city of san diego

City Helping Mental Health During Pandemic Through Poetry

The city of San Diego has designed a creative program to help people cope with the pandemic through writing poems.

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With so many people dealing with stress and anxiety about the coronavirus pandemic, many are looking for ways to deal with their feelings.

The city of San Diego has designed a creative program to help people cope with the pandemic through writing poems.

It's called the "San Diego Poetry Together Challenge." The city's poet laureate, Ron Salisbury, picks a theme every two weeks and people from across the city and county submit poems about that specific topic.

Three poems are then chosen and posted on the city's website. The challenge is a way to help people express their feelings about the pandemic.

“It’s that kind of chance for the people to have a voice to express themselves that they may not be able to do as they’re isolated as many of us are,” Salisbury said.

For the first round of the challenge, San Diegans submitted 90 poems about dreams during these days of seclusion. Salisbury picked his top three choices and they were posted on the city's website Sunday.

Psychologists tell NBC 7 there are different ways to deal with pandemic worries.

Looking out a window, going for walks on the beach and talking with loved ones can all help people cope. Creative writing and journaling are also good ways to express and understand our feelings.

“I think often in creating art we access a level of compassion, we access a level of perspective of what others are experiencing but also what we're experiencing that helps us navigate these really difficult times," said Jason Cencirulo, A San Diego-based psychologist.

The new, current prompt announced Sunday is “How has the concept of waiting changed for you?”

Salisbury said he can’t wait to read the next poems from people all over San Diego.

“Keep writing, it is a tremendous opportunity for us to read your poems and it’s a tremendous opportunity for the poets and writers of San Diego to express themselves,” Salisbury told NBC 7.

If you would like more information on how to submit poems and the dates for entering your work into the challenge, click here.

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