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Andrew Solomon Supports Teen Writing Contest About Mental Health Issues

Eleven internationally published authors will be donating an autographed copy of their book as part of the winning prize packages for finalists of the “March Madness” writing contest dealing with mental health issues.

As an online writing community and educational resource,’s mission is to change the world through storytelling, and its award-winning, blogging platform welcomes close to a million teens, college students, teachers, and parents each year who come to the site to read and share their personal, real-life stories.

The site often collaborates with authors based on the topics of its writing prompts.

“We are overwhelmed at the support by the professional writing community as they donate autographed copies of their books for this month’s writing contest on mental illness and health,” said Rebecca Thiegs, Stage of Life’s Vice-President of Education.

Participating authors who are donating a signed copy of their book on mental health as a prize to the winning “March Madness” contest finalists include:

  • Susannah Cahalan – Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness (Simon & Schuster)
  • Marya Hornbacher – Madness: A Bipolar Life (Mariner Books)
  • Randye Kaye – Ben Behind His Voices: One Family’s Journey from the Chaos of Schizophrenia to Hope (Rowman and Littlefield Publishers)
  • Melody Moezzi – Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life (Avery Trade)
  • Stacy Pershall – Loud in the House of Myself (W.W. Norton & Company)
  • Elyn Saks – The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness (Hyperion)
  • Lizabeth D. Schuch – More Than Bipolar: A Memoir of Acceptance and Hope (iUniverse)
  • Karen Winters Schwartz – Where Are the Cocoa Puffs? A Family’s Journey through Bipolar Disorder and Reis’s Pieces – Love, Loss, and Schizophrenia (Goodman Beck Publishing)
  • Andrew Solomon – The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression (Scribner)
  • Pamela Spiro Wagner – Divided Minds: Twin Sisters and Their Journey Through Schizophrenia (St. Martin’s Griffin)
  • Fletcher Wortmann – Triggered: A Memoir of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (Thomas Dunne Books)

When asked about her participation with the Stage of Life writing contest, author Stacy Pershall said, “Every time you come out to one person as having a mental health disorder, you change the world. Eliminating stigma happens one person at a time. Just giving someone the vocabulary to address what’s happening to them — for example anorexia, bulimia, self-harm — is a powerful thing…Before I got the right treatment, I was certain I’d die by suicide; it was just a matter of time. Now it’s not all about me. I have to stay alive so I can keep other people alive. Killing myself has ceased to be an option.”

Thiegs added that “People don’t talk about mental health issues or mental illness because of the shame and brokenness surrounding the topic, so this month, while much of the world watches the March Madness college basketball tournament, we want to encourage people to think, write and share a story surrounding the topic of mental health and mental illness.”

Alongside its “March Madness” writing contest, features educational videos, recommended TED talks, resource reading on mental illness, and a Twitter contest awareness component.

Melody Moezzi, author of Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life, told that, “Sharing our stories as people living with mental illness is by far the most powerful way to fight stigma and discrimination. It’s our best weapon against the insidious culture of shame and silence that surrounds mental illness today.”

The essay contest is open to anyone aged 13 years and older. Stories must be original, non-fiction, and 500 words or less. There is no entry fee and submissions are due March 31, 2014 by midnight Pacific Time US.

In addition to receiving a signed book, the 1st Place student writer will also receive gift cards from literacy sponsors IHOP and Papa John’s while the 1st Place adult writer will receive gift cards from Applebee’s and SpaWeek.

Finalists and Winners will be posted on the essay winner’s page and Teen Trend Report after April 20th, 2014.

To get details and submit a story to the March Madness writing contest, visit