The Christie marked World Mental Health Day this week with a special arts event featuring renowned poet and novelist Jackie Kay MBE.

As part of the event focusing on the impact the arts, and especially poetry, can have on the mental well-being of cancer patients and their friends and relatives, Jackie read several poems and talked entertainingly about her life.

Jackie is Scotland’s national poet, or Scots Makar, and has been Chancellor of Salford University and Writer in Residence there since 2014. She is also Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University.

Jackie, who lives in Manchester, read poems and excerpts from several of her books and also from her new collection of poetry, Bantam.

The World Mental Health Day event also featured poems written by patients and staff at Manchester’s specialist cancer hospital.

Jackie said: “I was delighted to mark World Mental Health Day by visiting The Christie. Meeting staff and patients and hearing some of the poems they’ve written was a real pleasure. Seeing how poetry can help people’s mental well-being at a traumatic time in their life is quite inspirational.”

There was also a display of paintings from the hospital’s art room and information from The Christie’s psycho-oncology department and The Christie charity’s sporting events team, all backed by music from a string quartet featuring patient and former Chethams viola teacher Cathy Perkins.

Commenting on the event, Roger Spencer, Chief Executive of The Christie, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome such a perceptive and entertaining writer to The Christie to help us to mark World Mental Health Day. Jackie’s work really touches people but she also has the gift of making them smile.”

And Dr Elise Hymanson, from The Christie’s psycho-oncology team, added: “The team was delighted to see so many patients, staff and visitors supporting World Mental Health day at The Christie and want to give a special thank you to Jackie Kay for her inspiring reading.”



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