Reading, writing and sharing poetry can help people cope with loneliness or isolation and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, a new study shows.
Research by the University of Plymouth and Nottingham Trent University, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, found that many people who took to sharing, discussing and writing poetry as a means to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic experienced “demonstrable positive impact on their wellbeing”.
The findings are based on a survey of 400 people which showed that poetry helped those experiencing common mental health symptoms as well as those suffering from grief.
It was carried out with registered users of the website poetryandcovid.com (now archived as poetryandcovidarchive.com
), who used the website to share their own poetry and/or read other people’s.
Just over half (51%) of respondents indicated that reading and/or writing poetry had helped them deal with feelings of loneliness or isolation, and for a further 50% it had helped with feelings of anxiety and depression.
Around a third (34%) felt that engaging with the website helped them feel “less anxious”, 24% felt that it helped them “feel better able to handle my problems”, 17% expressed that it enabled them to deal with issues relating to bereavement, while 16% said it assisted with ongoing mental health symptoms.