OUR COLLABORATIVE PROCESS
People living with mental and emotional issues are still a marginalised group, often lacking opportunity to be listened to and understood. We believe that healing can’t happen in isolation, but has to be situated within a collaborative social context in which stories can be heard. The Noisy Brain provides such a context, hosting and positively framing mental illness stories that otherwise would remain invisible, and charged with shame and guilt. By focusing on artistic writing expression and successful music production, we aim to encourage confidence and hope to help remove the stigmas around mental & emotional health issues (MEHI).
13% of the world lives with a mental disorder. That’s 1 in 10 people globally,
and 1 in 4 within the UK.
Chances are, someone you know is struggling.
The need to tell one’s story is primal. Even more, it seems that telling our story helps greatly in defining ourselves to ourselves. In being a teller, we become clearer about who we are; it is a vital act of affirmation. Expressing troubling thoughts is known to ease trauma, anxiety, depression and stigma-related stress. It helps articulating and breaking down problems, fears and concerns, and provides an opportunity for positive self-talk. By writing, we put structure and organisation to those anxious feelings, supporting recovery.
Showing contributors respect and acceptance removes a significant barrier to successfully coping with their burden. Talking about mental illness can help individuals realise they are not alone with their struggles and on their way to recovery. Hearing about or connecting to others who are going through similar experiences can be a source of support, empathy, and motivation.
Combining mental health issues with music is a helpful part of the process of managing mental health and wellness. The notion that music can influence thoughts, feelings, and behaviours probably does not come as much of a surprise. Coupling negatively loaded topics with art or music is known to help individuals create new more positive associations, so they can view those topics in a different, often more light and forgiving way.
Re-playing of personal stories by others or using different mediums, is thought by experts to help with recovery. The idea is based on the mechanism of Cognitive Diffusion, which involves creating space between ourselves and our thoughts and feelings, so that they have less of a hold over us. They then become less overwhelming and as such, manageable.
For the affected, the stigma towards mental illness often causes people to feel isolated, stereotyped, shameful, or discriminated against, all of which can hinder recovery. The discourse about mental and emotional issues can help inform about risk factors, symptoms, treatment, and prevention methods, which will improve understanding and ability to help. This nurtures a society more informed, accepting and forgiving when it comes to mental health and wellness.
Like a favourite cup or plate, people sometimes crack. We may even break. Japanese potters that say that repair requires transformation.
They also say, that the pristine is less beautiful than the broken and the shape of us is impossible to see until it is fractured.
'Kintsugi' is the Japanese art form of repairing broken pottery by mending the pieces back into position using gold. The sentiment treats the breakage and repair as part of the history and identity of an object, rather than something to disguise or throw away. The repair process celebrates the beauty in its flaws, making the object stronger and more meaningful than it was before.
The Japanese use this same analogy when appreciating the ability of an individual that has overcome traumatic events during their lives.
Stu recognises that the meaning behind 'Kintsugi' is a great philosophy to reflect on when dealing with and living through life's harder times.
A marketing and advertising veteran with nearly 30 years of industry experience, Stu was born in a seaside town of Folkestone in Kent, England. He is a creative by trade, originally art based but now mainly ideas and writing focussed. He worked for some of the world’s most famous ad agencies like Saatchi & Saatchi in London and Ogilvy & Mather in Singapore. His work took him around the world — from England to; Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea and currently he is back and settled in Singapore.
It was in Singapore that he re-encountered his mental health demons. During the year of 2019 saw a lengthy period of depression, suicidal thoughts and 'self medicating' with prolonged bouts of alcohol abuse. He was then caught on video in an altercation with a local after a night out. Widespread outrage and a social media storm forced him into a self inflicted lockdown. The 6 months that followed were some of the darkest, but this was also when his transformation started to take place, Stu was diagnosed with major depressive disorder, underwent therapy, counselling and also served a short time in Singapore’s notorious Changi prison.
“Bearing the thinking behind ‘kintsugi’ in mind, my continued recovery gives me the strength to acknowledge the harm that I had done to others and towards myself. Being able to recognise that in the long run, it is those flaws that make me who I am. Ultimately it gives me the strength, energy and positivity to pick up the pieces, rejoin them and make myself stronger than ever — and while things may never be how they were, I've finally found a purpose in creating The Noisy Brain.
Through my contributions in creating the project, I hope to be able to help others embrace their imperfections as something to be worked with, not shamed and hidden. I want to encourage people to embrace their problems and turn them into a plus’s. Maybe we can help encourage others to discover their own journey of ‘kintsugi’ steps and unexpected strengths.”
Noun: the vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity.
Verb: to turn on power.
Frances has always believed in energy in all forms - the scientific, spiritual, physical and especially the emotional. It is this life force that threads through humanity, through stories, through music, movies and culture that has fuelled her personal pursuits and her career.
A survivor of a series of life's "minor" mental and emotional struggles with the sudden passing of her mother in 2012, battling with imposter syndrome in a male-driven corporate environment and the anxiety of unemployment - co-founding the Noisy Brain was the much-needed spark that kept her energy flowing through to hopefully, many others.
With almost 20 years of experience that spans multiple industries including alcoholic beverages, consumer packaged goods, fashion, luxury and technology, Frances straddled roles in marketing, design and advertising. In 2017, Frances was appointed the first female Global Marketing Director at Stoli Group. Holding her own in a predominantly male industry, she spearheaded two global marketing campaigns and launched three new brands geared towards growing brand recognition, loyalty and equity around the world. Her most memorable experience at Stoli was making its 2018 global brand campaign, described by Fast Company as a “pop culture booster shot”.
Before Stoli, Frances rose through the ranks in design and advertising agencies in London, Shanghai and Singapore. Most notably, in 2016, she nailed Fred & Farid Shanghai's position as the top creative agency outside of the US by securing AdAge International Agency of the Year.
Of all her successes, she most looks forward to the likes, LOLs, tears and joy from The Noisy Brain community.