Centre for Mental Health has appointed Mark Brown as its first writer-in-residence in an initiative to stimulate more independent writing about mental health policy and practice.

Mark Brown, from Social Spider, will take up the role of writer-in-residence from January 2019 and create a series of articles to be published by the Centre with his reflections on a range of mental health topics.

The aim of the writer-in-residence programme is to support new and existing writers with an interest and experience in mental health to share their knowledge, create new ideas and offer their thoughts on a broad range of issues. Over time, the Centre hopes to offer a platform to more writers with a diverse range of experiences, ideas and perspectives and reach out to more people to debate about mental health in society.

Mark Brown said: “Mental health is one of the most interesting things in the world to write about because it is always, underneath everything, the story of what it means to be human in an ever-changing world. As a writer I’m always trying to explore what ideas and policies mean in people’s lives. Everything has a mental health angle if you spend time with it long enough.

Mental health is one of the most interesting things to write about because it is, underneath everything, the story of what it means to be human in an ever-changing world.

“The last decade and a half has seen a flowering of writing about mental health and mental illness written by those who live with its realities and its discomforts. It was from other people with lived experience that I learned how to think and write about mental health.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be offered a home for some of my own writing and thinking and the space to do some exploring and some digging.

“We’re only at the beginning of exploring what a better world for mental health looks like and I’m honoured to take up this role at a time where mental health is moving from a marginal issue to an issue of national importance.”

We’re only at the beginning of exploring what a better world for mental health looks like

Centre for Mental Health chief executive Sarah Hughes said: “I am delighted that Mark Brown will be the Centre’s first writer-in-residence. Mark has an extraordinary ability through his writing to reflect on the implications of everyday experience for policy and practice and to communicate profoundly difficult topics with clarity and panache.

“We hope that our writer-in-residence programme will create a platform for people from diverse backgrounds to reflect and speak out. Some, like Mark, will be highly experienced and skilled writers; others may not have written professionally before. All will have something distinctive to say and I am proud that the Centre will be able to share their thoughts and experiences nationally and internationally.”