New research from La Trobe is examining the positive effects of reading groups on wellbeing and mental health.
The La Trobe Law School’s Associate Professor Chris Maylea, Rory Randall and Hamilton Kennedy are part of a multidisciplinary team that hopes to unlock the empowering potential of shared narratives.
"Our Shared Reading project is more than just an exploration of literature; it's a journey towards fostering mental wellness and self-advocacy among participants,” explains Dr Juliane Roemhild, Chief Investigator of the project from La Trobe’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
“It's also a testament to the collective pursuit of enhancing mental wellness and community engagement through the evocative power of words."
Located at La Trobe University’s Bundoora and Bendigo campuses, and the Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council Headquarters in Prahran, this 12-week project employs a mixed-methods approach to gauge the multifaceted impacts of shared reading.
“The groups, each consisting of 8 to 10 participants, are co-facilitated by one of our research team members and a trained peer-worker,” says Dr Roemhild.
“Together, they lead the reading and subsequent discussion of a poem or story, fostering a supportive environment for shared experiences and personal reflection.”
“This initiative not only showcases the therapeutic essence of literature but also lays a promising groundwork for establishing a larger shared reading scheme across Australia.”
“Shared reading is not just about words on a page,” adds Associate Professor Chris Maylea, “it's a catalyst for health, advocacy and community justice.”