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CandleX Teen’s Learning | Mental Health Talk at Canadian Embassy

Xiaojie, Psychotherapist and director of CandleX delivered a talk at Canadian Embassy in Feb 2024. Katie Lai, Participant of CandleX’s Teens Empowerment Project and Mentee of Xiaojie, was given the opportunity to join her and speak from her a teen’s perspective on this topic. We’d like to give special thanks to Canadian Embassy for co-creating this space for teen’s empowerment.



Katie Lai (17 years old)

Hongkong China 2024

Friday, 2nd of February of 2024, I joined Xiaojie via Zoom from Hong Kong China, to participate in a mandarin talk with the Canadian Embassy situated in Beijing China; Xiaojie shared her remarkable journeys and experiences in shaping her balance to become a successful psychotherapist she is now. I was also honored to deliver a talk as a CandleX Teen Representor, discoursing my development, training, and growth in the Empowerment Program. With approximately 80+ audience online and 30 joining in Beijing and China, everyone was engaged; Even only participating through my laptop screen, I could feel the eagerness and enthusiasm of everyone involved.


It was a transformative and eye-opening experience for me; not only did I speak to a large audience pool which I had never done before, but I also learned an incomprehensible amount of knowledge from Xiaojie’s stories. One of the many things I have absorbed was the importance of prioritizing oneself’s well-being over anything. Personally, as a teenager, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of spiraling into non-stop stress and seemingly never-ending tasks to complete, expectations to fufill, and standards to meet. Xiaojie shared a personal experience of hers where she took the initiative and disconnected from work in Beijing to prioritize her mental health by traveling to Thailand. Which then, resulted in major positive outcomes and led to a transformation point of her life. I couldn’t help but feel inspired by the great leap in decision, but more of the courage and determination behind it; Xiaojie’s story taught me that walking away and taking a break is also a crucial step towards growth.

On top of that, another essential reflection that I had accumulated was the significance to decidedly communicating and listening to more of others’ experiences through support groups. I found it interesting when Xiaojie laughed at her own self-tortures when she could put her situation in perspective attending peer support group sessions. The realization that everyone continues to thrive and live through similar, or even more severe misfortunes, indeed does create a sense of unitedness but also a motivation to blossom through hardships. This instantly made me think of the quote “Someone else in the world will always have it harder than you do”, a classic line my sister would always remind me of whenever I felt hopeless. It’s only by actively sharing and participating in discussions, that we get a closer dive into other people’s lives and remind ourselves of the society we live in; we are never suffering alone.


Perfectly aligning with my current situation, one crucial lesson that helped me a lot was learning and letting life events flow. Throughout the whole talk, I felt an unusual sense of calmness. I sat back and wondered why afterward to conclude that it was because everything purely felt natural and candid as if it was all meant to be. We always put ourselves in uncomfortable, even unsuitable positions in the name of maturing and gaining experience. However, disregarded and showed mistrust in life and its orders; many sought-after opportunities, big or small only come at the right time while we are in the right headspace. Personally, everything occurring seems so urgent and forcefully implemented, that I lose track and fall into the loophole of anxiety and wish to get everything done as efficiently as possible to take larger, wider leaps. This experience taught me that it’s perfectly fine to take things at my own pace and that only I have the utmost control over my every decision.

As an empowerment teen participant, it is my consistent role to engage in monthly training sessions on mental well-being, self-awareness and personal management. In these meeting sessions, I collaborate with other teen leaders and share our progress, suggestions for further updates and innovative ideas. Additionally, I contribute as a poster designer and video editor for a selection of CandleX’s content related to mental health awareness. In September 2023, upon newly joining the team, I published a reflective article on acceptance and responsibility: “Inevitable Path to Freedom”.


There are many ways to get involved and to seek help and assistance. CandleX provides individual help, but also weekly mental health group workshops consisting a range of activities that soothes the mind; sessions are accessible across the website and public CandleX WeChat account. Speaking from experience, I reached out to Xiaojie in late July and have since begun our journey up until today, which still feels surreal and incredible to me.


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