In just over a week a new book is going to be published which I believe could have a huge positive impact on thousands of people across the country.

Many books recount personal struggles, but what makes Black Rainbow different is that it doesn’t just describe one person’s unhappiness, but also shows a way out, one which could help others with depression.

Rachel Kelly, the author, is so committed to helping improve mental health that she has taken the generous step of donating her profits to United Response and to SANE, another charity working in the field. But even if she hadn’t done this, I would have wanted to support the book because I think it has the potential to inject some much needed hope into our public conversation about mental health.

Rachel was a Times journalist and working mother when she was struck with profound depression, going from feeling mildly anxious to being completely unable to function within the space of three days. As Rachel vividly describes it, a “trapdoor” opened up beneath her, just as it can for any of us. The book is the tale of her long and difficult road to recovery, and how the healing words of poetry helped her through.

It’s that latter aspect which makes the book special. As we found in our own creative project, Postcards from the Edges, art - whether your own or someone else’s – can have huge benefits to mental health. One postcard maker wrote that “art saves lives” and others talked of creativity as “free medicine”.

We believe Black Rainbow will help others to embrace healing words or creativity as a way of living with or recovering from depression. This approach will not work for everyone, and there are clearly other ways to deal with mental illness, but anything which can provide comfort or meaning is of value.

That’s why we have also joined forces with Rachel to launch a new artistic project called Postcards of Hope, our follow up to Postcards from the Edges. We’re going to ask people from across the country to send in postcards describing the words or inspirational images which have helped them through difficult times or to create their own. Please check back here on Easter Sunday or after for more information.

We’re very excited about the project and the positive message that the book Black Rainbow delivers so powerfully. That’s why we will be working to make sure its message is heard by as many people as possible - starting with you, the reader of this blog.

Su Sayer, Chief Executive, United Response