UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. (WJMN) – Submissions for the West End Suicide Prevention’s third annual LIVE Art & Word Contest is coming to a close.

The LIVE Art & Word Contest is open to high school students across the U.P., to discuss the topic of mental health in different creative ways. Its mission is to engage other students, encourage positive mental health and break the stigma surrounding mental health issues by giving others the opportunity to showcase their talents.

“This contest is open to all high schoolers across the Upper Peninsula, and it’s under the theme of mental health: what impacts you, what it means to you,” said Katie Calkins, Northern Michigan University student intern at Great Lakes Recovery Centers. “Students can submit art under three categories, we have visual art, written word, and song/dance/theater. Really the purpose of this contest is to just open that conversation around mental health and kind of ending the stigma around it.”

Students may submit poetry, paintings, photography, song, graphic arts, dance, quilting, or any other art form that addresses the theme of Mental Health Awareness. New this year, students will have the opportunity to display their entries at Peter White Public Library. The display will last throughout the month of May in 2023, which is also Mental Health Awareness Month.

“So far, we have just over 20 entries this year,” said Amy Poirier, West End Suicide Prevention Facilitator. “Once again, we are seeing the talent of our youth shine through in their work. There is a lot of diversity in the entries this year reaching out to many specific aspects in mental health.” Poirier also noted that the majority of the entries are in the visual art category and asks that students continue to send in their visual art entries, but also encourages entries in the written word and song/dance/theater categories.

The grand prize for this year’s contest is $500, with six additional cash prizes including first and second place prizes in each of the categories. Submissions are due by February 15. If you have experience in the three categories, email wesp@greatlakesrecovery.org for the opportunity to be a judge on the expert panel. For more information, please click here.