This is an effort to promote the three key Poetry for Personal Power concepts:
1. Everyone goes through adversity
2. One of the best ways through adversity is talking to someone who has been there before
3. Another great way through is to find what gives you personal power, what makes you feel strong. This might be gardening, exercise, pets, meditation, spirituality, or, of course, poetry.
We are not a “mental health awareness” event because getting through adversity may or may not include involvement with the traditional mental health system. Because of some of the emerging questions about the long term effectiveness of psychiatric labels and medication, Poetry for Personal Power focuses advocacy efforts on peer support and what people can do for themselves and for each other to stay well and to get through very difficult challenges.
We are basing the messages to promote positive mental health on the results of our event last year. Based on our program evaluations, the following messages were most helpful to program participants. Of 121 Total evaluations
- 55 students said the most useful part was hearing the stories of other students, and how they’d overcome adversity
- 19 said they were very surprised at the talent on their campus
- 40 said they wanted to write more or get more involved in poetry
- 18 said they were surprised that their fellow students had so many struggles
- 29 said they were interested in helping their friends through troubles
- 16 said they’d like a bigger audience next time
This is our third year of event promotion and we are working to make our program nationally replicable and sustainable after this round of support.
Here is an excellent video from our 2012 Harris-Stowe event that describes why Poetry for Personal Power was created: