In just three years, John’s Campaign has turned from an idea into a nationwide movement

There’s a happy-making little film on YouTube of a man dancing by himself at a music festival. Some people sitting on the grass nearby look on, curious and amused. Most ignore him or don’t notice him; their backs are turned and their attention elsewhere. Then after a minute or so, another person gets up and joins in, grinning and a bit self-conscious, but with him nevertheless. Now there are two people dancing. Another stands up, hesitates and then starts to dance. Now there are three: three makes it a group. There are four, five, 10, more and more. Too many to count.And soon a whole field of people is dancing. It’s become a movement. The people who started it don’t matter any more.

John’s Campaign turned three last Thursday. It was launched in this paper on 30 November, 2014, with an article I wrote about the catastrophic effect of hospital upon the health and selfhood of my father, after whom the campaign is named. When he went into hospital, he was living with dementia, happy and beloved and linked to his world by a thousand invisible threads. Restricted visiting and a lockdown of his ward...


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Mental health is a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder; it is the "psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment".