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Abolition and Mental Health with Synergi: Reimagining and Building Alternatives

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29 November, 2023 , 3:30 pm 5:00 pm

The National Survivor User Network (NSUN) are holding their annual Members’ Event online on Wednesday the 29th of November 2023. Synergi’s panel slot is is 3.30-5.00pm and features a dialogue between Tippa Napthali, Jerome Sewell and Micha Frazer-Carroll, chaired by Project Manager Jessica Pons (she/they) and with an introduction to Synergi from Debbie Solomon (she/her).

The Synergi community are welcome to attend our panel without being a member of NSUN. However, if there are other sessions on the day that you’d like to attend, you will need to join as an NSUN member. Membership is free and open to user-led mental health groups and individuals with lived experience of mental ill-health, trauma and distress. For more information on joining NSUN please go here


In recent years the term abolition has gained traction in the mainstream as a critique of prisons and policing, but what is it and how does it relate to those in user-led mental health spaces?

User-led groups are often challenging the way those experiencing mental ill health, distress and trauma are denied access to fulfilling and affirming mental health care. They also expose how people can experience harm when they do seek mental health support and can be subjected to violent encounters with the police and prison system in the process, all in the name of ‘care’.

We’ll unpack how mental health care can replicate carceral systems, the historical connections between mental health institutions and prisons, and why abolition has and can provide some of the solutions to these harms. Synergi, which is hosted by NSUN, is a project that will look at mental health and racial justice through an abolitionist lens. Join us for our first public event as we explore some of the core concerns of our work.

In this discussion, we will hear about how people are bringing abolitionist principles to providing care and practical support to those experiencing mental ill-health, distress and trauma. There will be space to discuss and ask questions to our guests.

Chair: Jessica Pons
Guests: Jerome Sewell, Tippa Naphtali and Micha Frazer-Carroll (for more information, please scroll to the bottom of the page)

  • This session will have British Sign Language interpretation and Zoom closed captions enabled. Please let us know of any other accessibility requirements in the sign up form. If you need help with costs to be able to access this event, we may be able to make a contribution – please email at info@nsun.org.uk.
  • This session will be recorded and shared later for people who cannot attend. For more information, please visit the Conduct Agreement & Data Page
  • Please note that to avoid disruption or distraction, we will be unable to admit people who arrive ten minutes after the start time.
  • You will need to agree to NSUN’s conduct agreement in order to register:

NSUN wants virtual spaces to be safe, welcoming, and inclusive. Harassment, hate speech, and inappropriate behaviour of any kind, verbal or in the chat/Q&A, will not be tolerated. We reserve the right to immediately remove any attendee we consider to be in breach of this conduct agreement. This includes anyone making racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, or otherwise discriminatory, offensive, or hateful remarks.

Removed participants will not be able to re-join the session, or, if applicable, join any of the rest of the sessions in a day or series of events. In order to avoid the derailing of sessions we will not enter into conversations around why conduct was deemed inappropriate in the sessions themselves.


Speakers and Chair

Jerome Sewell (he/him)

Jerome Sewell is a founder and managing director of an organization that works with hospitalised ex-offenders and disadvantaged communities in London. As well as being a social entrepreneur, he is a film producer and screenwriter and has worked for the Royal college of psychiatrists as a service user representative, Recovery college (Forensic campus) as a peer trainer and as an expert by experience with the Royal Bethlem hospital. Jerome is also an article writer and has written mental health articles for Asylum magazine, Creeks occupational therapy journal and OTNews. Jerome’s work is driven by his shared lived experience with the service users he works with. 

Tippa Naphtali (he/him)

Tippa has been active in the community since 1978 after leaving school. Along with a group of his peers, at just 18 years old he helped to develop and co-lead the Negus Youth Collective, a pioneering youth-led arts and culture project in Handsworth, Birmingham. He went on to be involved in London-based projects and organisations over 28 years spanning performing arts, youth projects, homelessness, HIV, food projects, mental health & counselling services. Tippa has chaired several local and national organisations, starting his own community groups and social enterprises; and providing support to other similar organisations and businesses. Tippa is founder of Catalyst 4 Change, campaigning group 4WardEverUK and The National Mikey Powell Memorial Family Fund amongst others. Tippa remains active in using his skills and experience to support and develop a number of charities, justice campaigns and other enterprises nationally.

Social media: @CatalystHubWM @fund_memorial @TippaNewsSpotta

Micha Frazer-Carroll (she/her)

Micha Frazer-Carroll is the author of Mad World: The Politics of Mental Health, and is a trustee at NSUN. 

Twitter: @micha_frazer

Jessica Pons (she/they)

Jessica Pons (she/they) joined as Synergi’s Project Manager at the end of 2022. They have worked in mental health settings for over a decade, both within mainstream and alternative spaces, developing Hearing Voices peer support groups, leading to the role as Hearing Voices Project Manager at Mind in Camden. She is also an integrative psychotherapist practicing within a socio-political framework, enjoying working with groups and writing training workshops all with the underlying values of community development, anti-oppressive intersectional practice, and a pluralistic framing of distress. They are a trustee at ISPS UK, producing their film on institutional racism ‘Dismantling the Master’s House’.

Twitter: @Jessica_Pons_