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Interview with Erica Crompton

As a spokesperson on mental health issues and schizophrenia Erica Camus is able to entice audiences with her personal story. She has dealt with her own illness for over a decade, but still manages to maintain a job as a freelance journalist. Her story is unique and can inspire audiences at your next event.

What was your primary goal when setting up Medfed?

Medfed was conceived in 2009, after a spell hospitalised with paranoid schizophrenia. So much had gone wrong in my life and I felt things were only going to get worse post-hospital. So, I decided to do something positive and began painting with bright colours and glitter. I made tongue in cheek outfits and objects to turn insults and bad vibes to my advantage and into wearable art for myself and to decorate my home. From here, I decided to call this collection ‘Medfed’ and keep going with it. It’s inspired by a cool Japanese-based fashion label called Milkfed, the difference is I’m on medication…


Do you think there is a move in a positive direction in the perception of Mental Health in media?

Overall yes, but I think there is some way to go with psychosis and schizophrenia as these are labels that get bad press, still. It’d be nice to see more successful faces with the label and I’m sure they’re out there. We need more Elyn Saks and perhaps also more people with schizophrenia who do more than just mental health campaigning.


How do you prepare for speaking engagements?

I usually start with online research into the organisation or company I am speaking too. It’s also nice to have a talk with the booker about my audience. My story is a colourful one and I also studied at Chelsea College of Art so more often than not, I use fine and contemporary art to illustrate key feelings, emotions and situations.


Who or what inspires you most?

As a journalist, I think other people’s stories inspire me a lot. Also, I’m eternally inspired by the arts and how they can represent our beautiful struggle. I find some of my most inspiring moments while reading a book or in a gallery, when the artist conveys in one line, or a brushstroke, a feeling that’s lay dormant in me for some time.


What three tips would you give someone working on a freelance basis?

Freelancing (or freestyling as I call it) is a little like applying for several jobs a day and sometimes getting nothing back. I often feel like I couldn’t solicit a moth to a flame, let alone a commissioning email from an editor. Keep going! Journal your successes and refer to them in moments of self-doubt. It can be a slog but the work-life balance it can afford you more than makes up for the inevitable daily rejection.

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