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Reading for wellbeing partnership expands across North West

Written by Emma Walsh, 15th October 2012

The Reader is proud to announce that it has been commissioned to deliver its unique 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-Residence are already established in Mersey Care NHS Trust, Greater Manchester West NHS Trust, and 5 Boroughs Partnership Trust.

24 sustainable new Get Into Reading groups will be 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 community, in-patient and secure settings.

Poor mental health is especially prevalent in deprived areas, an estimated 40% of which are situated in North West England. 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 an non-medical intervention accessible to all.

The impacts of Get Into Reading groups include increased personal confidence and reduced social isolation, as well as a sense of stability and support, key factors in preventing mental health problems. Participants also record improved mental, emotional and psychological wellbeing.

Dr David Fearnley, Medical Director, Mersey Care NHS Trust (RCPsych ‘Psychiatrist of the Year 2009’), says:

“Get Into Reading is one of the most significant developments to have taken place in mental health practice in the last ten years.”

Mary Weston, The Reader'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.”

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