The WE RISE 2019 Poetry Contest was a great success, receiving over 300 entries and ending with a live reading at the We Rise event before a packed audience of poetry lovers from all over LA County. Thank you to everyone who participated!


The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health put out a call for poets of all ages to submit original works addressing mental health and wellbeing as experienced by the writer, someone they know or any related topic. In partnership with Get Lit Words Ignite, entries were judged on poetic merit including evaluations of the poem’s message, art and craft.

Five poems from each age category (youth up to 14; young adults 15-24; adults over 25) were chosen and recognized at a reception during We Rise in the DTLA Arts District. Some authors read their own poems while others chose to have their winning entries read aloud by a poet from Get Lit.

Thank you to everyone who participated! It was a moving and inspiring evening and we hope to make the We Rise Poetry Contest an annual event.

Adult Winners:

DhR, Childlike
Jeff DeGuia, Free Fall
#markdavidlogan #hardpilltoswallowmymanicmemoir, The Mental Health System
Crystal Lecocq, Default Universe

Young Adult Winners:

Estephanie Aparacio, Decorated Wrist
Chelsea Jaimes, A Perfect Place for my Past Self
Anonymous, Blood
Patricia McNeal, A Thousand Mirrors
Katie Pham, It’s Not Me, It’s You: A Breakup Letter to Depression

Youth Winners:

Katija Baric, Think Hope
Cindy Munoz Lorenzo, Not Many
Alex Kuang, Seasonal Weather
Jeremiah De La Luz, Eraser
Miki Lam, Roses

Special Honor Given:

Austin Losorelli (August 27, 1990 – September 30, 2013), I Can’t Sleep So Fall Awake For Me