Mental Health and Me is back for the third year running with 2016 bringing a fresh new twist to ground breaking writing competition. If you have an experience or interest in mental health, whether this is based on a true story or entirely fictionalised and you would like the opportunity to become a published writer – this is your chance to have your voice heard!
The theme for the 2016 Mental Health and Me writing competition is:
Faces, Places, Spaces
(Fill in this submission form and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org alongside your entry)
Faces, Places and Spaces will always have a major impact on anyone’s mental health; often these three elements are a centre point for any writer or great piece of fiction. Take Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, a semi-autobiographical account of her own clinical depression, in which the protagonist Ester Green expresses her feelings of entrapment within the same glass bell jar ‘stewing in (her) own soul air’. No matter where she was, whether on the deck of a ship or in a street café in Paris or Bangkok, Ester cannot escape her own internal struggle with depression. Alternatively, we can look at David Foster Wallace’s Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, in which the author interviews a series of fictional characters, offering a poignant insight into the effect social relationships can impact on someone’s mental health, including feelings of alienation and depression.
The people we meet and relationships we keep, the places we visit or inhabit, and the spaces we go perhaps for some downtime or even the mental spaces we hold within, will mean something different to everyone.
Did you know?
- 1 in 3 GP appointments in Liverpool are mental health related
- There has been a big increase in the number of young people being admitted to hospital because of self-harm. Over the last ten years this figure has increased by 68%
- Rates of ‘common mental health problems’ such as depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder or panic disorder are higher in Liverpool than in most other parts of the country.
- People from BME communities are: more likely to be diagnosed with mental health problems; more likely to be diagnosed and admitted to hospital; more likely to experience a poor outcome from treatment; more likely to disengage from mainstream mental health services, leading to social exclusion and a deterioration in their mental health.
- Mental health problems cost employers in the UK £30 billion a year through lost production, recruitment and absence
For the past two years, the Mental Health and Me competition has been one of the highlights of the Liverpool Mental Health Festival programme. It has attracted a wide selection of poems, short stories, diary entries/blog posts, letters, journalism, tweets and spoken word pieces. This year we’re changing the format of the competition a bit – you know we like to keep things fresh. You will be able to enter a piece of your own original creative writing to one of three categories, either ‘Faces’, ‘Places’ or ‘Spaces.’ What you choose to write about and in what format is entirely down to you as long as your entry relates to the category theme. You can enter a short story, poem, spoken word piece, tweet, journalism piece, blog post, a diary entry or a letter.
Have you suffered from mental distress in the past and there was someone, maybe a loved one, friend, or health care worker who really made an impact on your life; is there a certain place you like to go for a bit of headspace; have you been there for someone suffering from mental distress, or are you interested in writing about a fictionalised character and their experience? The possibilities are endless and completely down to you!
We would encourage entries from anyone with an interest in mental health and wellbeing. If you or anyone close to you has been affected by mental distress; if you have experience as a carer or a professional, or if, for any reason, you have a particular interest in the subject of mental health, we want to hear from you. Critical voices are also welcome!
And… if that doesn’t sound good enough, this year we will also be offering two free creative writing workshops aimed at anyone who is considering submitting a competition entry. The workshops will offer tips, exercises and discussions to help get your creative juices flowing. Attendance at the workshops is not compulsory but may be useful for anyone who’d like to gain confidence or improve their writing skills. The workshops will take place at a venue to be confirmed on Wednesday 20th July and Wednesday 17th August.
This competition is being delivered by the Liverpool Mental Health Consortium and Writing on the Wall as part of Liverpool Mental Health Festival 2016.
Click here for full details of the competition rules, prizes and deadlines.
To find out more about Liverpool Mental Health Festival 2016: