QMU academic’s award-winning book to be distributed across Scotland in mental health kits

By Press Office

The Recovery Letters, a collection of writings from people who have recovered from, or are in the process of recovering from depression, has been selected for inclusion as part of a mental health kit being issued across Scotland by Time to Tackle, a football-based support initiative that was set up by the Irish professional footballer Aaron Connolly and his wife, Siobhan.

Edited by James Withey and Dr Olivia Sagan, Head of Psychology, Sociology and Education at Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh, the book is an anthology of letters from people of all ages and from all walks of life who have struggled with depression and have set out on the road to recovery through the cathartic power of writing. The Recovery Letters was chosen as a World Book Night title in 2018, is on the Reading Agency’s list for mental health reading and has been published in Welsh and recently in German. Cosmopolitan magazine also named it one of ‘ 12 Mental Health Books Everyone Should Read ’.

The idea for the project resulted from Withey’s own battle with depression after he was unable to find any personal accounts or stories of the recovery and management of the condition while in residence in a psychiatric hospital, as well as Dr Sagan’s longitudinal research with mentally ill adults learning how to write.

The decision to include the book in Time to Tackle’s mental health kits is also timely, with a follow-up book to the original collection, entitled What I Do to Get Through: how getting out and about, doing things and making stuff can help with depression set for publication in February 2021.

Dr Olivia Sagan said: “I am delighted that The Recovery Letters has been chosen for inclusion in Time to Tackle’s mental health kits. We hope that the personal accounts included within the collection will provide a sense of comfort and support for those who are living with mental ill-health during the particularly challenging time of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Notes to Editor

For further media enquiries, please contact Gavin McNee (Media Relations and Content Officer) at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, E: gmcnee@qmu.ac.uk, T: 0131 474 0000.

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