Writing group for people who have experienced perinatal mental health issues

Due to the overwhelming success of our first writing group for people who have experienced mental health issues around the time of having a baby, we are running a second series of workshops. 

What's involved in the sessions?

The sessions aim to increase their confidence and enjoyment in putting pen to paper to express themselves.

The group is being run in partnership between the Royal Literary Fund and the NHS Perinatal Mental Health service in Sheffield. The author involved will be Susan Elliot Wright, whose 2019 novel, The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood, centres around perinatal mental health experiences.

The sessions will incorporate listening to Susan reading a specially selected piece of writing – maybe a poem, short story or a novel extract - discussing that piece, and then participants trying their hand at a piece of expressive writing. This style of writing can take any form, and there is no right or wrong way to do it. Spelling, grammar and the end product are not the focus, more the process.

When will the sessions take place?

The group will start on Wednesday 28 September and consists of a weekly 90-minute online session on Microsoft Teams every Wednesday from 1pm for six weeks.

Who is the group for?

Anyone who identifies as having experienced mental distress around the time of having a baby in Sheffield can attend the group. You should ensure you are available for all (or the majority) of the six sessions.

How do I take part?

There is space for between 12 and 15 people to attend the group, with spaces allocated on a first come first served basis. The format will be relaxed, with an understanding that participants might need to respond to their baby or child while in the group.

The sessions are not designed as a place to ask for help and do not form part of the care or support offered by the Sheffield Perinatal Mental Health Service, but there will be an opportunity at the end of each session to be signposted to mental health support that is available if wanted.

Feedback from previous attendees

"The sessions were inclusive and friendly. Susan encouraged us to share our writing but it never felt forced or like too much pressure. I benefitted from her gentle prompting as I might not have been brave enough to share otherwise, but I was always glad that I had."

"Overall - fantastic! I really loved taking part and I would love to do a similar course again in future. I really appreciate the time and space dedicated to us as mothers who have experienced mental health issues."

"I’ve really thoroughly enjoyed these sessions and will miss them! I loved the way they made me carve some time out to write, and I was often amazed by what came out."

"As a result of taking part in the group I’ve become a lot more aware of the need to feed my inner life and try and keep my own spark going in the face of all the demands of motherhood. I also uncovered lost memories and new ideas though the course of the activities."


The group will be a safe and confidential space. Anyone who takes part in the group will be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement which means that they will not share anything discussed in the group or identify other participants without their consent. We will encourage you to turn your camera on during the meeting.

Find out more

If you have any questions about the group or you would like to find out more about taking part, please email perinatalmentalhealth@shsc.nhs.uk with ‘writing group’ in the subject line and ensure your email contains your name and phone number, so that someone from the service can get in touch.