Black On White


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Creative People and Mental Illness

By Michael Newlyn

ISBN: 978-1-78382-182-2
Published: 2015
Pages: 58
Key Themes: Mental Health, Mental Illness, Creativity, Art, Poetry, Creative Writing


Priory Gardens well-being centre is run by Solent Mind and formed after the Bird in hand activity centre went bust. The Bird in hand was a centre for the mentally ill and offered a variety of support of lots of activities such as art, drama and music. He started going to the Bird in 1994 shortly after he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. He has met many friends over the years some of which he has known since 1995 such as Sandra Foley. The bird went into liquidation and left a big hole in many peoples lives, but after a year reopened as Priory Gardens. We are a large family, we all support each other as we are all in the same boat.

His memorable moments at the Bird in hand were when he met and worked with Kate Firth, Colin Firth’s sister the famous actor. When he played in a long term charity rock band and when we all played at the Tower Arts in Winchester and stole the show, we were all service users.

He has put this book together with kind help from fellow sufferer’s who are artists and poets, like myself who attend Priory Gardens. The book is to show there is a link between creativity, creative people and mental illness.

About the Author

Mike Newlyn was born in Winchester, in 1973, United Kingdom, he then moved and lived in Swanmore, Hampshire. He lived in a bungalow with his Family, which his Grandfather built shortly after WWII. He then moved too Bishops Waltham where he lived with his Father for many years. His Father like much of family suffered and died from a hereditary illness.

Huntington’s Disease has ruined his family but Mike tested negative for the illness. Mike has had a very troubled life, he was bullied a lot at school, in the work place and he suffers from Mental Health problems. He was also abused twice and his best friend who suffered from Manic Depression commit suicide some years ago. Mike is very creative in lots of areas such as music, art, and design and tries to help others.

Book Extract

Walk in the woods
By Michael Newlyn

walk in the forest forever together
looking up at the tree tops
I want to stay here forever
amongst the animals and hollyhocks

Floating through the trees I can feel the leaves
I love it when I see you smile
bluebells in this wood surrounded by bees
walking through the flowers then we hide

Lay back in the warm sunshine rustling trees
listening to the birds and watching the butterflies
reading a book together and talking of the sea
drift off to the beach and walk along the seafront

This is what I am dreaming and believing
the wonders of the universe and planet Earth
sitting in the forest so tranquil and rewarding
lets go there and share the dream together forever


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