Update 3 Nov: Announcements and Reflections

Posted: November 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

Greetings everyone,

We are now just under two weeks away from the closing date.  Submissions are coming in, but we always have room for more, so if you’re on the fence, do submit. Entry is free, there is no catch, and your work is looked at by published writers both on entry and shortlist.


I’m also very pleased to announce that tomorrow I will be putting up an article by a very experienced psychiatrist, Professor Patricia Casey, who heard of the Walking on Thin Ice campaign and of her own volition very kindly offered to help in any way she could.  I asked her could she write an article for the site and her piece on Stigma and the use of Language” will appear tomorrow. It’s a great article because it highlights a problem and proposes a solution – one we can all utilise to stigmatise less. Because stigma is something everyone can choose to do, or not to do. It is in our power.


I would also like to reflect a little on the person whose life and actions inspired this campaign and this contest.

Kate Fitzgerald (1986-2011) was an extraordinary young woman who left us too soon. In spite of her youth, she chaired Democrats Ireland and during her studies involved herself in advocacy and debating. This did not change when she entered the working world. Problems reconciling her own depressive spells to the perceived expectations of her workplace led her to write a powerful article that will stand the test of time – “Employers failing people with mental health issues”. It was her last testimony; shortly afterwards she was found dead at her home. An inquest has determined the cause of death to be suicide.

As many here know, there was fallout. I am reluctant to discuss the events at this current date – incredibly, in Ireland, I face incurring legal penalties for doing so – and therefore I shall pass over the unedifying, unbecoming and chilling behaviour of a certain company, and a certain paper in response, as well as the nexus of power that has facilitated it all. A quick google search will provide the information needed.

Today I want to concentrate on the final section of Kate Fitzgerald’s article, which very tellingly points out that inflicting stigma on those who struggle with depression is precisely what has us in the mess we’re in at the moment. We have already placed too much power in the hands of the stigmatisers and mediocrities:

Every day a company loses a valuable employee and every day a family loses one they love. At a time when small, medium and large companies rely on dedicated staff for the vision and drive to pull them through these challenging times, these are not losses we can afford to take on the chin.

I have founded this short story competition as a direct response to the events surrounding the loss of Kate Fitzgerald, and the assaults to her legacy. I’m only one person and I can’t do much, not even thank her for her work, but since she valued writing and I’m a writer, I can do this one thing. For her, and in her honour, and in honour of everyone who lives with depression and shines through.



  1. Thanks for telling us about her. When is the deadline for submission?

  2. No problem! And if you know anyone else who’s interested, please blog, fb, tweet or even speak the word 🙂

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