A Sheffield-based publisher has announced the start of its new men’s writing group on Wednesday to support those struggling with their mental health. The Divine Collective, a non-for-profit organisation, is offering the group for men to be creative and share their experiences in a safe and supportive space.
The organisation also wanted to open up their services to men due to the alarming statistics concerning men’s mental health. Men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women according to the Mental Health Foundation with the Priory Group which found 40% of men don’t talk about their mental well-being.
Founder and creative wellbeing coach Siobhan Louise, from Hillsborough, said:
“The organisation was started as a platform to give people a voice and offer a message of hope and empowerment to others. I want this new group to give men an opportunity to express themselves and heal through writing as a creative outlet.”
Questioning the culture of ‘bottling things up’
The organisation believes writing is a powerful tool to connect with yourself and overcome trauma as well as benefiting the immune system by reducing stress.
Having worked specifically with women, including when publishing the Amazon bestselling book Words of the Wise, Louise wanted to extend the opportunity of writing to men due to the lack of gender-specific spaces available to them to discuss their mental wellbeing.
Louise said: “There’s still a culture for men of bottling things up and I want to help overcome that stigma. This group isn’t just about sharing experiences. It’s also about learning from others and realising you’re not alone as that can be a great weight off your shoulders.”
No need to worry about writing ability
The workshops will be fluid in structure and plan to offer a range of written activities to tailor to individual needs.
Louise has stressed that people shouldn’t worry about their writing ability as the exercises aren’t designed to be challenging, they’re just a tool for sharing thoughts. She said: “A lot of people haven’t written since they were at school, so there’s absolutely no pressure to have existing writing experience. We want the group to be accessible for everyone and we will also cater for any additional needs anyone might have included spelling.”
How to get involved
In the future, the organisation hopes to offer men in the group the opportunity to write a book like Words of the Wise, which was an anthology written by women who have faced trauma and other struggles.
The first men’s writing session will start on Wednesday evening at The Rutland Arms and will hopefully become a monthly event, but people are urged to check the Facebook page for when and where the next event might happen.
The workshop will be co-hosted by David Heimerdinger, who has a background in somatic therapies like breathwork and supporting men through trauma healing.
There’s a suggested donation of £8 but the organisation runs a ‘pay what you feel’ system.