Skip to 0 minutes and 16 seconds This MOOC is called Literature and Mental Health, and I think it’s a unique course. I think, for me, literature is inspirational. It’s healing. It can help us not feel alone. It may have been written 400 years ago, and yet, it still speaks to me today. Literature provides a unique insight into other minds. You will be able to think afresh and gain new understand of some of the really difficult mental health questions that we all have to face. Each week takes a different theme, such as stress, dementia, heartbreak, bereavement, and then we built that week around poems that we think will be relevant, helpful. We get moving testimony from the writer and broadcaster Melvyn Bragg.
Skip to 1 minute and 6 seconds We also speak to the great actor Ian McKellen and Stephen Fry gave us a very moving interview. He loves poetry, and he talked to us about the ways in which poetry has helped him through bouts of depression. The doctors that we’re working with on the course are incredibly interested in the ways in which literature can be used for science and for medicine. We think that the kind of concentration provided by a short poem is of enormous value in stressful times.
Skip to 1 minute and 38 seconds We also have a range of other texts, though you don’t have to read the whole novel. We’ll have extracts up online. There will be reading lists, and there’ll be extra activities if you wanted to do more. So I’m seeing this as a very scalable, very flexible course. Learners become part of the community where you share experiences with others. It can be a genuine dialogue, not only between the past and the present, but also among the learners.