This is a plug for my friend Susan’s short story competition. It’s an opportunity for authors to fight back against the stigma of mental health issues and institutional abuse of power. The page is here:
and there’s an opportunity to donate toward the prize money.
I believe this is a well thought out and important event, which needs to be publicised as much as possible. As Susan comments, there is a lot of discussion these days about mental health, and initiatives driving to remove the stigma:
“But we still tend to avoid talking about the role of a dysfunctional society and repressive power dynamic in forming an ill state of mind… what if the person who commits stigma is the one has deciding power over whether you can pay your bills, live in your home, or be accepted by family and society? Much of what we call stigma is the abuse of power committed by one person over another.”
I am lucky enough to be functional, to be able to hold down a decent job, to have a supportive network of family and friends. Even so, I often worry that prospective employers will find out that I have a mental illness, and rule me out on that basis, despite my stellar previous record and references. In fact the fear of not being able to support my family, financially and emotionally, is with me constantly. I’m sure this is the case with most people – but I have the additional level of fear that people with that kind of power over me may be ignorant, prejudiced, and therefore in the end, abusive.
Like Susan, I believe that dragging this kind of discussion into the open can only help. So please, all of you who read this blog, support this competition in any way you can – write a story, donate toward the prize money, publicise it to your friends, buy the eBook of short stories that will be produced after the competition. By me, by Susan, and by many many other people who will be touched by the effects of this competition, your support will be very much appreciated.