Malaika was diagnosed with psychosis in 2015, whilst studying for her AS levels at sixth form. Being diagnosed with a mental health condition was something she never expected would happen.
“My illness was so unexpected – I didn’t see it coming. It’s hard now to look back and see what it was that caused it. I was dealing with stress at home and at school… it built up until it exploded. The psychosis affected everything – the way I thought, the way I saw things and how I acted.”
She describes the experience as “very scary”. As she’s worked towards moving on from what happened, she’s had support from the Raw Sounds project at Raw Material Music and Media Education, in London.
“It was really scary. What I thought was real, wasn’t. I started coming to Raw Sounds in June 2016.”
Raw Sounds uses Comic Relief money to help people who are dealing with mental health issues to feel less isolated and to gain skills and confidence by writing, singing, performing and producing music. Now Malaika says she’s got hope for the future and that coming to the project continues to bring her happiness.
“Raw Sounds gives hope for people and makes you feel you matter. We each have our individuality and they let us express it. Before, I was letting things build up… Raw Sounds lets me express myself more. It brings me so much happiness and it feels so good. I feel in a good place and can’t wait for Thursdays.”
Around 4,000 people registered with a GP in Lambeth have a severe mental illness; three times higher than the national average. After being discharged from hospital, there are limited opportunities for 'care in the community' to aid recovery.
The Raw Sounds initiative, by Raw Material Music and Media Education, in Brixton, tackles this by involving young mental health patients in music-making, initially on the hospital ward, and then after they’re discharged.
By providing this outreach work in hospital wards, weekly community sessions and one-to-one support for young people to move into volunteering and training opportunities, the project helps participants feel less isolated and gain in skills and confidence; all contributing to their longer-term recovery.