A photo competition recognising the role friendship can play in suicide prevention has been launched by social issues campaigners Youmanity.

The charity promotes awareness of social causes through fostering dialogue between different communities and using the arts as a medium.

Youmanity's annual photography award serves as its primary event.

Photographers from all over the world tell important human stories by sending the charity their work.

Youmanity has previously selected outstanding photographs to showcase in exhibitions on themes ranging from human trafficking, gender discrimination, and age discrimination to disability.

The value of friendship

This year Youmanity is promoting “Friend-Ship” to raise awareness of mental health needs, focusing on "the importance and the value of friendship to prevent suicide and mental health issues associated with loneliness and social isolation".

"Friends are vital to our lives and for our mental health," said Youmanity Director Angelo Iudice.

"It is often through friends that we learn the most about ourselves."

"We go on incredible journeys with friends and survive adversity standing by them. Through time we develop important emotional connections, which give us the courage to show who we really are on the inside."

"A good friend, therefore, is a patient gardener, willing to nurture in times of need as much as celebrate in times of joy. According to the World Health Organisation, every year 800,000 people take their own lives, and many more attempt to."

"Friendship, togetherness, and connection, then, are as vital as ever."

"Through photography we would like you to celebrate friendship and the friends to whom we owe so much. Friend-Ship encourages you to pick up your camera and take a portrait of that special person or capture a moment, which embodies this treasured connection."

Entry details

The Friend-Ship Photography Exhibition will showcase the top 20 entries at the House of Commons in December.

The judges are looking for "visual impact, originality, and sensitivity" and the winning portrait will be awarded £1,000 cash prize.

The submissions will be selected by the following judges:
Anne Williams - Documentary Photography Historian
Aris Kourkoumelis - Photographic Historian - The Royal Collection Trust
Brandei Estes - Head of Photography, Sotheby's
Max Houghton - MA Photojournalism Lead, London College of Communication
Michael Pritchard, Director-General, The Royal Photographic Society
Neil Kenlock - Social documentary photographer
Priya Nagda-Swainson - Suicide Prevention Worker - Papyrus
Steve Macleod - Director, Metro Imaging
Renée Mussai - Curator, Autograph ABP

The closing date for entries is 25 October.

You can upload your photographic submission (for free) here.