I am setting up a competition tomorrow in light of the ongoing negative media attention regarding mental health. Money grabbing headlines such as ‘mental patients kill…’ have appeared recently setting back the clock to a time when fake stories were the mainstay of gossip tabloids like the Sun. As many people should know schizophrenia is not linked to violence. Science has proven that schizophrenics are the major victims of violence. And their own risk of suicide is extremely high, which should illicit emotions of sympathy, love, compassion and empathy-it does not.

Therefore I intend to start a recurring poetry competition to focus on poems refuting mental health stigma about schizophrenia /schizoaffective disorder. Your poems could focus on recent celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, and Amanda Bynes in the media, or anything that would make society question using words such as ‘schizo’ or ‘mental’ or other negative connotations. There is a first prize of £35, and I will give out t-shirts to other favourable entries. I will obviously contact the winner after the closing date; set for December 20th.

You will receive your prize money and the winning poem will be made into a video and posted on YouTube. I will set out the requirements for the poems tomorrow. So please get thinking about creative ways to tackle stigma. Anybody will be able to enter the completion, but only original unpublished poems will be accepted. Good luck, and please come back to read about more of the details tomorrow.

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