Maytree is a charity providing befriending support for people experiencing suicidal thoughts and feelings in a non-clinical and unique space. Based in north London within a home setting and supported by over a hundred volunteers, Maytree supports thousands of people each year by providing in-person, telephone and e-mail support. Maytree provides the opportunity for a one off stay of four nights and five days for guests experiencing suicidal feelings. During this time guests are encouraged to explore their suicidal feelings in a non-judgemental safe space with staff and volunteers.
I have benefited from Maytree both as someone in need of support and also someone who has provided support as a volunteer. The conversations I have had with both guests and volunteers alike have touched me as the space enables us to connect deeply, without judgement, ridicule or shame. This project is comprised of portraits with volunteers exploring their own experiences with mental health and how they came to be at Maytree, some of whom have previously been guests at the house. As a site the Maytree house provides comfort, security, warmth and support for those that are experiencing one of humanity’s most troubling taboos.
This project is still in progress and is currently supported by the Big Lottery Fund. This project will go on show at the Free Space Project in 2018, during which period I’ll be running a series of arts workshops focusing on suicide, bereavement and mental health.