A NEW book discussing mental health and wellbeing is being launched at Winchester University next week.

Breaking Barriers, which features 100 personal accounts of mental ill health, recovery and connection, has been edited by Dr Glenn Fosbraey, the university’s associate dean of humanities and social sciences, and creative writing graduate Katie Pether, who now works for the Department for Education as a mental health first aid instructor.

Their collection showcases writing from contributors aged 18 to 83 from the UK, USA, Africa, and Europe. It includes the stories of people who are transgender, non-binary, and from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds and occupations.

Hampshire Chronicle: The cover of Breaking BarriersThe cover of Breaking Barriers (Image: University of Winchester)

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Glenn said: “Despite acceptance of mental ill health being significantly better than it was when I was growing up, I’ve noticed some people still feel there’s a stigma around admitting that they’re struggling and that to do so is somehow showing weakness.

“I wanted to create a collection which showed that mental ill health can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, occupation, or background.”

He and Katie sent out a call for submissions to universities across the world and Katie put out a call at the Department for Education.

The search uncovered a selection of personal stories.

Glenn continued: “There are moments of despondency, moments of hope, but overall you will find, within this collection, the power of the individual spirit to create, to rise above, to speak from the wilderness and to share.”

Breaking Barriers was funded by Student Support and Success at the University and £1 from every book sold will go to Winchester Youth Counselling.

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A free launch event is taking place for the book at the university’s West Downs Auditorium on Thursday, March 7.

As well as reading from the book, the launch event will feature a panel discussion on the role of creativity in mental wellbeing.

To reserve a place at the event, visit eventbrite.co.uk/e/breaking-barriers-book-launch-tickets-815740199897.