Trying to make sense of experiences within the mental health system led a Beechworth poet to his latest collection.
Frank Prem has encapsulated his career as a psychiatric nurse in The New Asylum: A Memoir of Psychiatry.
"I have always tended to write my way through challenges and mental problems," he said.
"To capture some element of what has troubled me or puzzled me in the course of the day and to write it out so it comes out of my head and on to the paper.
"That's been a help all the way through."
Indi MP Helen Haines will join Prem to launch the book at Quercus Beechworth on Wednesday, November 13, at 11am.
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Described as an expose of life in the public psychiatric system over five decades, The New Asylum depicts a demanding, stressful profession, sometimes in graphic terms.
Divided into sections, the book recalls Prem's childhood memories of Beechworth's Mayday Hills, then a mental asylum, his student days in the late 1970s and subsequent working life.
Prem aimed to present his poems in a way easily accessible for readers.
"So they're not distracted by the writing but they can allow themselves to be taken on the journey by the visuals of the stories," he said.
"The book doesn't shy away from talking about suicide or shock treatment or involuntary treatment under the mental health act.
"People experience these things personally, close to the skin, (it can be) very distressing for folk that have something to do with the mental health system."
For this reason the book includes a list of psychiatric support and counselling services.
"It's quite confronting for folk who aren't hardened and cynical and I thought it would just be wise to have some context there," Prem said.
The New Asylum is the poet's third collection, following Small Town Kid about his childhood and Devil In The Wind, which explored the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.