Carol raising awareness of suicide with ‘More Tea’

New collection: Carol E Kelly.
New collection: Carol E Kelly.

An award-winning Portstewart poet is to donate the proceeds of her latest collection to raising awareness of suicide.

Mental health campaigner, Carol E Kelly’s ‘More Tea’ mixes humour with more serious musings on society, forgiveness, life and death.

Carol is keen to break the societal taboo surrounding suicide and people struggling with mental health problems.

“I can’t say any [of the poems] are on the very subject of suicide because I have never tried it myself,” says Carol, who suffers from bipolar disorder and catatonic schizophrenia which prevented her from speaking for an entire year.

“Yet in the consciousness of the general population, I have found you can’t mention the word but everyone takes a downer. But being outspoken I don’t mind saying the word suicide if this raises awareness and stops it happening.

“The reasons that statistics on suicide are skewed is because suicide is often represented as death by misadventure.

“This does not help and should we not call a spade a spade and stop sweeping these deaths under the carpet? When we are brave enough to do this, then we might find exactly how much is going on.

“Leaders are given five years to govern, yet we need a longer term plan to tackle issues like suicide.”

Carol is grateful to the business community for supporting her latest book which will contain 24 new poems.

“Creativity thrives in times of austerity, thus leaving me with too many poems - and not enough money,” she quips.

Carol has won many accolades over recent years, including two prestigious Arts Council awards which enabled her to travel to North Island in New Zealand, where she met the Governor General and to the Workman Theatre Camp in Toronto, Canada.

Two years ago she picked up the Joint Artistic Film Award at the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival for Patrick Trolan’s film Considering Carol and has also performed on the Royal Mile at the Edinburgh Festival.

Carol plans to read some of her new poems at Portstewart Library in the New Year.