ending…

 

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The picture reminded me of the Little Match Girl, the short story of the poor girl who lit the matches she couldn’t sell to warm her hands and light up her hopes and dreams, written by the Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen, in 1845. Unfortunately, the match girl didn’t have a happy ending, but who knows if Nancy will be luckier…

Let’s give Nancy’s story another go.

****

A Happy Ending

Crouched in the doorway at the end of the alley, Nancy watched them rub their hands by the flames.

Shivering, she dragged her bare feet behind a crate. Tom took out some sausages and stabbed them with a long skewer.

She crawled behind them, drawn by the smell of food.

Bill turned. ‘Want something to eat?’

Nancy nodded eyes wide, swallowing saliva.

‘What’ve you got?’ asked Sid.

The child shook her head, raising her empty palms.

‘Come here,’ beckoned Jack, ‘but just one, we’re all starving.’

Nancy nodded, grabbed a sausage and disappeared into the night.

***

Although the Little Match Girl was written in the 19th century, there are still plenty of homeless children in the world, we can’t save everyone, but we can each do our little bit to make someone’s day a little brighter.   

I saw this tweet a few days ago. It really made my day:

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 Many  anonymous people are trying to make the world a better place with small acts of kindness every day. Every little bit makes a big difference, and it’s so encouraging to read good news.

Have you read any good news lately?

 

My #GAPP_Week 4th July 2016

My #Gapp_Week 4th July

Gratitude: I’m Grateful for the summer holidays, for the lovely weather, for being able to rest and do my own thing (which is reading, writing, blogging and playing with my grandchildren) for six weeks!

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Achievement: I’m really pleased that I was able to wrap up everything at work. My work desk had been a mess all month due to end of term exams, evaluations, and final paperwork, but I managed to get it all sorted out.

Final staff meeting. The final report was typed up shortly after!

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I’m Proud of helping my colleague prepare his exam for a permanent teaching post. He has a temporary post at my school. I only met him five months ago, and he’s a hard-working and enthusiastic teacher who deserves to pass, but he needed a little help with some of the theory and encouragement for the exam.

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I also helped another colleague correct exams, because she was very busy with personal matters. She’s also one of my best friends, and you may think that doesn’t count, but it does. Friendship has to be nurtured, and friends shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Here are my two colleagues in another staff meeting. We were actually working, but we have so much fun!

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I’ve also posted some reviews on amazon for authors I don’t personally know or interact with. We all know how important reviews are for both readers and authors.

I looked after my grandson last Monday, while his parents were working. I don’t help them as often as I’d like to because I’m working full-time, so I’m pleased to help out when I’m on holiday. I’m not sure I’ve put this in the right slot, because really it’s a pleasure to look after Alex. I’m grateful for the games we play and the laughter we share.

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        Painting in the patio!

PLANS: My plans for next week are to finish proof-reading the print copy of my third novel…

Lucy Editing

Write some overdue reviews…

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Tidy up my study at home, which is a terrible mess!

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What about you?

Join in, pingback and read other GAPP_Weeks.

Or just read and comment, if you prefer 🙂

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RULES (short version, longer version here):

Few rules. Life has enough of them!

1- Tell us about your GAPP_Week.

  • What are you GRATEFUL for? Beautiful yet simple things which make life wonderful.
  • What have you ACHIEVED? Things that you’ve done for yourself .
  • What are you PROUD of? Things you’ve done for others.
  • What are your PLANS for next week? Doable and simple, realistic steps towards your goals.

2- Pingback to Lucy’s GAPP_Week weekly post on my blog.

3- Add #GAPP_Week to your post title.

If you like, you can:

  • Write four sentences, 400 words, or 4,000 words!
  • Add pictures.
  • Join in every week, or whenever you like.
  • Write your post on Monday, or any other day of the week.
  • Check out other posts.
  • Add the logo to your post or to your page (when it’s available. I’m working on that!)
  • Retweet as much as you like!

Happy #GAPP_Week!