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Saturday, August 31, 2019

Healing Words Poetry Competition

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Have you experienced mental health problems, or are you a family member or friend of someone who has? We’re inviting you to enter our poetry competition, Healing Words, which is back for its second year. Actress Joanna Scanlan, and jazz musician Gill Manly, are amongst the six judges for the competition. You can meet all our judges here, and watch Joanna and Gill’s video introductions to Healing Words.

Creativity and mental health

Creativity is known to help people express themselves during the darkest days of their mental illness and throughout their recovery. It helps support self-understanding of mental health conditions.

We want to celebrate the recovery journey by sharing this creativity with a wider audience to help improve understanding, tolerance and respect of mental health problems.

Entry categories
There are five different categories you can enter:

  • Darkest days: poems from before the dawn of hope
  • Good days and bad days: poems from the road to recovery
  • Being well: poems about more peaceful times
  • Illustrated poem: poems with illustration
  • Spoken word poem: poems spoken 

Presenting your poem
You can write, record or film your poem (we know some people prefer to record the spoken word or film their entry instead of writing it down). Your poem should be a maximum of 25 lines and only one entry per person.

How to enter
You can choose which of these ways to enter is easiest for you.

Upload your poem on our website

Email your poem to, together with an entry form (or type the entry form details into the email)

Post your poem plus entry form to The Advocacy Project, 73 St Charles Square, London W10 6EJ

Give your poem to staff who work for The Advocacy Project; they will ask you to fill in an entry form

Use WhatsApp to send your poem to 07984 353961, together with an entry form (or type the entry form details into the message)

We will keep the names of everyone who enters hidden from the judges until the award ceremony.

The closing date is Sunday 8 September 2019, 5pm. Please read our competition guidelines before sending your entry.

Exhibition week and awards
We’re holding an exhibition in central London celebrating all the entries on 1-3 October 2019. This coincides with National Poetry Day on Thursday 3 October. There will be a number of workshops and events you can attend over the three days. There will also be an awards ceremony for winners on 1 October.

If you’d like to make a donation to support this event please contact Saboohi Bukhari, Head of Business Development,

For more information
If you’d like more information on the competition, please contact Jo Kay on 020 8969 3000.

Competition Guidelines

You can only enter one poem

Your poem must be shorter than. 25 lines (excluding the title)/. If your poem is longer than 25 lines, we can't include it in the competition.

Your name should only be on the entry form, not the poem itself - se we can keep all the names hidden from the judges until the awards ceremony.

You can use any format you like - haiku, sonnet, blank verse - any way you'd like to write it.

Once you've sent your poem to us, you can't make changes to it.

Your poem must be entirely your own work and not have been published before.

Your poem must be relevant to the competition theme 'Healing Words'.

The competition judges will read all the entries.

Once the judges have chosen the winners, that is their final decision. The organizers and judges won't disscuss their decisions with entrants.

The competition organizers reserve the right not to award prizes if, in the judges opinion, such an action is justified.

The entrant agrees to indemnify the judges, organisers and the other parties against any litigation the tmay arise if entered works do not have the necessary permission to be published.

No poem can win more than one prize.

All entries are accepted in good faith.