Literature as a coping strategy
REWRITALIZE is a study of the impact of a new type of intervention in psychiatry based on literary fiction facilitated by fiction writers. The intervention aims to bring about positive psychological change and self-perceived recovery in people suffering from mental health issues. The intervention is based on a pilot project with writing groups that has been running for two years in Region H (Capital Region of Denmark), where a manual has been developed in a multidisciplinary collaboration between six Danish fiction writers and two psychiatric supervisors, with the aim of reproducing the very positive effects shown in pilot sessions.
The manual will now be tested on a larger scale, with each of the six authors running a 15-week programme at Amager Psychiatric Centre/Copenhagen Psychiatric Centre with psychiatric users undergoing treatment. Measures of impact will be collected using validated psychometric scales before and after the courses, as well as detailed semi-structured retrospective interviews.
Patients have the opportunity to participate in different workshops in the Nationalt Center for Kunst og Mental Sundhed/National Center for Art and Mental Health where artistic mentors teach them how to tell their personal stories through different media; writing, painting, theatre, video, and sewing.
In addition to the individual productions and ongoing exhibitions in the National Center for Art and Mental Health’s premises, the outside world will also have the opportunity to learn more about the project. A book publication is planned with guidelines for the art groups in the project with psychiatric chief physician and adjunct professor at the Department of Psychology, Bent Rosenbaum as co-editor. In addition, productions from the various processes will be exhibited at SMK Friday event with the theme ‘Art and Mental Health’. SMK Fridays is the The National Gallery of Denmark’s Friday bar, where guests have the opportunity to experience art in an untraditional and informal setting.
People suffering from mental health problems, authors of fiction books, and other professional artists.
There is a lack of offers with a focus on social inclusion, which can function as a step away from treatment psychiatry. In the center, we establish an art-based platform where people with mental illness can get help to find a foothold in life, based on the individual’s hopes and dreams in the vulnerable phase after discharge. The new offer must be a free space where patients have the opportunity to focus on taking co-responsibility and meet to create art and stories instead of focusing on their mental state.
-Birgit Bundesen, Chairman of the Association for Art and Mental Health and chief physician at PC Amager.