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A Letter to Teens: Tell Your Stories | Teens Mental Health

“Before becoming the facilitator of the teens’ support group, I was a writer for CandleX. I wrote about my struggles with mental health and my recovery, and found it to be a therapeutic process and a cool way to learn more about myself. We believe writing and seeing your articles published is an incredibly empowering experience, and I can attest to this.”

Alison Qiu

That’s why we’ve decided to start this monthly writing project for teens. We want to encourage you to share your personal experience in connection to key dates on the calendar related to mental health, such as World Suicide Prevention Day, World Bipolar Disorder Day, or even Thanksgiving.

If you feel bold enough, we also offer opportunities to partner you with someone who you can interview about their experience with mental health. Interviews are a great way to get to know people, hear their unique stories, and learn that you’re not alone in your experience.

You get to decide how and what to write about, because we want you to tell your story in your own authentic voice. Of course, CandleX will provide guidance along the way, from brainstorming to polishing your article. You’ll learn so much more than just how to write. More importantly, we intend to offer an opportunity to for you to process your emotions and significant life events in a therapeutic way. We believe sharing our own personal struggles and experiences is a form of healing that can help others see the light.

Your voices deserve to be heard.

Interested? We are glad to hear that! Please take a look at the following guidelines. They will help you to write a story that best fits the style and needs of the CandleX audience.

How long should it be?

We recommend writing 2-3 pages (without pictures) with font size 12, single space.

What should we write about?

Anything related to mental health. This could include your own feelings, experiences, and perspectives. It could also be about how you assisted a family member, friend or colleague suffering with depression. Anything, as long as it’s a story based on your personal experiences (note: please do not share other people’s story without their consent).

We will post monthly themes in the group chat at the beginning of the year, and you can choose which one(s) interest you! Use these as a starting point for brainstorming, and branch out into the story you’d like to tell. Remember, instead of your worldview or tips, we’d love to read about your own personal experience.

What if I don’t know what story I want to tell?

We believe every person has interesting stories to tell. If you’re struggling with brainstorming, feel free to reach out to us and we can come up with something together!

How often will we write?

We are aiming for one article/video per month (group total), but the more people who join, the better!

What should I do if I want to learn more about the program?

A good place to start is reading articles other teens have written in the past, which you can find on the official CandleX WeChat account or from our website.

Who will I interview? I don’t know anything about video production

Members of the adult support group, school counselors, family members, etc. Anyone who can offer insight into mental health.

In terms of interviews, the video quality doesn’t have to be great! It doesn’t matter what the video of the interview looks like — content matters more than format.

2 more things to keep in mind:

● Stick to only one key message! This will help the audience digest it and make a bigger impact on the reader. If you have more than one key message, submit more than one article.

● It’s not a requirement, but you can add pictures if you’d like. Adding pictures makes the article more appealing to the reader. Be aware that if it’s a picture from you, you automatically grant us the consent to use it. Please make sure that all people (whose faces are recognizable) consent to the use of the picture.

We also have a Teens’ Learning Group Project that offers learning opportunities on mental health. It is exclusively and strictly for people aged 15-22. For more inquires and questions, please add our teen admin Alison (see wechat ID below).