The Health In Mind One Book campaign was launched on World Book Day 7th March 2013.
All 96 public libraries across Northern Ireland have signed up to The Health In Mind One Book campaign which aims to get 5,000 people to read the same book, ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’ by author Rachel Joyce.
This book tells the story of recently-retired Harold Fry, who sets out one morning to post a letter to a dying friend. Quite unexpectedly, in a moment of impulse, Fry finds himself at the start of a journey which will lead him to walk hundreds of miles from home, en route making chance encounters and reflecting on tragic events from his past which transform his life and in turn alter the lives of the people he meets.
The launch event was compered by actress and broadcaster Nuala McKeever, who is also Patron of Action Mental Health.
Rosalie Flanagan, the Permanent Secretary for the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, represented the Minister at the launch and spoke about why Rachel Joyce’s book was chosen as The Health In Mind One Book for 2013 by a panel of arts, health, library and mental health professionals.
“Rachel’s book is a powerful uplifting story of inspiration, with the potential to help to get people talking and thinking about mental health in a positive and engaging way. By bringing these issues to the forefront we help to reduce its stigma and that of their sufferers. Understanding poor mental health can affect anyone at anytime can better equip all of us in managing our own mental health and supporting others. I would encourage everyone to not only read Rachel’s book but to take time to discuss the topics it raises.”
Rachel Joyce, author of ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’, spoke about and read an excerpt from the book, which should appeal to men and women of all ages and had an essentially uplifting message and the engaging storyline, saying:
“I am really moved by the way readers have taken this story and Harold to their hearts. People seem to know what I’m talking about and that’s a wonderful thing. This book and these characters – people I was alone with for so long – are ‘out there’ and they have a life that isn’t to do with me anymore. It makes me feel connected.”
The campaign will run from March - September 2013 and the hope is that it will get people talking about mental health issues that they often feel reluctant to talk openly about, which in turn keeps them feeling isolated and unsupported.
Irene Knox, Chief Executive of Libraries NI added:
“We want at least 5000 people to read the book and to think about how we cope with life’s ups and downs. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is a very powerful and moving book which addresses quite controversial and sensitive issues and is a great read for people of all ages. The Health In Mind One Book campaign was launched in Belfast Central Library on World Book Day (7th March 2013) and we were delighted that DCAL’s Permanent Secretary Rosalie Flanagan and the author, Rachel Joyce, were in attendance to kick-start this exciting campaign.”
Health in Mind is the result of a partnership between Libraries NI and four leading mental health charities: Action Mental Health, Aware Defeat Depression, Cause and MindWise and seeks to raise awareness and understanding of good mental health and to promote opportunities to improve wellbeing through information, learning and reading.
The Public Health Agency will be a key partner throughout the campaign and has formally endorsed the campaign by funding the purchase of multiple copies of the book for members of the public to borrow for free in libraries.
To support the campaign, a series of events will be held in library venues dotted across Northern Ireland for people to enjoy. For details of these events and activities being held to support the campaign, visit the Health In Mind website www.yourhealthinmind.org.uk , like our Facebook page or sign up for our Tweets.
You can also contact the Health in Mind Team on telephone: 028 9039 5980 or email: email@example.com
Information on the project is also available on the Libraries NI website www.librariesni.org.uk