Marie Humble has set out to create a poetry anthology to raise awareness about mental health.
Heart beat quickens. The world is so noisy it can’t hear you screaming inside. This is what an anxiety attack can feel like and for a lot of people, when they need support the most, they can’t tell anyone about it out of shame.
Mental health still has huge stigma around it. There have been campaigns to try to tackle this, such as #TimeToTalk but the problem is talking doesn’t solve the fundamental problems. People with mental health conditions need support, not just to be able to talk. One poet is trying to tackle both.
Marie is creating a poetry anthology to try to raise awareness about mental health and funds for services. She’s directly trying to make conversations and awareness about mental health help financially support services which have faced huge pressures in recent years.
“I know a lot of people, particularly close friends of mine, who have been through difficult times due to their mental health,” Marie says. “However, due to the lack of funding they’ve been put on waiting lists for months instead of getting the help they need. As one of the richest countries in the world it is appalling that the mental health services are underfunded. Since our current government are not doing enough to change this, I decided I wanted to do the best I could to help.
“I chose to create an anthology of poems because I love writing myself and find it therapeutic, I thought it would be something different to hosting a charity night and a way I could get local writers involved.”
An anthology also offers huge scope. There’s no limit to who can get involved due to geography and travel. Many with mental health conditions often feel that it’s difficult to talk openly, or may have anxiety around spoken word performances. This makes an anthology an ideal option, and an outlet where anyone can express themselves.
“Poetry and even just writing in general can really help to express yourself in a way that spoken words can’t,” Marie says.
Marie has raised money for great causes before. She’s taken part in charity runs for Cancer Research and now is extending her commitment to making a difference to the area of mental health, an issue that has huge importance to Marie.
“Mental health is something that affects so many people in our day to day lives,” says Marie. “And although we’re raising more awareness now, it’s still important that we carry on pushing to help people get the support they need. I’ve known people who’ve experienced mental health issues and I’m sure most people know at least one person who has or had mental health issues. Which is why it’s hard to comprehend how underfunded the mental health services are.”
“It’s hard to comprehend how underfunded the mental health services are”
It’s believed that one in four people will experience a mental health issue at some point in their lives. Yet, despite what the Government may state about funding, services are actually receiving less than they were five years ago once inflation is taken into account. Furthermore, last year it was revealed that five regions in England would experience mental health care cuts totalling £4.5 million.
Almost everyone will know someone who at some point will have to manage their mental health. It’s an issue that impacts millions of people. This makes mental health an issue close to many people’s hearts, and with a backdrop of Government cuts to services, people are looking to try to make a difference. This may be why Marie has received such positive responses already.
“I’ve had a brilliant response so far! I’ve had so much support from my family, friends, teachers and many kind people on twitter. I’ve used the #WriteYourMind for my project and I’ve had Owen Jones and Matt Haig share my tweet which was very kind of them! They are both doing a brilliant job in drawing attention to mental health.”
The anthology is open for submissions and it will be launching in the summer.
“I haven’t included a theme for the poems,” Marie says. “I wanted to give everyone the chance to focus on writing something they’re passionate about. Themes can help sometimes but I would like the anthology to include all types of poetry. Although, I’ve asked everyone to write something positive because I’d like to promote a hopeful message to those reading it. It’s early days but I’m looking into selling the books on amazon so it’s easily accessible for people all over to buy. I will hopefully be publishing the book during July/August because I finish my exams in June.”
We know that there aren’t enough resources in the UK for people with mental health conditions. Sometimes, there aren’t even enough hospital beds. The role of the Government will long be debated, but while that conversation goes on it’s the worth of charities, support groups and dedicated activists that are trying to do the best that they can for mental health services. Marie’s anthology is an example of everyday activism that can make such a huge impact. People can explore their identities and creativity, while raising money for groups who desperately need them. We’ve gone beyond needing to talk, but it is activists who are delivering action.
To find out more about the anthology, you can follow Marie on Twitter or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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