This website uses cookies to help us understand the way visitors use our website. We can't identify you with them and we don't share the data with anyone else. If you click Reject we will set a single cookie to remember your preference. Find out more in our privacy policy.

your voiceyour rightsyour choice

Poetry competition

Image shows Joanna Scanlan and details for our poetry competition, Healing Words


Healing Words

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.



Supported by