"I can see it; I can see the life I want to live"

The winning entry in a 'Healing words' mental health poetry competition.

The final of ‘Healing Words’, a mental health poetry competition from The Advocacy Project, supported by Central North West London NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Westminster, took place at the end of September in London.

The evening showcased the winning entries from a poetry competition designed to allow people who’ve experienced mental health issues, professionals, family and friends, to share their experience through poetry. Actress and competition judge Joanna Scanlan performed some of the winning entries.

The Advocacy Project’s Judith Davey said 'Over 300 poems were submitted… some even came from outside the UK! It shows there’s a real appetite to explore creative writing and the mental health recovery journey. All of the judges said the standard of the poems was incredibly high. A number of the poems are about Grenfell. Entries from local residents and service users earned special commendations.’ 

Overall winner Hannah Lewis, from Peckham, said, 'I've always used creative writing to help me manage my mental health challenges, but poetry is a new venture for me so I'm extremely surprised to be the overall winner – I am so grateful! I just hope that my piece conveyed how distressing body image disorders can be, and breaks the stereotype that they are based on vanity. I also wanted to show that they often come with co-morbidities such as disordered eating and dermatillomania, which I hope encourages a wider discussion about categorisation.'

Hannah entered her poem (below) in the Darkest Days category.

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