There’s a seed living in the heart of a jungle. When the seed meets water, sunshine, and air, it grows into a tree.
I often say that my own experience with mental health is that seed. When I see darkness in other people's hearts, it echoes and turns into tears of water. The warmth I feel from people during my darkest times turns into sunshine, and the support that I get from people turns into air.
So just like that, the seed sprouted. I named it CandleX. It’s always the tree that symbolizes my deepest “Care for the Mind.”
Director and Founder of CandleX
Photo of Xiaojie in 2022
CandleX was founded on April 1, 2015, in Beijing. The organization was initiated by Xiaojie Qin, who worked with International Non-Profit Organizations in China for a decade, and has a strong personal concern and care for social mental wellbeing. She is a psychotherapist, the director of CandleX, and the co-founder of Project A.
VISION Everybody, no matter their mental condition, will be accepted, respected, and supported.
CandleX has the overall objectives to:
1). To increase knowledge and awareness surrounding mental health, as well as reduce the stigma associated with it.
2). Provide social support for those experiencing mental illness including depression, mania, and/or severe anxiety, etc.
The international community in Beijing and beyond, including expats and Chinese nationals.
English-Speaking Programs (since 2015)
CandleX offers mental health support to teenagers and adults living in Beijing. Expats and Chinese nationals are all eligible to receive this support.
As an English-speaking Chinese national, with personal and professional relationships in the expat community and substantial international travel, Xiaojie found it difficult to identify with the available Chinese mental health services. She was searching for mental health support that utilized a more culturally open approach. This search did not yield any positive results, and she concluded that the English-speaking community in Beijing lacked both social and affordable clinical support. This realization inspired her to fill the gap. Her aim of providing mental health support in English prompted her to found CandleX.
The cost of mental health care provided by international private hospitals is prohibitive. Many foreigners living in Beijing are unable to afford access to these resources. There is little to no support available to those not earning the highest of expat salaries.
Life abroad is stressful. Stressors include adjusting to a new culture, leaving the familiar, and encountering different thinking styles and cultural norms. Chinese mental health care is available, but the language and cultural barriers make both access and efficacy challenging. In addition to expats residing in Beijing, some Chinese nationals feel that the available Chinese care is too culturally confined to benefit them. CandleX offers affordable, accessible, and quality social support in English.
What about Chinese nationals? (Chinese mental health services)
Those seeking care in Chinese can access it from a variety of sources. Hospitals, private counseling centers, university-affiliated counseling centers, online counseling platforms, and telephone helplines all offer support. In Beijing alone, there are over a dozen organizations that offer mental health care in Chinese.
Since 2021, we provide psychoeducation in Chinese to Chinese teens and their families who live internationally.
How many need help? (English mental health services)
One in four people experiences some form of mental health issue (1). Beijing is home to an estimated 62,000 foreigners in 2020 (2). The numbers suggest that many foreigners living in Beijing would benefit from accessible mental health care and support. Moreover, many internationally oriented Chinese nationals prefer a more Western approach to psychoeducation and support.
CandleX aims to provide this support to those in need so that everybody has access to mental health care regardless of their language, culture, and financial situation.
Our core values guide our actions and are the foundation for engagements among ourselves, the community, and our partners.
Mindfulness: Be aware of the consistent changing environment of mental health, and respond nonforcefully as a way to operate as our responses affect us as an organization.
Passion: Passion is our engine and drives us forward in everything we do.
Consistency: Even in small numbers, as long as there is consistency over time, change can happen (3).
Balance: We seek to create and maintain a balance between all elements of life.
Connection: We connect with different partners to create a healthy environment.
Empowerment: We create an environment that allows our volunteers and audiences to empower themselves to lead.
Diversity: We welcome people from all backgrounds, regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or age.
Trust: We provide quality services that we’d love to receive, and we have faith that communities would provide resources needed for those services to sustain.
CandleX’s intervention model is built in line with the international mental health interventional model, positioning ourselves at the bottom three layers serving the largest scale of the general population: universal prevention interventions, selective preventative interventions, and indicated preventive interventions.
Psychosocial Support Events in Beijing
Mental Health Support Group This peer support group meets twice a month (2nd and 4th Tuesday) and offers a safe space from where those going through depression, mania, and severe anxiety can find support.
Mental Health Leader’s Empowerment: Facilitator’s Training
In order to support the growth of mental health in China for expats community, CandleX takes the approach of empowering young people who are passionate about mental health and want to provide support in the forms of peer support groups and psychoeducational groups. We provide training of mental health facilitators both online and offline in English.
Pre-Treatment Guidance One-on-one session with us to guide people through their options in terms of treatment and other alternatives including social and work support to manage their mental health issues.
Community Mental Health Events We host community events, including talks, workshops, movie nights, panel discussions, etc. that aim to educate and empower the community in identifying and managing emotions and mental health.
Mental Health for Teenagers
· Talks & Workshops: provide workshops to teens, their parents, and educators on mental health in schools and in education agencies that work with teens.
·Teens Empowerment Project: engage teens to write their stories, or interview others on mental health, and engage teens with advocacy work through CandleX’s media network. This is a one-on-one coaching project where an individual goes through a process with the support from therapists (not therapy) and media professionals.
·Classroom: we developed a complete series of articles on basic knowledge on depression;
·Online Courses: we promote short term online learning courses from reputable universities and facilitate learning on psychology;
·Community Writing: stories from our community on mental health from both adults and teens;
o My Emotions, My Stories: stories from adults on their mental health.
o Teens Open Letters: stories of teens who attend international high schools in China or studying overseas write their experience on mental health, providing insights to educators, parents and their peers
·CandleX Open Wechat Group: a spontaneous and interactive space for community member to engage in facilitated conversations around mental health.
Interested in volunteering with us?
Visit www.candlex.cn and contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. First heard on the Ted Talk: The price of shame | Monica Lewinsky