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A new book published on Merseyside challenges stereotypes about older people and shows the therapeutic benefits of creative writing and impact of sharing of stories for wellbeing.
Mersey Care NHS Trust in partnership with local charity North End Writers has
enabled the Mossley Hill Writing Group to produce its book called Snow-capped
Mountains and Black Bears, edited by Pauline Rowe, former service user and
Mersey Care’s Poet-in-Residence.
The group is made up of service users from Mersey Care’s Community Mental
Health Team based at Mossley Hill Hospital, providing support for older people
Pauline Rowe explained: “Writing can be one way of discovering a sense of
wellbeing, friendship and confidence if you’re working with the right people, as the
Mossley Hill Writing Group discovered in their work together.
“Prior to joining the group only two of its 14 members had written before, one of
whom was a professional journalist. In autumn 2014 we started our second writing
project called ‘The Gifts of Age’ which continued until the summer 2015; one of our
inspirations was the poem ‘Beautiful Old Age’ by DH Lawrence.
“Determined to challenge the stereotypical attitudes directed at older people in
society, the group decided to consider and write about the gifts of age for the project
that led to producing this eclectic new book of collective works and poems.”
Patients say they have grown in confidence since taking part in the group over the
past two years. They have also done public readings of their creative writing at a
national conference for psychotherapists at Liverpool Hope University and Liverpool’s
Central Library for World Mental Health Day.
Group member Thelma Thomas, who also did the cover illustrations for the new
book, said: said: “I’m used to art rather than writing but I love it now and find it
challenging for me. It’s different because it takes me out of my comfort zone. I write
as I talk; it’s been a new way to be creative. If what we’re looking at is difficult, I
always try to write something. I see it as a challenge for my brain. I’d hate it if our
writing came to an end.”
With support from Mersey Care and North End Writers, they launched the book
‘Snow-capped Mountains and Black Bears’ at National Museum Liverpool’s Sudley
House in Mossley Hill, where the group meet regularly. Published by North End
Press, its title is taken from a line in the first poem in the 86-page paperback. Copies
are available to other patients and staff across local mental health services.
Pauline Rowe and/or our Creativity and Wellbeing Manager are available for media
interviews by request; photo of group also available.
For further information contact: Graham Hignett, Communications Manager (Cultural
Partnerships) on 0151 527 3467 email firstname.lastname@example.org or Myles
Hodgson, Media Manager, on 0151 473 2797 or email email@example.com
or Communications on 0151 471 2336.