WHAT IS MENTAL ILLNESS AWARENESS WEEK?
The Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) is a non-profit organization aimed at ending stigma surrounding mental illness, and to engage Canadians in an open conversation about mental health. While this is an important priority on an ongoing basis, October 2-8, 2016 is Mental Illness Awareness Week, established in 1992 by the Canadian Psychiatric Association, and now organized by CAMIMH.
WHY IS WRITING AND READING IMPORTANT FOR MENTAL HEALTH?
Speaking very personally for a moment, as both a writer and an anxiety sufferer, I started writing in journals and creatively very early on as a way to manage and express my racing thoughts and feelings, and my notebook became something that ensured I never felt alone. My mother gave me notepads, blank diaries, journals…to this day I still get a fresh notebook every Christmas and birthday.
Our family’s social worker encouraged us to write letters. Even if we never intended to send them. If there was something you couldn’t say out loud, or if the person wasn’t around anymore to hear it, at least the process of the writing and the expression of the words is inherently healing.
Paper and a pen, two amazing tools you can use anywhere, anytime, for your own self-care emergency kit. Sometimes just having the control and harnessing our power to express, create and connect with our thoughts is enough to stay grounded. And it’s surprising and beautiful to see what kind of writing emerges when emotion flows in its purest, and most vulnerable form.
WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH A BOOK GIVEAWAY?
Our intention is not to piggy-back CAMIMH’s event just to promote a couple of our books. Natasha Locicero and I believe strongly in art and writing as therapy. Our poetry collections both examine mental illness from a very subjective and optimistic perspective. We wanted to offer both Circles and The Book of Myth in conjunction to the event as our way to open further dialogue, and offer our own subjective journey to recovery. We also hope there might be a few poems that lend words to emotions, experiences and ideas you might not yet have been able to express. Or maybe best of all, the poems might encourage you to pick up a pen and start writing something on your own.
Jessa Sobczuk, Managing Editor/Webmistress