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News : Local Apr 8, 2013 - 9:27:47 AM

Fairfield County essay contest launched


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National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Fairfield is accepting entries from area residents from 3rd grade through adulthood for the “Mental Illness: Through My Eyes” Essay Contest. The deadline for entries is May 15, 2013.

Mental illness affects one in four people, but many are uncomfortable talking about it due to stigma and shame. This year’s theme “Through My Eyes” encourages writers to share their individual feelings and experiences about how mental illness has affected them or touched their life. It offers an opportunity to raise understanding, nurture compassion, inspire change and end the stigma that often surrounds mental illness.

“This contest provides Fairfield-area residents with an opportunity to express themselves in a creative way, while helping to combat the stigma associated with mental illness,” said Judy Gardner, President of NAMI Fairfield.

“We are hoping to provide community members an opportunity to share their personal insights and experiences, and also promote conversation and education by raising awareness of a complex, sometimes painful topic,” said Cathy Hamill, a NAMI Fairfield Board Member and teacher in Fairfield, CT.

The contest is part of NAMI Fairfield’s effort to promote messages of hope and support, encourage positive beliefs and attitudes about living with mental illness, and dispel myths and stereotypes that cause stigma. It is open to residents of Fairfield, Westport, Norwalk, Wilton, Weston, Easton, Bridgeport, Stratford, Trumbull and Newtown. Prizes will be awarded in four categories: 3-5th grade, 6-8th grade, 9-12th grade and adult. A panel of NAMI Fairfield Board Members and community representatives will choose the winners. Essays will be judged on the ability to motivate action or inspire change, creativity and originality, and writing quality. Winning essays will be recognized at a ceremony on June 5, 2013. For more information and the complete list of Rules and Regulations, please visit the essay contest website at

For more information on NAMI Fairfield’s mental health efforts and supportive services, please visit

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