A status update regarding submissions:

Dinah Laprairie has moved from her role as editor of OMQ to Executive Director of Northern Initiative for Social Action, which publishes the magazine. Taking over as editor is Sarah Mann.

Due to these staffing changes and increased interest in OMQ, we are facing a considerable submission backlog. We’re working as hard as we can to give every piece that has already been submitted the careful reading it deserves and to select pieces for publication in the upcoming Winter and Spring 2017 issues.

We want to express our thanks to writers and readers for their patience as we work on the backlog. We know you’re excited to submit new work, and we can’t wait to read it, but it’s going to take several weeks – at least – to get through what we already have. Submissions will re-open after that.

For folks who have already submitted, we appreciate the incredible patience you have extended to us. Please rest assured that nobody’s submission has been forgotten or misplaced, and we will look at every one. We are OK with simultaneous submissions, so please don’t hesitate to submit your work to another magazine while you wait and to withdraw it if it gets accepted elsewhere.

Please check back in Feb. 2017 for new information about submissions! -SM

Submission Guidelines


The Writer’s Circle, a program of NISA/Northern Initiative for Social Action, publishes quality, insightful writing. Based on our mandate we accept writing from consumer/survivors who have stories to share and voices to be heard. Consumer/survivors are people who have lived experienced of mental illness or those who have had personal mental health concerns. Submissions are reviewed for publication in Open Minds Quarterly, our international print and digital magazine.


We are seeking submissions that are insightful, intelligent and creative, because we know that’s what mental health consumers are. Our mission is to eliminate stigma by showcasing the work of mental health consumers. Your writing needn’t cover mental health issues if you are submitting poetry or fiction; however, first-person accounts, essays, reviews and open letters should relate to your experience with mental illness.


We welcome submissions from friends and family members of mental health consumers, but these submissions should be related to your experience with mental health issues as the family member or friend.


We accept writing from new writers and seasoned writers in the following categories. If your piece doesn’t fit into one of these categories, please contact the editor before submitting it.

First-Person Accounts • True stories about living with, surviving, or overcoming a mental illness. 1,000-3,000 words. Published in Open Minds’ Face to Face section. Send 1 story per submission.

Essays • New perspectives on living with mental illness. 1,000-3,000 words. Published in Open Minds’ Perspectives section. Send 1 per submission.

Poetry & Short Fiction • Literary explorations of life. Short stories: 1,000-3,000 words. Both published in Open Minds’ Emanations section. Send up to 4 poems and 1 short story per submission.

Book & Movie Reviews • Reviews of books and movies, from the perspective of a mental health consumer/survivor. 350-750 words. Books & movies should be widely available. Published in Open Minds Quarterly. Send up to 2 reviews per submission.

Open Letters • Letters to someone, about an issue that you desperately feel you need to address and relating to mental illness. Should be relatable to the general public. 550 words. Published in the Open Letters section of Open Minds Quarterly. Send up to 2 open letters per submission. For an example of an open letter, read Hannah Baggott’s letter published in our summer 2014 issue here.

Your first time writing?  That’s great!

We want to encourage the development of writers. First-time writers are welcome to submit their work for review. Please carefully review these submission guidelines first, and do call us if you have questions. Please note that due to the volume of submissions, we are unable to offer individualized editorial feedback. If you require assistance, we recommend local writing guilds or online writing support groups. For your first submission of poetry, send no more than 3 pieces of writing; once it has been reviewed, you will have a better idea of what we are looking for and you can submit more at that time.

Considerations Ÿ

While opinions and self-expression are greatly encouraged (after all, the point of Open Minds Quarterly is to hear the voice of the consumer), your submission should be in relatively good taste. Any names you use in true stories and poems should be changed or initialled to ensure privacy of others written about in the content of submissions. Please indicate on your submission that you have indeed changed the names. If you desire anonymity or wish to use a pen name, please note it on your submission as well as in your cover letter.

Review Process Ÿ

Once you submit your work and your submission is verified as complete, it will be forwarded to the appropriate Section Editor for initial review. The editors will review your submission, then make a recommendation to the Editor, who will also review it and contact you to let you know whether we can use your piece. Our Section Editors are volunteers, and the number of submissions is great, so please be patient with us — we want to make sure everyone gets a fair review. To assist us, please be sure to send us the final version of your piece; if you send us more than one version, it will take us much longer to review your work. The typical review takes up to 20 weeks. The editor’s decision is final.


If your submission is chosen for publication, it will appear in Open Minds Quarterly. Publication will take place within a year or two. You will retain your copyright. We cannot yet offer payment for published writing. Authors receive complimentary contributors’ copies of Open Minds Quarterly containing their published work, with many thanks.

Are you ready?

Once you’ve reviewed these submission guidelines, feel free to contact Dinah Laprairie, Editor/Publisher, with any questions. You can reach her at or (705) 222-6472, ext. 303.

What to Send

1. Cover Letter: Your letter should list the names of your submissions.  If this is your first submission, we require a cover letter briefly stating your status as a consumer/survivor, or your status as a family member of a consumer/survivor. Our publication space is limited — we want to ensure the voice of those affected by mental illness is heard.

2. Contact Information:  Your contact name, complete mailing address, phone number and email address for correspondence purposes.

3. Your Submission:  A typed, double-spaced copy of your work, pages numbered, and with margins of at least 1-inch around. If sending by post, please do not send originals. Ensure your name is on each piece you submit. See the guidelines above for suggested number of submissions.


All submissions are subject to editorial correction.
Open Minds Quarterly strongly recommends electronic submissions.



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