Vince Laws – Mental Helmet

My Mental Helmet

Vince Laws

Vince Laws made My Mental Helmet as a response to a call-out for visual representations of mental health experience. Imagine wearing a crash helmet 24/7. The poem was longer but had to be cut, brutally, as it was being painted, so it would all fit on the helmet.

Vince is HIV+ and deals with fluctuating fatigue, depression, stress and anxiety. He has been protesting the Work Capability Assessment since 2010.

“I want these Work Capability Assessment’s to stop. They are very stressful. It’s like I can’t do anything while in this process, the uncertainty is so great. Will they stop my benefits without warning as they did before? Make me appeal, fill out forms, and jump through hoops that the government itself has accepted are not fit for purpose, especially for those with mental health issues and fluctuating symptoms. It’s very cruel. The process itself traumatises me year on year, again and again. It’s like breaking someone’s leg every year to check they can’t walk. It’s madness. That can’t be right or helpful.”

My Mental Helmet

is safer darker heavier

harder to communicate

here I am alone


insulated from the throng

crying in car parks

round and round 

ripples in a goldfish bowl

but you can’t sleep

when you think about it…


See more of Vince’s work at and Disability Arts Online