New Year Resolutions
Trigger warning: This article discusses mental health.
Happy New Year to all our colleagues for 2024!
As we head into 2024, and before the Wellness Committee gets stuck into its work for the coming year, it is appropriate to take a pause to thank everyone who has supported and engaged with the work of the committee over the past twelve months, to celebrate our collective achievements in raising awareness of the mental health initiative, and to reflect again on our mission to promote positive mental health, foster the concept of hope, and challenge the stigma of mental illness in the horror genre. In the main, our work has involved development of programs such as NOTABLE WORKS, facilitating panel events and discussions, curating articles and blogs, providing sensitivity reading services to conferences and festivals, and awareness outreach to the wider horror community. We could not have carried out this work without the engagement and encouragement of HWA members and we are grateful for your enthusiastic support.
For anyone who wishes to learn more (or if you’re struggling), we invite you to check out our dedicated Mental Health Initiative WEBPAGE. There, you’ll find our free downloadable HWA booklet Of Horror and Hope, which offers flash fiction, reflections, and poetry from our members on the theme of mental illness and horror. Please feel free to share this resource with friends and colleagues.
Going forward we hope members will join the Wellness Committee in making a new year resolution to strive for more positive representations of mental illness in our work, and wherever possible to uphold the tenets of our mental health CHARTER.
If you’d like to be more involved in the work of the committee, but you’re not quite sure how, we would welcome member contributions to this column. In general, texts should somehow comprise the theme of mental health and horror. Our guidelines are listed below.
- Holistic Horror texts should comply with our HWA Mental Health Initiative Charter: https://horror.org/mental-health-initiative-charter/
- Personal reflections on a writer’s lived experience are especially welcome (however, we prefer to stay away from therapies except where is applies to the author’s experience, since recommending treatments is beyond the scope of our work)
- We usually arrange for one or two sensitivity readers to consider the work, and we systematically add a trigger warning and the HWA Mental Health logo to all texts.
- From September 2022, all articles published on our Holistic Horrors column will also appear on the Mental Health Initiative Blog the following month (to ensure the widest possible readership).
- Texts can be any length, but under 2000 words is our sweet spot. Please also include an author photo and your author bio.
- We regret we are unable to offer payment for this work. Given that the texts can sometimes be personal, you can request the work to be taken off the HWA blog at any time.
- Send texts to leekiwi [at] gmail.com
If you’d like to write something but you’re not quite sure how to begin, a set of interview questions to use as a prompt can be found HERE.
Other ways to be involved include submitting a 500-word review of a short story, novella, or novel or poetry collection which you feel addresses mental illness in a sensitive manner to our Notable Works team (check out the Notable Works page for details). Alternatively, you could come along to a panel session or event, put your name forward as a speaker, write a panel report, or you might like to join our team of sensitivity readers. Of course not everyone will have the capacity to contribute, but simply sharing the committee’s social media posts when you see them will go a long way in helping to spread awareness of our work. Thank you so much for your help.
We’re looking forward to a productive 2024, including the introduction of a program called Notable Shorts. Look out for information about that month-long event later in the year. In February, we’ll be taking a look at poetry and wellness, with a Holistic Horrors column featuring 14 exquisite dark poems—both original and reprints, including some award-nominated works—from nine exceptional poets, all of whom share their very personal perspectives on aspects of mental health. Until then, the Wellness Committee would like to wish you all a very happy and healthy new year.
Notable Works: https://horror.org/notable-works-from-the-mental-health-initiative/
MHI Charter: https://horror.org/mental-health-initiative-charter/
Holistic Horror interview questions: https://tinyurl.com/mv7fk2jt