The Visual Scrapbook of Photographer

Maytree: Michael

This portrait is part of a project I’ve been working on with suicide respite house Maytree. Maytree provides befriending support for people experiencing suicidal thoughts and feelings in a non-clinical and unique space. The project is comprised of portraits and interviews 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. Click here to read all the posts from this project.


My background is in engineering and research. I quite enjoy, now, reflecting on how I became mad and that process of where the brain takes you. That I find fascinating. I think it’s quite difficult to become suicidal really. You need trigger points, some people just need one, I needed quite a few. But once you’re there…

The first time that I had heard the word Maytree I had been sectioned. I was in Chase Farm, Enfield, in the hospital unit. There were 4 people around the table chit chatting and 2 of those had both been guests at Maytree. It was 2005. It was coming up to the Christmas period and I didn’t think I’d get through it. One of the women said maybe you could go and stay at Maytree.

Maytree was a wonderful safe place. I remember I was in a bad place. It really was quite bad. I couldn’t cook or do anything for myself. I used to love porridge. On the first morning Michael made me porridge and I thought… that little thing, making the porridge, was good.

When I got better I thought maybe I should volunteer at Maytree. I think I have a sense of loyalty to Maytree. I find it therapeutic going there. It’s sometimes very challenging but I’ve never really thought it’s too overpowering, but when you walk through that door you never know…

— Michael

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