DELICIOUS cake wasn't the only treat on offer at The Serenity Cafe following Saturday's Dignity Walk.

Besides the post-walk refreshments, Eric Walker and Graham Morgan MBE delivered two captivating, and at times quite emotional, speeches. Eric, a user of Edinburgh's Stafford Centre since 1987, took us through his history of varying mental illness which began at the age of 16 with a diagnosis of Schizophrenia. He detailed the amount of time that recovery took, which in some cases was a period of several years, and the impact of medication. The second half of Eric's speech focused more on his turnaround and continued recovery, including how The Stafford Centre allowed him to lead a more social and active life (which drew several knowing nods of approval from the audience), and how organisations such as SAMH and Sprout helped also. He closed by mentioning the importantance of voluntary work to him, including working at Support in Mind Scotland National Office and now being on our Board of Management.

Graham then took the stage and gave an absorbing account of his history with Schizophrenia, Depression, Anxiety and Alcohol Abuse, as well as harrowing description of the primitive psychiatric hospital he was admitted to.
“one of the nurses I later found out was operating a drug ring in the hospital, the walls had holes in the plaster board, the beds were less than a foot apart...there were fights and screaming when people were held down and jagged
Graham Morgan on the horrible conditions he experienced at an old psychiatric hospital 

He went on to say how upon being discharged from hospital there was very little in the way of support or help offered, which inspired him to take matters into his own hands and try to change the world himself. Graham spoke of being the first worker with CAPS in Edinburgh 25 years ago, and the journey he took the present day, where he is just leaving his post as manager at HUG but will retain a role with them as special advisor. He ended with an enthusiastic description of his ambitions and hopes for the future, which was met with applause and a sense of optimism throughout the room.

You can read a PDF of Graham's full speech here