Una Comics: On Sanity
When I got interested in drawing cartoons about life, one of the first drawings I made was a sequence about being stuck in a tunnel with both ends blocked and deciding to escape through the ceiling. This was based on a description I'd read of what it was like to develop a psychosis. At the time, my mother had been ill with delusions for several years and we had finally managed to get her treated under the mental health act. I made a little zine about what it was like to wait with her for the ambulance and sold 100 of them. Now that she is well, it seems only fair that she should tell her side of the story, so the new book we have developed with her words and my pictures is a story of two halves, taking in her perspective and my perspective of the same day – the day she was taken to hospital.
As part of the project I devised some workshops in collaboration with other artists that would help other people with experience of mental ill-health to tell their stories too. We've already been working with participants on the wards at the Becklin Centre in Leeds 9, some of whom are being treated under a section, and the results have been great - heartwarming conversations over tea and cake in the Becklin Centre café and some really special artwork made by people who rarely get to communicate with an audience.