Get Into Reading Wellbeing Partnerships expand across North West

Our new North West Mental Health team with Mary Weston – (l-r) Selina, Ali, Claire, Steffi and Michael

Today is World Mental Health Day and The Reader Organisation is proud to announce that it has been commissioned to deliver its unique and revolutionary shared reading model, Get Into Reading, in every Mental Health Trust in the North West of England.

A commission from the North West Strategic Health Authority will develop partnerships with Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Calderstones Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Cumbria Partnership Trust, Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust, Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, and Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust. The project will be led by The Reader Organisation, NHS Cheshire, and Warrington and Wigan PCT Cluster.

Readers-in-Residences are already established in Mersey Care NHS Trust – our first and significantly successful commission of Get Into Reading in healthcare, which was recently recommissioned for the fifth year running – Greater Manchester West NHS Trust, and 5 Boroughs Partnership Trust.

The appointment of the new North West Project will see 24 sustainable new Get Into Reading groups  established by 5 new Reader Organisation Project Workers, who will also provide in-house training to allow NHS staff, including psychologists and occupational therapists, to take over group facilitation. The groups take place in settings within the community, through to in-patient and secure units, spreading the positive effects of shared reading for individual and collective wellbeing far and wide.

Mary Weston, The Reader Organisation’s Mental Health Project Manager, says:

 “With three successful Reader-in-Residency projects running in the North West region, this is a wonderful chance for us to show what we can do. Reading groups are a space in which service users and staff come together as whole people to share the thoughts and feelings that great writing inspires: we believe Get Into Reading has a key place in wellbeing and recovery agendas across the country.”

According to the North West Equality and Diversity Strategy, 14 of the area’s PCTs are in the 50 worst nationally for health inequality. 1 in 4 people will experience mental health problems during their lifetime, and Get Into Reading provides increased personal confidence, reduced social isolation, and crucially, a sense of stability and support, which are key factors in preventing mental health problems. Get Into Reading is an non-medical intervention that is accessible to all, and has brought praise from healthcare professionals and group members alike.:

“Get Into Reading is one of the most significant developments to have taken place in mental health practice in the last ten years.” – Dr David Fearnley, Medical Director, Mersey Care NHS Trust (RCPsych ‘Psychiatrist of the Year 2009’)

“Being part of a group is special – it’s a bit more than just reading a book. I was never a great reader beforehand, but this group is something that I have become attached to; it means a lot to me to be part of it and it has helped me in my life outside the group as well.” – Get Into Reading group member, Mersey Care NHS Trust

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