Poetry is a passion. So is mental health. For over fifteen years, I’ve developed and delivered training courses on mental health awareness, self-injury and suicide. I’ve written and edited a wide variety of mental health resources, including "Otis Doesn't Scratch" (PCCS, 2015) – a ground breaking storybook resource for children struggling with self-injury, and "Our Encounters with Self-Harm" (PCCS, 2012), a collection of first person narratives from those who live and work with self-harm. I’ve also worked as a researcher, project managing the first national research project into peer support in secure psychiatric settings.
I’ve worked with staff and service users in a wide variety of settings: community settings, education, primary health care, prisons and probation, acute and secure psychiatric care, domestic violence services and housing. My training courses draw on a far-reaching knowledge base which includes my own experiences of living with mental health issues: courses are interactive, experiential and inclusive. My work in mental health has gained national prominence, and I’ve spoken at many events including several international congresses.
Recent feedback from training participants at St Mungos:
“this is the best training course I have ever attended. I felt connected because it was very practical and Clare had knowledge of what she taught”.
“excellent training with a fantastic facilitator. I’d definitely recommend”.
Whether in poetry or mental health, I’m motivated by the belief that language – how we make sense of and express ourselves – is a core feature in mental wellbeing. I’m excited by opportunities to work at the meeting place of poetry and mental health: for example, I was the resident poet at the BASCPAN International Child Protection Congress 2018; I facilitate the Poetry School’s “Poetry as Survival” International Course.; and I'm currently employed by the Royal Literary Fund to deliver a reading group in a Child and Adolescent Secure Mental Health Unit.
As well as working as a sole trainer, I also work and write in collaboration with consultant psychologist Dr. Sam Warner. Sam and I specialise in “Self-Harm and Suicide” and “Mental Health in the Workplace”. Our recent work together includes the development and delivery of a “Working with People who Self-Harm” training course to all front-line staff in the Lancashire Care Foundation NHS Trust; and a “Mental Health in the Workplace” course for teaching staff in the University of Leeds.
Contact me to discuss how I might support your organisation with mental health training courses, conference presentations and “Poetry and Wellbeing” events.