[Francis shares his love of writing for his mental wellbeing]

I absolutely love Changes and have been going as a member and facilitator for more than five years. It really does help my mental health and is a great tool for self checking and evaluation. I love listening to other people’s stories and learning about them and finding solutions to my mental health issues and helping others with theirs.

I have been writing since about 2010 when I started using it to help with self understanding and for the joy of creating my own world and expressing my ideas. I had done well at writing and telling stories at school and had done some animation then too. I now facilitate an animation course which is going well, we are using a story I wrote called ‘Sinbad and the Giants treasure’. I also write poetry which I started around 2001, back then my poetry was abysmal but it has improved a lot. I write a poem each week for my music group and a story each week for my creative writing group. This poem is called ‘Whispering Dolphins’ and it took about ten minutes to write:

Whispering Dolphins

Whispering Dolphins wonder why,
Precious crystals never die,
Ancient lips with wondering tongue,
Curved in unspoken words of song

Whispering Dolphins too deep to think,
Pause the waters there to sink,
Where sharks and rays and crabs and whales,
There nothing starves and nothing fails

You cannot go to centre rock,
Where balance plays and duty mocks,
Where poison gestures with a smile,
And picks a prisoner for the mile

Now do not bend or curve your wit,
But place all things wherein they sit,
And list and lay and make a dance,
That hope not perish on a chance