Poems for World Mental Health Day

October 10th is World Mental Health Day, a day for “raising awareness of mental health issues and mobilising efforts in support of better mental health”. The day provides an opportunity for people to talk openly about their mental wellbeing, for professionals working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and to raise debate on what needs to be done “to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide”.

Here at Lagan Online, we believe that not only is poetry an incredible effective way to explore and relate your own feelings and state of mind, but that it can support and boost wellbeing. Poetry allows us to empathise, to recognise our own universal experiences in someone else’s personal story. We can find comfort and joy in poetry, like other great writing, and use another person’s words to help build up our own resilience.

Below, we share some of our own personal favourites to help boost our mood and find inspiration, as well as poems suggested by our followers via social media. We hope you too find some inspiration in the poems and feel free to share your own personal choices in the comments field below also.


Rudyard Kipling – If (suggested by Siobhan McCafferty)

“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too”

Coleman Barks – Glad

Good losers don’t laugh last; they laugh
continuously, all the way home so glad.

Carolyn Jess-Cooke – Rising

e.e cummings – [i carry your heart with me(i carry it in] (suggested by Órla Fay)

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)

Jack Gilbert – Failing and Flying (suggested by Geraldine O’Kane)

I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,
but just coming to the end of his triumph.

John Greenleaf Whittier – Don’t Quit (suggested by Orla McGrady)

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow—
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt

Ijeoma Umebinyuo – be gentle with yourself

Derek Mahon – Everything Is Going To Be All Right

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