Poetry Not Prozac: Depression and the Reading Revolution
1pm, 10th October, Hearnshaw Lecture Theatre, Eleanor Rathbone Building
University of Liverpool
“Who would have thought my shrivell’d heart
Could have recovered greenness? It was gone
Quite under ground . . .’
So wrote the seventeenth-century religious poet George Herbert of his own dark night of the soul – something which today we might call ‘depression’ and treat as a medical problem.
It is now estimated that 350 million people globally suffer from depression. By 2030 more people will be affected by depression than by any other major health problem. What is to be done: pop a pill?
Poetry Not Prozac: Depression and the Reading Revolution is a free public lecture which will argue that reading serious literature, often in those very areas that may cause depression, can offer something that drugs or therapeutic self-help manuals cannot.
Professor Philip Davis and Dr Josie Billington will present the lecture will take place on 10th October, to mark World Mental Health Day, and it will be based on their work of the Centre of Research into Reading, Information and Linguistic Systems (CRILS) at the University of Liverpool. The Centre brings together researchers in literature,health, linguistics, psychology, social anthropology and digital technologies, to collaborate on projects aimed at taking reading practices out of universities and into communities and healthcare professions.
CRILS is one of The Reader Organisation’s research partners and our Get Into Reading groups work to improve the health and wellbeing of people in community settings, inpatient services, and secure hospitals. Dr Billington is the co-author of ‘An investigation into the therapeutic benefits of reading in relation to depression and wellbeing‘, a research study investigating the impact of the Get Into Reading model on those with depression. It found that Get Into Reading helped improve patients’ social, mental, emotional, and psychological wellbeing. The full report is available to read on the Research page of our website.
The lecture is hosted by the University of Liverpool’s Disabled Staff Network and is open to anyone who may be interested. To book your free seat, please contact Sally.Middleton@liv.ac.uk.