19 Poems to Combat The Stigma Around Mental Health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and Words Dance decided to take some advice from Neil Hilborn (as found in the first video) and do two things to create a platform to start conversations around the subject. The first part follows “Listen” with spoken word poets and the second part follows “Speak Up” with written word poems.

About Poetry & Mental Illness

Neil Hilborn, “OCD” Slam Poetry and Mental Health Awareness (includes the OCD poem)

Rachel McKibbens, Poetry as Therapy

Spoken Word

Sabrina Benaim, “Explaining Depression to My Mother”

Shane Koyzcan, “To This Day”

Anis Mojgani, “Shake the Dust”

Dan Roman, “Living With Depression”

Catalina Ferro, “Anxiety Group”


“After Lavender Season
by Ginny Wiehardt
(Editor’s note is helpful)

“Piano Teeth”
by Caitlyn Siehl

“So You Want to Kill Yourself”
by Meggie Royer

by Donna-Marie Riley

Poetry Suite
by Stevie Edwards

Poetry Suite
by Jeanann Verlee

“The Language of the World”
by Nick Narbutas

“A Prayer”
by Caitlyn Siehl

♥ Do you have a fav that we didn’t list? Have you written a poem that we could include? Click on over to our Facebook page & let us know in the comments with a link or by copy/pasting yours. We’re looking forward to what you share. ♥

Contributing Editor

Alexis Smithers is a twenty one year old explosion of messes. They are queer black writer that was published in a book about how horses heal (Wild at Heart by Heather Kirby), and has work that can be found on theEEEL. Fun facts: they tied a pillowcase to their back and tried to fly after seeing Sky High, their mantra can be found in Wreck-It Ralph, The Babadook, or Orphan Black (depending on the day) and they’re terrified of mostly everything but art makes the fear easier to hold.