Personal Story Submission Guidelines
- A ‘personal story’ is defined as your story of being in relationship to psychiatry and/or the mental health system, whatever that means to you. It might involve your opinions and analysis of what happened to you, as well. It can be about a specific event, or about your overall journey, provided it fits the length requirements (see below) and has a narrative arc. The piece should be about your personal story, not psychiatry or the mental health system in general. Submissions should fall under the theme of rethinking psychiatry and the mental health system.
- Please allow up to 3-4 weeks for your story to be read and responded to. If your submission is time-sensitive, please note this in your email and it will be responded to in a more immediate manner.
- Not all personal stories are accepted for publication at Mad in America. Reasons for this might include the quality of writing, or that the story doesn’t ask us, in some way, to rethink mental health care. We are looking for stories that are clearly told, insightful, and in one way or another, speak to this theme of the societal need to rethink psychiatry and the mental health system.
- If your story is accepted for publication, editor Emmeline Mead will work with you to make the piece ready for the front page. This might include suggested edits, changes, deletions, or additions, and will happen in collaboration with you.
- Personal stories are one-time submissions. If after a first story has run, you want to submit a second one, please let us know. We will archive your story under our ‘Personal Stories’ section.
- We allow for the use of an anonymous post or first name and last initial in cases where a person’s immediate livelihood is at stake. This might include: the loss of job, loss of custody, forced drugging, etc. We acknowledge that “coming out” with one’s story always risks stigma and discrimination, but this in and of itself does not justify a pseudonym status. Please inform Emmeline Mead upon submission of your story whether this is something you are seeking, or are unsure about, providing an explanation that can be used as an editor’s note with the piece. We of course prefer that people use their full names, with their pictures. This provides such stories with a greater power and authenticity. But we also understand why some people feel the need to remain anonymous in certain circumstances.
- Once published, stories will not be removed from the archives for any reason. Please consider carefully whether you are ready for your personal story to be published online, before you submit it.
Instructions for Submission
- When you submit your story to Emmeline Mead, please ensure you have edited it to the best of your abilities grammatically and structurally. It is highly encouraged that you have friends/family/others read your piece and offer suggested feedback for you to incorporate prior to submitting your story to MIA. It will be assumed that your submission to MIA is a final draft, and that no further changes will be made on your part once you’ve emailed it.
- Please submit in a Microsoft Word or Open Office document, font Times New Roman, size 12, and include a title.
- Average story length is between 1500 and 2500 words. Stories can be longer, but it is suggested that they stay under 2500 words.
- If there are any photographs to include with the piece, please attach them as JPGs and denote exactly where in the piece they should go.
Upon Acceptance for Publication
- If your piece is accepted for publication, you will be notified within 3-4 weeks of submission.
- Once you and Emmeline Mead have finalized edits and changes, an author username will be created by Emmeline (or your current MIA username will be modified to ‘contributor’ status) so that you can respond as an author to any comments your piece receives.
- You will be asked to send a profile picture and brief biography (up to one paragraph in length) to go with your piece.