All in the Mind by Adrian Ballard

All in the Mind

I attended the ‘All in the Mind’ festival in March 2018, all I knew about it, at the time, was that it is an annual event held in Basingstoke that explores mental health and the various challenges it presents to society. The festival showcases ways of dealing with these challenges and is organised by The Fluid Motion Theatre Company.

My sister suggested I volunteer to help with the information desk as being relatively new to the area and recovering from heart surgery I was trying to get back into a relatively normal routine, although I was unable to take up full time employment. I’m glad I did, because I was surprised to find such a variety of events, all aimed at helping to raise the awareness of Mental Health and to promote the idea that “it is OK, not to be OK!”​    ​.            

I arrived early in order to orientate myself and to watch some of the early performances. I was impressed with how professionally everything was organised and was amazed by the frankness of the people taking part, and at how willing they were to speak or perform openly about their problems.  

Having personally suffered with anxiety, depression and anger issues, following my stroke in 1992, it wasn’t until nearly twenty years later that I fully accepted I had a mental health issue. I was particularly impressed by the honesty of the people performing, I wasn’t used to hearing mental health being discussed so publicly.  I grew up in an era (1960s/1970s) when mental health wasn’t discussed within families, let alone with ‘outsiders’ or a doctor. Especially men, you were expected to ‘sort yourself out’ or ‘shape up’. You certainly didn’t discuss ‘feelings’. You would be whisked out of sight and dealt with quietly.

I am pleased to report that this attitude appears to be changing for the better. I believe that mental health is now being considered as something to be admitted and spoken about openly without any of the past prejudice and stigma. I believe this is largely due to the number of service personnel and others, who are being diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) following ‘tours of service’ in war torn areas such as the Sudan, Afghanistan or Iraq, and the increase in terrorism worldwide.

Thanks to the efforts of groups like ‘Fluid Motion’, Mental Health is no longer a ‘taboo’ subject and the knowledge that anyone can be affected; children taking exams, pre and post-natal parents, service personnel, nurses, doctors, film stars and everyday workers, means that it can now be discussed openly.

Going to “All in the Mind Festival” was one of the best things I could have done.

Chatting with like-minded people, with a variety of challenges, in glorious sunshine (weather NOT guaranteed), listening to poetry and music or watching dance routines and theatre gave me a completely different view of how society can help to extinguish the stigma attached to mental health. It also helps to show what we can ALL ​do to help ourselves and those in need. In addition to this it  gave me the nudge I needed to take up writing again, a medium I find helps me to sort through the plethora of thoughts crawling around inside my head on a daily basis that disturb my sleep and prevent me from putting things in perspective, causing stress, anxiety, depression and sometimes frustration and anger.

So, Thank you ‘All in the mind’ and ‘Fluid Motion’. I will definitely be attending again this year and would thoroughly recommend it to others. The next All in the Mind​ Festival​ will be at​ Eastrop Park Basingstoke, RG21 4QB on Saturday, September 14 ​ 2019​     

CONTACT: Fluid Motion Theatre Company – 07935 680209/ 07784 316731 E-mail:

Best regards

Adrian Ballard


  • Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. ​[source: 2019].
  • Mental Health affects 615 million people worldwide ​[Source: The World Health Organisation 2016]​.
  • 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience Mental Health problems ​[Source: The Mental Health Foundation 2018]​.
  • At any one time a sixth of the population of England aged 16 – 64 have a Mental Health problem ​[Source: NHS Digital Statistics body 2016]​.
  • There are an estimated 6000 suicides in the UK each year and the numbers are on the increase ​[Source: NHS Digital Statistics body 2016]​.
  • 75% of suicides in the UK each year are mal​es up to the age of 49 ​[Source: NHS Digital Statistics body 2016]​.




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