Recently, I decided to sign up for this free, online course titled Literature and Mental Health: Reading for Wellbeing, which begins on Monday, February 1, 2016. I thought my Just Jane 1813 readers may be interested in joining this course too. It’s six weeks long and students can look forward to discussing Austen, Shakespeare and other eminent writers whose works have brought solace to others and played a role in helping people through moments of crisis.
The course is being co-authored by a leading Jane Austen scholar named Dr. Paula Byren, who will help show us how enjoying literature can help us endure life. Dr. Byrnes conceived the idea for this course while she was researching how Austen’s novels were prescribed to victims of shell-shock in World War 1. The course will cover various pieces of literature that have enabled people to understand and cope with times of deep emotional strain.
I’m interested in learning about how people connect with the world through reading literature and I want to learn about the positive effects that reading can have on our lives.
This is part of the email that was sent to me earlier this week:
While you’re waiting for the course to begin, you can watch our Literature and Mental Health preview video, either on YouTube – or, if you’re unable to access YouTube, by using this link. This video will give you an idea of what to expect from the course, allowing you to listen in on some of the conversations our contributors have been having. If you haven’t already, you can also read our post on the FutureLearn blog‘Can you find solace in a sonnet?’, which invites you to take part in a reading for wellbeing activity exploring the calming effects of William Wordsworth’s sonnet ‘Nuns fret not’.
Literature and Mental Health: Reading for Wellbeing is linked to our new bibliotherapy charity ReLit – http://www.relit.org.uk/. ReLit aims to explore and promote the complementary treatment of mental health conditions through mindful reading. We’ve recently published a poetry anthology, Stressed Unstressed, which contains guidance about mindful reading techniques, and we’re also working with schools and rehabilitation centres to provide poetry workshops, offering concentrated poetry-reading as a method of stress-relief.
We invite you to find out more about the work of ReLit by exploring our website. You can also follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/relituk and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ReLit.org.uk/ to be kept up-to-date with the charity’s work, as well as other mental health news.
We continue to be very moved by the thoughtfulness and honesty of the comments that have been shared so far in the welcome discussion area:
We’re thrilled to see you engaging in such insightful and supportive conversations, so thank you all! We look forward to carrying on the conversation with you when the course starts next week.