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Mental Health Poems that are Powerful and Healing

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To set some inspiration in motion, we’ve pulled together some of the famous mental health poems that serve as a gentle reminder to spread awareness, show love, and above all—remind us that we are not alone.

Healing Positive Mental Health Poems

The topics of mental health and mental illness are frequently addressed in the work of poets and artists because they have personally dealt with it and sought a way to make sense of it. Each of us has unique ways of thinking through and handling challenging situations, and for creative people, this frequently entails placing words, shapes, music, or color on paper. Here, we focus exclusively on poems for mental health.

The poems on mental health we’ve chosen were picked because they share a prominent lesson that all of us can take away. First, realizing that the challenges of mental illness can triumph over feelings of hopelessness. That the strength of the community and our resiliency can overcome feelings of depression or grief. We hope you take as much pleasure in these short poems about mental health as we do.

Uplifting Mental Health Awareness Poems

Finding out you have a mental condition can be quite destructive to your psyche. Most people struggle arduously to seek therapy and educate themselves about their conditions when presented with this problem. Nevertheless, it can be incredibly difficult to maintain a cheerful mindset and good communication with your loved ones when overwhelmed with negative emotions.

Despite your best efforts, you could occasionally experience intense sadness and frustration due to your condition. Such emotions can be shared and expressed versus being suppressed in secret and shame. Expressing feelings in writing or reading powerful mental health poems that rhyme or express how you feel can be uplifting and even healing. Of course, speaking and getting support from a close friend and family might help you live better with your mental illness and even thrive.

Top 10 Poems About Mental Health Worth Reading

It is alright to admit that you have some down days where you don’t quite feel yourself. Depression recovery poems may comfort you in trying times:

1. “Ode on Melancholy” by John Keats 

One of the most well-known poems ever written, “Ode on Melancholy,” by one of the greatest poets of all time, John Keats, was released in 1819. Depression and melancholy often come in waves, with varying degrees of severity. As a result, you should prepare what to do if depression strikes. Here is a stanza from his piece:

"She dwells with Beauty—Beauty that must die;
       And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips
Bidding adieu; and aching Pleasure nigh,
       Turning to poison while the bee-mouth sips:
Ay, in the very temple of Delight
       Veil'd Melancholy has her sovran shrine,
              Though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue
Can burst Joy's grape against his palate fine;
       His soul shalt taste the sadness of her might,
              And be among her cloudy trophies hung."

Even though it may be easy to give up when sadness sets in, you must maintain your strength, think back on the things that used to make you happy, and find the good in every situation. Finally, by extending your hand, remember to ask for assistance when needed.

Mental Health Poems

2. “Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver

This poem is great for those who are depressed because it encourages them to make an effort to interact with those around them. This entails both internal and external reflection. Try to maintain relationships with friends, family, and the natural world. The poem conjures up a striking image of geese flying. The reader should see themselves as one of the poem’s birds, overcoming feelings of melancholy, loneliness, and despair. People can use this poetry to change their perspective and overcome their depressive feelings.

Here is a stanza from this popular poem about mental health and depression:

"Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again."

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Inspiration Mental Health Poems Can Help Combat Growing Mental Health Crisis in America

Mental health poems can teach us about mental health and recovery. Poetry’s ability to furnish comfort and boost one’s spirit during a crisis or periods of stress, trauma, sadness, and grief may have a lot to do with framing and perspective. When people read and listen to motivational mental health poetry, MRIs have shown that certain regions in the brain’s right hemisphere that are linked to reward and emotion light up from being triggered through poetry.

The below mental health statistics clearly demonstrate the importance of powerful positive healing mental health poems.

1 in 5 Americans will experience a mental illness in a given year.

Source: WHO

1 in 25 Americans lives with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression.

Source: NCBI

More than 50% will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime.

Source: CDC

Poems About Mental Health Recovery

This poem on mental health by Walter D. Wintle is about ‘the man who thinks he can,’ which espouses a ‘positive mental attitude to life. It’s become an influential motivational poem beloved by self-help gurus and businesspeople.

3. “Thinking” by Walter D. Wintle

Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man;
But sooner or later the person who wins
Is the one who thinks he can!

4. “Sonnet 29” by William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare is one of the most well-known playwrights of all time, and many of his works are poetry. It should therefore come as no surprise that he published many exquisite poems. Even though Sonnet 29 isn’t as well known as some others, it’s a great poem for anyone dealing with despair.

Here is a quote from the sonnet:

"When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s and that man’s,
With what I most enjoy contented least"
Mental Health Poems
While different things work for other people, words can have a profound effect when you’re having a difficult time.

We all experience challenging periods, and the narrator is presently experiencing one. It can be tempting to wonder why something happened or to believe that things cannot possibly get any worse, but it is crucial to concentrate on how things can improve. Then, when we think things will get better, we’ll work to make that happen. This is a great spot for everyone to start because the poem’s narrator expresses how thinking about his girlfriend makes him feel better immediately.

Ryan Zofay forming a circle and hugging friends.

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Anxiety Mental Health Poems

Poetry is art, and poets do have the ability to help us understand our inner workings. There are many ways in which mental health poems can help us to achieve, or move towards, good mental health. If you are concerned about your mental health, We Level Up FL encourages you to seek advice and support from a mental health professional immediately.

5. “Aubade” by Philip Larkin

People with depression frequently have trouble falling asleep at night and have anxieties. The ideal way to explore this subject is through the poem “Aubade.” Some persons who experience depression wake up at four in the morning with hopelessness.

Here is a selection from the poem’s mental health message about depression turning into light:

"I work all day, and get half-drunk at night.
Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.
In time the curtain-edges will grow light.
Till then I see what’s that’s always there"

It’s crucial to understand that the poem can also be comforting. Even if it can be difficult to stay awake at four in the morning, you can use those frightful emotions to produce art. That is what makes this poem so great for people who are dealing with depression.

Strength Positive Mental Health Poems

Poets frequently turned to the written word to express some of life’s most difficult events and emotions, providing readers with a setting in which they might feel understood.

Here is another lovely poem by Mary Oliver, “Don’t Hesitate,” which is ideal for anyone who has previously struggled with sadness or anxiety. Sadly, many individuals cannot enjoy a pleasant moment because they believe it will pass quickly. Many people also have a history of trauma, which could make it hard for them to accept that the happiness they experience is genuine. This poem’s mental health exhorts readers to get their joyous emotions rather than deny them.

Mental Health Poems
It’s normal to feel a little flat sometimes, but it’s important to keep in tune with your mental health and do what feels right.

6. “Don’t Hesitate” by Mary Oliver

Here is a stanza from the famous poem:

"If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy,
don’t taste. Give in to it. There are plenty
of lives and whole towns destroyed or about
to be. We are not wise, and not very often
kind. And much can never be redeemed.
Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this
is its way of fighting back, that sometimes
something happens better than all the riches
or power in the world."

People sometimes find it difficult to experience unrestrained delight, especially if they are worried that something will take their joy away. The poem acknowledges this is a possibility, but it also encourages readers to enjoy every moment of bliss they are experiencing. No matter how small, it is still worth taking pleasure in.

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Inspirational Mental Health Poems

Emily Dickinson is one of the most celebrated female authors of all time, and her works are famous poems about mental health and are easy for people to relate to. She was particularly well known for writing about depression, and “It Was Not Death, for I Stood Up” is one of Emily Dickinson’s mental health poems.

7.  “It Was Not Death, for I Stood Up” by Emily Dickinson

One stanza from the poem is as follows:

"When everything that ticked – has stopped –
And space stares – all around –
Or Grisly frosts – first Autumn morns,
Repeal the Beating Ground –
But most, like Chaos – Stopless – cool –
Without a Chance, or spar –
Or even a Report of Land –
To justify – Despair."

The poem beautifully captures the experience of sorrow. Although the poetry is dominated by depression, she also expresses emotions of hope. She asserts that despite the difficulty in overcoming them, despair and depression are not the same as death. Instead, even when the world has lost all color, it is crucial to rise up and fight. This poem inspires people to hold onto hope and keep going even when they don’t see any good reason to.

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Poem Books About Mental Health

8. ”Neurasthenia” by A. Mary F. Robinson

"I watch the happier people of the house
Come in and out, and talk, and go their ways;
I sit and gaze at them; I cannot rouse
My heavy mind to share their busy days …"

Unfortunately, A. Mary F. Robinson’s poetry books aren’t read more often these days, as seen by this lovely sonnet about neurasthenia. Neurasthenia is an ill-defined medical condition characterized by lassitude, fatigue, headache, and irritability, associated chiefly with emotional disturbance. Although the title indicates that it is about neurasthenia, Robinson’s depiction of feeling isolated from the outside world due to a psychological and neurological condition echoes many depressed people’s experiences of their worst moments.

9. “Wanting To Die” by Anne Sexton

Probably everybody who has ever experienced depression can relate to this poetry. This poem, “Wanting to Die,” is about a person who is having suicidal thoughts. It discusses how it might be challenging for others to understand individuals who deal with suicidal thoughts. The poem ends by describing death, practically waiting for the narrator.

Here is a selection from the poem:

"Even then I have nothing against life.
I know well the grass blades you mention,
the furniture you have placed under the sun.
But suicides have a special language.
Like carpenters they want to know which tools.
They never ask why build.
Twice I have so simply declared myself,
have possessed the enemy, eaten the enemy,
have taken on his craft, his magic."

Individuals must realize they don’t have to face suicidal thoughts alone if they do occur to them. Even though the poem is about a narrator who struggles with loneliness, it also discusses the things the narrator would leave behind if he or she took their own life. People who deal with mental health concerns must remember that someone cares about them and that all they have to do to ask for assistance is reach out.

Mental Health Poems
Some mental health poems can get you through some of those low moments.

10. “The Soote Season” by Henry Howard

Although the exact date this column was written is unknown, Henry Howard’s poem “The Soote Season” is ideal for those who experience seasonal depression. This indicates that when the sun is not shining as much, many people experience depression.

”Here is a selection from the poem:

"Winter is worn that was the flowers’
And thus I see among these pleasant things
Each care decays, and yet my sorrow springs."

Even if dealing with seasonal affective depression might be difficult for some people, the best way to manage it is to concentrate on the positive aspects of each season. In this manner, no matter the season, individuals can always find something to make them happy.

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Mental Health Recovery Center

Sometimes, the right words can supply us with the inspiration and strength we desperately need. And let’s be honest, inspiration and strength are two vital ingredients for anyone considering mental health recovery. As humans, when things get tough, we tend to fall back into our old (unhealthy) patterns. We desperately need support and encouragement to overcome anxieties, which takes a lot of hard work and personal dedication. When we read a powerful poem about mental health, it makes sense to us. The words resonate with us internally and have a positive impact; they give us the push we need to become our best selves.

Several treatment options can also effectively treat mental health conditions. Encourage your friend or loved one to talk to their doctor or a treatment counselor about using mental health treatment programs or support groups as part of their recovery. If you’re sick and tired of contemplating mental health recovery, look at these mental health poems. They might inspire you to take the first step toward the rest of your life.

Globally, more than 70% of people with mental illness receive no treatment from healthcare staff. If you or someone you know has a mental health problem, there are ways to get help. Studies show that most people with mental health problems get better, and many recover completely.

Remember, there is nothing shameful about seeking help. Initially, you may feel vulnerable and unsure, but asking for help is essential. Good mental health treatment will set you on a path of recovery that enables you to enjoy your life truly.

Self-expression and creativity through mental health poems can support us when it comes to processing and coping with mental health problems, but sometimes we all need a helping hand. If you’re looking for support, find a therapist near you. Contact We Level Up FL today for confidential treatment resources. Your call is private, and there’s no obligation.

Mental Health Poems
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Sources:

Munir S, Abbas M. Seasonal Depressive Disorder. [Updated 2022 Mar 26]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK568745/

Henderson C, Evans-Lacko S, Thornicroft G. Mental illness stigma, help-seeking, and public health programs. Am J Public Health. 2013 May;103(5):777-80. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.301056. Epub 2013 Mar 14. PMID: 23488489; PMCID: PMC3698814.