May 6, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Johnny and Freda Matteson share their unique insight on mental illness across generations and the healing power of music

2 min read

Mental health worker and musician Johnny Matteson uses his love of music to help others. First diagnosed with bipolar at the age of 19, he was sectioned to Kingseat where he was grabbed, jabbed and put into lockup.

His mother Freda, however, had travelled this road before with her husband so is a calm and stable presence in her sons life.

I realised that when people are in that state, they are terrified, and the best thing to do is not to get sucked into their fear and try to be as grounded as possible.

The pair share their unique insights on The Nutters Club with Mike King and Dr David Codyre about the huge impact that mental illness hashad on their small family, the historical treatment of mental health patients and how music helped Johnny find purpose and joy in his life.

It was the first time the show has featured a mother and son, says series director Marcus Clayton. Johnny the musician and his 70 year old mum seemed an unlikely pairing but the filmed recording turned out to be one of the most compelling sessions this season. I think the insights that both offered, and their honest way in sharing some harrowing experiences with mental health challenges in the family are what this show is about: honesty, hope and a belief that somehow, there can be a way through.

The Nutters Club with Mike King is a weekly radio show on RadioLIVE, Sundays at 8pm filmed and produced by Top Shelf Productions for Maori Television where it screens Fridays at 10.30pm. The Nutters Club Facebook page provides a forum for those with mental health issues and the book, The Nutters Club with Mike King is in all good bookstores now.

Johnny and Freda Matteson feature on The Nutters Club on Friday August 19, 10.30pm on Maori Television

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Twitter: @thenuttersclub

For more information contact:
Publicist: Adrienne Kohler mob: 021 669 424, email: [email protected]


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