CREATIVE writing is helping Lynn Gerrard overcome her fears.

‘The Grumbling Gargoyle’, from Dentons Green, struggles to cope with anxiety, depression, panic attacks and obsessive compulsive disorder.

When her name was announced as the arts award winner on Friday, she was astounded.

Lynn said: “I am gobsmacked.

“To be nominated was an honour, to be shortlisted was marvellous, but to win this award is such a privilege.”

A Stand Up To Stigma project at Central Library which encouraged people to perform comedy routines to raise awareness of mental health ignited her passion for poetry.

“Poetry has helped me,” said Lynn.

“To write things rather than just pop a pill is my way of trying to deal with my mental health. It is cathartic.”

Lynn was invited to lead a poetry workshop with a group of teenagers aged 13 to 15 at the Beacon Centre.

She said: “These young people were so incredibly inspiring – they were really wonderful.

“I told them not to worry about spelling or grammar.

“You need to break boundaries to relax and speak. I wanted to give them freedom to express themselves.”

She now hopes to get involved in more community projects.

“I want to help other people with mental health issues,” said Lynn.

“I have more empathy because of my personal experience.

“I can’t go out alone. I have huge support and encouragement from my husband Michael, who goes everywhere with me.”

Lynn is releasing her third poetry book in a series of four, Whisperings and Wonderings, on December 8, and is also writing a comedy play about mental health.

She has nothing but praise for the help she has received from library, the cultural hub and Arts Council England.

“They don’t judge, they just encourage, and that is where the network of support is,” Lynn said.

She was thrilled that her poem about St Helens was read out at the awards ceremony.

Lynn added: “Just the raw love of my home town, the people and its heritage has really helped me.

“I do believe in St Helens. Its future can be as powerful as its past.”

Her new book will be available on her blog.