Dirty: Abuse, trauma, failure and hope

Dirty, by Holly Bars

In Dirty, Holly Bars has created an extraordinary, mighty, courageous, poetic record of child sexual abuse and of the ways in which survivors are traumatised and failed.

Soteria in the Pub, London

Soteria in the Pub

Join us another Soteria in the Pub open mic event to raise awareness for compassionate alternatives for people in distress on Sunday 3rd March 2-6pm at The Betsey Trotwood (EC1R 3BL). This a ticket only event please book online free/donations welcome.

BPD: Bullshit Psychiatric Diagnosis

BPD word cloud // Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Basic problem: dysfunctional brain. Poisonous dynamic. Bad person. Difficult. Branded, pigeonholed, dubbed bonkers, psycho, disturbed. Best put down ‘borderline’. Please don’t bother protesting, dear. Boffin professionals drafted brilliant Ph Ds berating personal downfall Browbeaten patients drop by pharmacy, drugs bring … Read more

Who’s the Refuser?

School refuser

Rebecca is a school refuser The lessons confuse her Miss knows her sister is a substance misuser It doesn’t excuse her She’s labelled a shirker, assigned to an overworked social worker, a conflict defuser But Becky’s still a school refuser Mason … Read more

Poetry in Asylum magazine

Asylum poetry callout

Janine has recently taken over as Poetry Editor of Asylum magazine. Asylum wants your poetry for our radical mental health magazine. Asylum has been running for nearly forty years, providing a platform for all perspectives on mental health. Asylum is influenced and … Read more

Drop the Disorder!

Drop the Disorder

Janine’s contribution to A Disorder for Everyone’s online poetry gig challenging the mainstream narrative on mental health, held on 16 April 2021, featuring the poems Locked Up and Down and Not OK.

The Roadmap Ahead


What if I can’t stand the train without the carriage to myself? What if I can’t stretch and strain to reach up to the luggage shelf? What if all the outside seats are taken and the queue’s too long? And … Read more

Stop this deportation!

Osime Brown

Published in Solidarity 562:   Dozens of protesters gathered outside the Home Office on Friday 4 September to demand that Osime Brown not be deported to Jamaica. Led by Osime’s family, the protest was supported by Autistic Inclusive Meets (AIM), … Read more

Your Place


Last year, I wrote a poem (a pantoum) called ‘This Place’ about visiting my son in the adolescent psychiatric unit where he spent four months (read it here). He now has his own flat, living independently with support. So I … Read more

Mental health in call centres: Get unionised!

Call centre working is a danger to your mental health.  Depression, anxiety, panic attacks, high blood pressure, sleeping problems and even suicidal thoughts are common among call centre workers. More than 4 in 5 respondents to a Unison survey said … Read more

This Place

I come to see you in this place A train, a bus, a longish walk A mask of growth veneers your face We picnic, catch up, laugh and talk A train, a bus, a longish walk They brought you here … Read more

Speaking out about deaths in care


Janine proposing a motion condemning deaths of autistic and learning disabled people in care, at TUC Disabled Workers’ Conference in May 2019. *** On 21 March this year, an inquest ruled that the death of Colette McCulloch was avoidable. Colette … Read more

Not OK


I saw a poster the other day that said it’s OK to not be OK I was sitting in a waiting room while others sit or just exist on a waiting list for months or years Worsening trauma, growing fears Not … Read more

Mental Health: beyond awareness


Published on PCS blog, 17 May 2018: In Mental Health Awareness Week, Janine warns that we need to be more than just aware, but prepared to take action on mental health. Many organisations are now promoting ‘mental health awareness’. That is … Read more

Revise the System


Work hard, be conscientious, be afraid Your life won’t be worth living if you fail The only thing that matters is your grade Feel guilty for each error you have made Learn quotes by rote and don’t stop to exhale … Read more

RMT Disabled Members Plan Fightback


Published in Solidarity 468 Disabled transport workers discussed issues from workplace representation to the role of charities at their two-day RMT conference in Southend on 26-27 April. This was only the second annual RMT Disabled Members’ Conference, after the union’s … Read more