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Welcome to H.O.P.E. (Healing through Our Personal Expressions)! I decided to begin this zine in order to offer consumers a place to express themselves. It is said that healing often comes from self expression, no matter what the form. In some case, people feel better after journaling their thoughts and experiences. For others, writing a poem or painting are ways to help on the path to recovery. "It is a well known fact that writing has a positive effect on an individuals sense of well being," mental health advocate Heather Blakey wrote in her essays about the therapeutic value of writing and art.

It is my hope that HOPE serves as a place for everyone touched by mental illness, whether they are suffering from the disease or know someone who is, to express themselves. Submissions don’t need to be on the topic of mental illness, but certainly can be. In fact, any type of submissions are encouraged – from feedback, to book reviews, movie critiques, original artwork or graphic design to writings on any topic you feel compelled to write about.

In HOPE you will find stories of people as they work through their own path to recovery. Quotes from those touched by mental illness, links to resources in the community, community events, articles on national and international mental health movements, and much more will be found here. Because this is an outlet of free expression, Monadnock Family Services is not responsible for the opinions and messages represented here.

I’d love to hear from you all! Please feel free to submit to HOPE at any time. Your submissions can be anonymous our can include your name – that is totally up to you. In the near future, I will be starting a writing group for writers to support one another in their work. This writing group will include all types of writers – from beginners and journal writers to the aspiring novelist. If you are interested joining this group, please contact me at egeorge@mfs.org or call (603) 283-1658.

If you know of anyone who writes, draws, paints, or has something else to offer to HOPE, please let me know. I am more than happy to interview them to write a story abut them if they would prefer to do it that way. It is only in sharing our stories and experiences that we can help fight in the stigma against mental illness. I “hope” you will join me.

-Erin George
Community Education and Information Manager
Monadnock Family Services

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