On Thursday, we went to the Richmond depression group for the first time. Although it was meant to be the first part of a dual-visit, the other to the Fanon group in Merton, in the end, it turned out that the Fanon centre had been closed for quite some time. That said, the depression group was still useful. We learned of a report written in November 2011 entitled “The Abandoned Illness” which was published by Rethink. It examined schizophrenia as an illness/construct, suggesting it was a fictitious label. There was much discussion around this, and also, some exploration of mental hospitals which, we felt, functioned to subjugate and dominate those hospitalised. Sadly, there was not much more to this group which ended up being a quite casual talk with two facilitators. Whilst one attendant was demonstrably distressed by voices, and even reported on the impact they were having on him, the other members were seemingly stable.
After the group, we went around the corner to the freebooks shop. It seems that this was a place for people to give in their books rather than throwing them away. Afterwards, “customers”, or better yet, visitors, could donate money to take the books they favoured.