Mental health retreat bid

SP92254 Bi-polar suffers Deb Rose and Ted Chapman.
SP92254 Bi-polar suffers Deb Rose and Ted Chapman.

A COUPLE who both have bipolar disorder hope to help other mental health patients by creating a unique rural retreat.

Ted Chapman and partner Deb Rose are behind the Root and Branch project to provide a woodland community where people can turn as an alternative to hospital treatment.

The retreat – thought to be the first in England – would be a therapeutic environment for patients to camp, be creative, garden, talk and go back to basic lifestyles.

“We want to go down to the roots of the problem and heal it through to the branch and fruits”, said former teacher and musician Ted, of Staveley.

“Instead of just spraying the fruit with chemicals we want to help heal and treat all of it.”

The retreat, backed by mental health charity Derbyshire Voice, would include one-to-one support with medical staff. Peer volunteers who have had similar conditions would also help patients learn to manage their problems.

Its inception came about as the couple feel hospital treatment, and medication, is not the right approach for everyone.

More than £4,000 has already been raised towards the retreat, which is similar to a US project, by saxophonist Ted’s gigs with his band Cactus Room and selling CDs.

Now the couple are hoping to find volunteers to help them make the long term scheme a reality, through planning permission, fundraising and grant bids, once a site is found.

Ted, 51, added: “David Cameron has said that as part of the Big Society things like this should be easier to set up.

“If you can have Center Parcs why not something like this?”

To get involved with Root and Branch email thecactusroom@hotmail.com.

A condition of extremes

BIPOLAR disorder affects people’s moods, which can swing from one extreme to the other.

Sufferers experience episodes of depression, crushing lows, and mania, soaring highs.

These phases are often so severe they interfere with everyday life.

It is estimated that one person in 100 is diagnosed with the condition and it can occur at any age.

Treatment can include mood stabilisers and other medicines, learning the triggers or signs of an approaching episode, pyschological therapy, exercise or activities.

Bipolar is linked to creativity.

Famous sufferers include Stephen Fry, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Spike Milligan and allegedly Winston Churchill.