6 Poems to Help You Take Action on World Mental Health Day

“40 seconds of action” is all it takes to show you care. This October 10th, join the fight to improve the mental health of people around the world on World Mental Health Day


This year, World Mental Health Day focuses on suicide prevention, as the World Health Organization (WHO) invites us to take 40 seconds of action to let those who are struggling know they are not alone. This can be through spreading awareness on social media, sharing your own story, or having a private conversation with someone you know. 


In honor of World Mental Health Day, we invite you to take 40 seconds of action in whatever way makes the most sense to you. To set some inspiration in motion, we’ve pulled together 6 poems that serve as a gentle reminder to spread awareness, show love, and above all—remind us that we are not alone.


“Episode I—Clinical Depression” by Akif Kichloo

In his collection Falling Through Love, Kichloo plunges into experiences of love, longing, and loss. This stomach-dropping poem offers a deeply personal look at the speaker’s relationship to his depression and his struggle to separate himself from his diagnosis. As difficult as it may be to read, the poem also serves as a reminder that depression must be treated as seriously as any other illness. 


Little Stones at My Window” by Mario Benedetti 

In this poem, Bendetti explores feelings of joy, anxiety, and repression through the metaphor of little stones being thrown at a window. This quick poem provides a personal yet relatable account of how it feels to experience yet avoid our full range of emotions. Bendetti’s words remind us that, though there are good days and bad days, joy will find its way in.


“Resilience” by Alex Elle

In Neon Soul, Elle provides us with a reminder that we are strong. Despite the adversity life may present, she writes “look at you, love. / still here and hopeful / after it all.” Her words can provide much-needed light and support in times of difficulty and darkness.


The Soul Has Bandaged Moments” by Emily Dickinson 

This 19th-century poem provides an inside look at Dickinson’s struggle with her depression. Throughout, the speaker portrays a struggle between her soul and the ‘fright,’ as her soul experiences fleeting moments of freedom and capture. Dickinson’s poem helps us understand the internal battle many of us must fight on a daily basis.


Patron Saint of Manic Depressives” by Clementine von Radics

In this poem, von Radics reveals the realities of her diagnosis “On the worst days, to be manic depressive is to stand on ground that can’t promise to stay beneath you,” she writes. In the same breath, she refuses to be stigmatized by it. “I swear I will not apologize for what allows me to see the sky,” she says. 


“how am i?” by Emmy Marucci

In this brief poem, Marucci unpacks the power behind a simple question. Though many of us are often asked, “How are you,” we are rarely invited to respond truthfully. This poem serves as a reminder to stop, ask, and listen intently to those who are hurting. 


“eleven” by Tanya Markul

This short and sweet poem from Markul comes from The She Book. “eleven” encourages us to connect and heal through our past experiences—even if they were painful ones. We must always find ways to relate and understand one another, show kindness, and promote healing.