World Mental Health Day poetry competition winners announced
The winners of the University of Salford's student poetry competition for World Mental Health Day have been announced.
The competition, which is now in its second year, is run by the Counselling and Psychotherapy team in the School of Health and Society at the university. It was launched at the university's Creative Therapies Conference back in October 2019; an event which celebrated and explored how creativity can be used therapeutically through every age of life.
We have four winners, who are all second year students:
- Abel Brooks (Counselling & Psychotherapy)
- Sally Barrett (Social Work (DA))
- Brittany Hoie (Counselling & Psychotherapy)
- Megan Keegan (Adult Nursing)
The competition was judged by Vee Howard-Jones, Head of Counselling and Psychotherapy and Debbie Lewis, Lecturer in Counselling & Psychotherapy. Vee said, "The poems that were sent in were of a really high calibre and it was a joy to read them. They were so good, we ended up with four winners! This included an extra prize for the ‘Covid-19 kindness’ category which was awarded to Megan Keegan for her beautiful poem about working on a Covid-19 ward."
All four winners will receive a £20 high street/book token.
You can read the winning poems below.
Life is Strange by Abel Brooks
life is strange
time works differently now
rubber-banding into an endless sickening uncertainty
i get messages from people i haven't thought of in years
they're so anxious to make contact with someone
although it doesn't feel like it
because nothing changes
(apart from the growing death count that i try to ignore)
now, it's the little things that mean the most
i see my neighbour on her balcony
and when she waves at me
i feel like i exist
and realise with a start how important it feels
i call my friend
a doctor, a man i respect
and his gentle words reassure me
far more than any amount of press releases
i receive a package
a friend has sent me flower seeds
and a little note
their own way of giving me something beautiful
i attend my lectures
talk to my classmates again
and leave knowing
that i'm not alone in feeling this way
and i look in the mirror
and promise myself
to be kind to myself
no matter how much or how little I achieve
in the end
these little kindnesses are what keep us sane
Tender Acts by Sally Barrett
I am running through fields of long grass
chasing ideas of orange tip butterflies
the effort comes naturally.
I consider practicing kindness when I get home.
I will do the dusting
in our spotless house he loves me
more than yesterday
A butterfly with orange tips is flying
round the yard out back
dropping ideas everywhere
like dandelion clocks in late Spring
I kick up the dust, my trainers sparkle
ideas sneak over the gate
kindness leaves traces of tiptoes
I am running down alleyways
chasing ideas of red admirals
the effort is oblique.
I will pay him in kind tomorrow
with a book or game of scrabble
A red admiral is flying ahead of me
I follow, looking up to the sky
catching ideas of kindness
in a wicker basket for strawberries
I kick up the dust.
The Grind by Brittany Hoie
Next time you think about your hard edges
Take a pumice stone
And softly grate away at the anger
The tender agony
The lack there of
Grind it down
Until you find the soft
Sweet as candy centre
And press your hand right in the middle
Feel you own heart beat
To all the people I've helped deliver end of life care to - past present and future... by Megan Keegan
💙 🌈 💙
Here are my thoughts during Covid-19.
I'm a little Cygnet; part of the SWAN team.
I'm here to sit with you; your family don't want you to be alone.
Would you like to hear their voices? Let's ring them on my phone.
I've sent an identical one to your family, so keep hold of this knitted heart.
Hopefully this will comfort you, while you have to be apart.
Your family have asked for a little lock of hair.
They want us to arrange the chaplain, to come and say a prayer.
They don't want you to feel afraid.
My breath fogs up my visor, as I watch your breathing fade.
I'm sorry I look like this, it's to keep myself and others safe from the virus.
I'll put the radio on, let's listen. I'll sing the chorus.
Please don't struggle, you're doing your best.
Myself and the nurses, we'll do the rest.
Here, give me your hand, I'll hold it tight.
Your family know you love them.
Sweet dreams, goodnight.
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