A Gwent girl has turned to poetry to help raise awareness of how creativity can help people suffering with mental health problems.

Asia Shaddad, 18, from Rogerstone in Newport, started writing poetry as a way of expressing things she found difficult to talk about.

She said: “I struggle massively with my mental health and I was feeling really low at the time.

“I didn’t expect to be able to write anything. I just had all these things swirling around in my head which I felt had to go down on paper.

The spontaneity is something which Miss Shaddad feels has also benefited her.

“The creativity is good because when I start writing, I never know what outcome I will get,” she said, explaining how she can pack up her writing equipment and head up to the park if she needs a change of scenery.

Miss Shaddad has written numerous poems, mainly as a way to relax. However, the poems have also helped her parents to understand what she is going through.

Her mother, Jackie, said: “As a parent you tend to think is just teenage stuff. We quickly realised that there was a little bit more going on. It was hard for us to understand, so for us to help her understand what she was going through was tough.

“We think we understand our kids, we think we’re tuned into them. But actually, we were way off. So, for her to put it down on paper, even though it might be a hard read, gives us an opportunity to see how she’s feeling.”

(VIDEO: Asia Shaddad reads the first poem she wrote)

Miss Shaddad posts her poems on Instagram @alanawalkerphotos and hopes people in a similar situation to hers will be able to relate.

“If someone relates to my poem then I’ve done what I wanted and made contact with someone I can be a listener and helping hand to,” she said.

While she has certainly found solace in the written word, Miss Shaddad was also quick to praise the team at mental health charity Newport Mind.

“It was one of the few places I felt safe to talk,” she explained. “The people there made it really easy to talk about what I was going through.

“I’ve also taken their mental health first aid training course and received a certificate. I would recommend it to anyone.”

For more information about Newport Mind and the services they provide, either call 01633 258741 or visit their website at newportmind.org.