We have been wrestling with the state of our mental health. [At LIGHT one of our key areas of focus is our mental health]. In fact, our last issue was dedicated to how we might address our mental health creatively so that we are focused and precise with knowing all that entails as described by the public.
We have seen its impact, felt its effect, and watched its repeated rhythm repeatedly, with powerful, compelling images that keep us numb or chanting the chorus, "enough is enough." The saying that these are unprecedented times rings true for understanding mental health overall. Currently, we are living in a culture of vast conflicts. On one hand, many are asked to address their mental health and look up ways to ensure self-care and healing. On the other hand, we are simultaneously bombarded with gun violence, senseless killings, economic shocks, and unequal access to health that keeps our overall mental health and well-being spiraling in what bell hooks once described as “continued chaos.” Discussions (mostly from experts) have been raised about the systems and conditions that continue to harm our mental health. So, it is no surprise that the public expresses confusion about “what to do.”
At LIGHT, we believe that the public deserves to be heard. Your voices and stories about multiple paths to wellness, varied ways of thinking about healing, ideas that lead to recovery and reimagination, and ways of being that foster rest, matter and deserve a space to be shared. To echo bell hooks, “We all need somewhere to restore our soul…a path to recovery and wholeness.” Given this, our next issue of LIGHT is seeking entries about the paths to wellness for the public’s health. We invite submissions based on the following prompt:
How might we reflect and reimagine wellness in public health through art, letters, stories, and poetry?
We define wellness following bell hooks as “an act of resistance.” We see this as a process of healing wounds that prevent us from functioning fully. We believe that when we choose wellness when we decide to heal, we choose the right to our most attainable health; we choose our freedom and all the things that help us remain whole. So, how might we promote wellness for the public’s health creatively? We believe that radical wellness, a social justice imperative, will only be possible when we live in a world where we experience it holistically, naming our pain, our suffering, and all the ways we reimagine, restore, and reclaim our wellness within ourselves and among others so as to live fully and joyously. Please help us do so with your entries below.
Note: At this time, submissions will only be accepted if written in English. Submissions should not have been previously published and should be properly formatted with little to no grammatical errors. Submissions will be accepted via Submittable. Please do not include any identifying information in your uploaded file.
Letters should be between 250 to 500 words. Letter submissions should be typed in 12-point font, Arial or Calibri, and single-spaced. Acceptable file types include: .csv, .doc, .docx, .odt, .pdf, .rtf, .txt, .wpd, and .wpf.
Poems should be between 250 to 500 words. Poetry submissions should be typed in 12-point font, Arial or Calibri, and single-spaced. Acceptable file types include: .csv, .doc, .docx, .odt, .pdf, .rtf, .txt, .wpd, and .wpf.
Stories should be between 1000 to 2000 words. Story submissions should be typed in 12-point font, Arial or Calibri, and single-spaced. Acceptable file types include: .csv, .doc, .docx, .odt, .pdf, .rtf, .txt, .wpd, and .wpf.
Artwork should be visual art and include a short narrative to briefly describe or introduce the illustration, painting, etc. Acceptable file types include: .csv, .doc, .docx, .odt, .pdf, .rtf, .txt, .wpd, .wpf, .gif, .jpg, .png, .svg, and .tif.
If you have questions about how or if your piece fits into our guidelines and answers the contest question, please view our “frequently asked questions” section below or contact us via email at email@example.com.
Before submitting to LIGHT, you will be asked to acknowledge and agree to the following:
Confidentiality Kindly note the privacy of individuals should be protected. Public health practitioners who write about individuals and communities should alter identifying details and characteristics.
The deadline for all submissions in each category is Monday, May 1, 2023, by 11:59pm CST. All submissions should follow LIGHT guidelines.
Open call launch: February 1, 2023
Open call deadline: May 1, 2023
Review and judging: May 2023
Finalist notifications by: early June 2023
Journal production begins: July 2023
Expected journal release: Early 2024
hooks, bell (2005). Sisters of the yam: Black women and self-recovery. Cambridge: South End Press.