Mad Poetry publication in the wings…

The Mad Poets Society is excited to be producing it’s first wee publication of people’s writing!

The book which will feature songs, poems, short stories, flash fiction or any other contributions people send in is set for publication in March 2016.

We would love to be able to publish as many peoples work as possible, so would love to receive any submissions you’d like to make.

Like the Mad Poetry open mic nights and workshops, the publication will be welcoming of all writing and especially open to people whose work deals with the themes of mental illness, wellness and recovery. We are happy to publish your work under your name, a pseudonym or anonymously.

To find out more or to make a submission, contact Kelly at or 366 8288


February Mad Poetry Night!

Mad Poetry is back 🙂

We will be running a February open mic night, whether we continue for the year will depend on our fundraising efforts, but this month is definitely a go-ahead so please spread the news and come along.

 7pm Friday 19th February

Beat St Café, 324 Barbados Street (on the Armagh St corner)


If you haven’t come along before, Mad Poetry nights are an awesome supportive space to hear and share writing including that which deals with themes of illness, wellness and recovery. Free event, koha always appreciated, open to everyone so come along and bring friends or family.  Please feel free to forward this email or the poster attached on to others who might be interested  J


Help Support Mad Poetry

Awareness is currently fundraising to keep the Mad Poets Society open mic nights happening in 2016. Check out our fundraising page here or get in touch to support  :)

Speak your truth…

After holding a year of Open Mic Nights in 2015, building an amazing community of people, hearing so much brave and inspiration writing, and having a chance to connect and hang out, we want to keep Mad Poets Society events happening, but need support to make it happen and anything you can contribute would be much appreciated!!!

We’re fundraising to hold another ten, monthly open mic nights over 2016 (with a break in January and December for Christmas) because those who have come along previously have found them invaluable, socially, creatively and mental health wise.

These open mic nights differ from other poetry events in one important way…

The “Mad Poets Society” is a project by Awareness: Canterbury Action on Mental Health and Addictions.  Awareness is a mental health and addictions consumer network, meaning everyone involved in organising these events have personal experience of distress and can be understanding and supportive of others. The poetry nights are a safe and supportive environment for people to have a go at reading or performing some of their writing. Mad Poetry nights are open to anyone to attend and read at, but we are especially keen to make these spaces open to others with lived experience, or people whose writing deals with the themes of distress, recovery and/or resilience.

And people have really responded to what we’re about…

“Thanks again for another wonderful, uplifting and warm event. I love the laughter, love and solidarity.      Today’s been a challenging day so it’s a fab way to end it, on a positive note”

If we reach our goal, we will be able to cover costs associated with venue hire, entertainment, and coordination by our awesome team of volunteer organisers. If we raise more than our goal, any additional funding will help support the poetry nights beyond 2016 and allow us to run more “writers workshops” to help people develop their writing.

Want to help us keep Mad Poetry happening…

Pledge anything you’re able to contribute – all donations are very much appreciated, and enjoy receiving some awesome rewards to recognise your contribution. We’d also love your help with spreading the word so please share our fundraising page far and wide and help make Mad Poetry 2016 a reality.


First Meeting for 2016

Welcome back to 2016!

Our first meeting for the year is set for Monday 1st February from 12.30pm – If you would like to come along please do so! For more information send us an email or call 366 8288.

On the agenda this month:

Child Custody Research Project: Anne is giving an update about the research project now that phase one is finishing and we have heard back about funding and approval for phase two

Discussion: Ali and Julie will be talking about the Safe Haven Café recently set up as a crisis peer support space in Aldershot in England. The benefits have been huge with 33% decrease in A&E visits for mental health issues during café opening hours. Could something similar be done in Christchurch? How could Awareness support this?

Mad Poets Society: Kelly and Wendy will feedback on the final writers workshops and open mic night for the year, update on the future of the project, and announce of our new fundraising efforts to make it happen

Meeting with Toni Gutschlag: Wendy and Beth met with Toni last year and will share what was discussed, we have another meeting coming up in February and would love questions, topics and feedback to bring

Pharmaceutical meeting: Darryn is attending a meeting about pharmaceuticals and would like to take people’s feedback around issues and experiences with medications

Forums and Meetings topics: We have four forums and 10 more meetings this year, what kinds of presentations, discussions and topics would you like to see covered this year?

 Hope to see you there!

Mad Poetry Encore event

To celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week and it’s theme of “giving”, the Mad Poets’ Society is holding an extra special, additional poetry event for October.

Based in North Christchurch near Nunweek Park, we’ll be a bit more accessible for some of our poetry friends in Belfast and North Canterbury, but still easy to get to. We’ll also be checking out a new venue, enjoying the afternoon sun (hopefully it’s warming up a bit) and enjoying each others company. 

Sunday 11th October

1.30pm to 4.00pm

Ray K’s Café Nunweek Park, 240 wooldridge road, harewood

Join on Facebook here

Looking forward to seeing you there 🙂

Writers Workshop

Awareness is happy to be holding another Mad Poets Society free writers workshop!

Anyone who has personal lived experience of mental health or addiction challenges is welcome to attend – we provide all equipment, so just bring yourself along 🙂


Our upcoming workshop will be taking place over two days

Time: from 10.30am till 1.00pm

Date: Saturday 3rd October and Saturday 10th October

Venue: will be confirmed with those who register


The topic for this month is Writing and Editing Poetry, well-known local poet Joanna Preston will be taking this workshop teaching some writing skills on the first day then discussing and helping people with workshopping their poetry on the second day.


To register or find out more please get in touch with Kelly at or 366 8288 – venue details will be provided to all those who register

Law Forum

Ever wanted to learn more about the laws that have an impact on your life?

Understanding how the law works and what our legal rights are, can help us know what we can expect when dealing with different agencies or situations, and stand up for our rights and needs.

This Awareness forum will be an intro to different areas of law that impact the mental health and addictions community


Come along and hear from advocates and lawyers who are experienced in supporting people with legal issues, and share some afternoon tea and discussion.

All are welcome at this free event – to indicate that you’re coming along please click attending here , or contact us or 366 8288 for more info

Awareness meeting on Monday

Just to let you know that the next meeting of Awareness is this coming Monday, 10th of August from 12.30 to 2.30pm at MHAPS, Mental Health Advocacy and Peer Support, at 826 Colombo Street, on the corner with Peterborough Street

We are having a particularly important meeting this month with Kathy O’Neill from the CDHB coming along to consult with Awareness members about the draft Strategic Disability Action Plan so it would be great to see you there.

There are also a number of exciting announcements and new projects you might want to get involved in – a group of us are putting in an application for the Mental Health Media Grants to turn our Mad Poetry project into a published book – we’re looking for more people who want to help with this.

There’s exciting news from Tai Rawhiti DHB – a commitment has been made that all seclusion rooms in the region will be closed in the coming years, what are the possibilities for us to see the same happen in Canterbury?

Come along and discuss these and other topics

The network meeting will start at 12.30pm, going until 2.00pm, with a chance to stay for afternoon tea and catching up till 2.30pm.Nibbles, tea and coffee will be provided. 

Men’s Health Forum

To celebrate ‘Movember’ we’re holding a Men’s Health forum to create a space for Canterbury men to hear from other guys about looking after our physical and mental health.

On Thursday 27th November, Awareness is holding a Men’s Health Forum, open to all men to attend and have a space to talk with other men about health and wellbeing, and hear from some local speakers who know about men’s health.

Come along for some pizza (our shout) at 5pm, followed by a chance to hear from speakers, and have some discussion. Bring along any questions, or just have a listen – totally up to you.

For more information feel free to get in touch at or call us at 366 8288, or feel free to just come along on the day.

To join or share info about this forum on Facebook – here is our event page

Mad Poets Society – Open Mic night Tomorrow!!

Hi everyone,

We’re holding another MAD Poetry event tomorrow – so come along if you’re free. Friday 21st November 7pm at Serious Sandwich 88 Victoria St. For those on Facebook, come along to our event page  or join our Mad Poets Society group for ongoing updates about events we’re holding in the coming year