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Teen Trend Report

Teen Mental Illness Survey Results and International Teen Writing Contest Submissions:  5,100+ teen visitors, 400+ survey responders, 180+ teen essays about teenagers and mental health issues.

Let's Talk about Teens and Mental Illness

As part of our monthly writing contest for teenagers, we asked high school and college students to share their thoughts about mental illness and the general state of today's mental health in young adults.

Teens and Mental IllnessBackground:  While college basketball's March Madness tournament raged on, was more curious about the mental health of today's teens.  It is estimated that 1 in 4 people will suffer from some form of mental illness at some point in their lives.  For a problem so large, the stigma surrounding it is even larger. 

People don’t talk about mental health issues or mental illness because of the shame and brokenness surrounding the topic.

For the March 2014 writing contest, we encouraged teens (and adults) to talk about this often taboo topic.  Brene Brown said “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

With Brown's quotation in mind, we were amazed by the powerful stories shared about mental illness by our teen bloggers - personal stories about struggles and triumphs with mental illness ranging from seasonal mood disorder to schizophrenia, from depression to eating disorders, from ADHD to anxiety. 

Some of the additional writing prompt questions we used to spur ideas for the personal mental illness essays included:

  • Do you suffer from mental illness?
  • Do you know someone who suffers from mental illness?
  • How do you or the person you know cope?
  • Do you believe people feel free to talk about mental illness in your school? In your community? In your home?
  • How has the mental illness of someone you love affected you?
  • If this is such a big issue, why aren’t more people talking about it?
  • What stigmas surround the topic of mental illness and mental health?
As always with the teen writing contests, we never know who your words will touch, so we reminded students to be brave and share their stories about mental illness and mental health.  While many people cheered on college basketball teams, the Stage of Life teen writing community talked about something during "March Madness" that touches almost all of our lives in some way, but few are brave enough to share...

Teen Trend Report Overview:
  • Teen Trend Report about Mental IllnessVISITS:  Over 5,100 teens and college students visited the writing contest during the month's writing prompt (March 2014) from across the US (all 50 states) and dozens of international countries.

  • TEENS and SURVEY DATA:  401 students between junior high school and college fully completed the national survey about mental illness and health issues.
  • ESSAY THEMES:  Out of all of the topics discussed, several major themes were collectively revealed by teens and their feelings about mental illness. 
  • writing contest summary details

    180+ teen bloggers submitted a qualifying essay to the "How Has Mental Illness Impacted You?" writing prompt. 
  • ESSAY WINNER:  Place winners, along with Runners Up and finalists were selected. 
  • RESOURCES:  View the mental illness resources we provided for review during the writing contest period.

PART I Statistics about Teens and Mental Illness

Before submitting their writing contest essay, teens were asked to complete a survey containing some questions about mental health issues.  Here are the teen statistics from the survey from the students who fully completed the poll...
  • 1 out of 2  teens state they have personally struggled with mental illness at some point (defined loosely as anything ranging from depression to more severe forms - see PDF download for full statistics).
  • Depression and Anxiety ranked #1 and #2 respectively as the most suffered mental illness by teens.
  • 86% of teens say they know someone who suffers from a mental illness.
  • 46% of teenagers say they have "contemplated" suicide.
  • 86.5% of students say that mental health issues are an "important" or "very important" topic for the country.
  • 84.5% of teens think that there is a negative stigma surrounding those with mental illness.
  • Half  of all teens say classmates and friends are mostly compassionate about those with mental illness. 
  • 73% of high school and college students know someone who is taking medication because of a mental health issue. Teens and Mental Illness ReportTo read the full survey results, click the PDF icon to view or save the free download.

SOURCE:  All statistics above were collected by as part of its monthly teen trend reports containing statistics and writing contest prompt responses from teens on real world issues.


After taking the survey, students submitted their writing contest essays to  From the nearly 200 qualifying teen essay submissions, several themes emerged:

Themes and Trends from the Essays:  "How Has Mental Illness Impacted Your Life?"
  • Teenagers and Mental IllnessYou Are Not Alone: The most important trend to surface from this month’s contest is reassuring: you are not alone. Even though a mental illness can make a person feel like no one cares or understands, this contest proves that others silently suffer from the same problems.
  • Speak Up: Even though it may seem scary, speaking to a trusted adult about how you are feeling will help you to feel better. Treatments are available for virtually every mental illness: from therapy, to medication, to hospitalization. The path to recovery may seem overwhelming, but it is worth it.
  • Mental Illness Does Not Make You Weak: Illness does not define a person. Although these teens sometimes struggle with basic human activity—getting out of bed, focusing in school, interacting with people—they are no different and no less important than other teenagers.
  • Mental Illness Is Real: Despite the stigma against talking about mental health, almost 200 teens submitted to this contest. Notably, not a single submission spoke about how mental illness isn’t real and important.


Teen Bloggers on StageofLife.comImmediately below, you'll find links to the winning essay, our runners-up, semi-finalists, and all qualifying essays from college students and teenagers about mental health and illness.

Please take a few moments to read an essay or two, especially our winner, runners-up, and finalists.

If you have the time, make a comment on the essays you enjoyed the most.  We know the student writers will love hearing your positive input (they'll get an email notifying them if you comment on their writing contest entry).

  • NOTE:  The 12 students mentioned below (from first place to all of the runner's up), received a personally autographed copy of a book from one of our participating national authors who support the writing contest about mental health.  We were honored by the professional writing community for donating books to this month's writing contest.

Writing contest winnerWriting Contest Winner

First Place:
March Madness: Fibs and Femurs for Dinner by EmilyLouise (This teen struggled to stay healthy)

Place Finishers student essay writers2nd Place: 
March Madness: My OCD’s Not Conquering Me Tonight by MadHats (This teen doesn’t want fear to run her life)

3rd Place - Tie:
March Madness: Still Breathing by REENA (She faced the challenge of how to support her friend who has depression)
March Madness: The Anxious One by jennacorr (She hated being the “anxious friend")

Writing Contest Runners UpRunners Up (in no particular order) writing contest submissions

Read teen essays from national writing contest

Read All Qualifying Teen & College Essays for the Writing Contest - "How Has Mental Illness Impacted You?"

The essays below were all written by Stage of Life teen writers for this monthly teen writing contest...

Stories about ADHD/ADD


  1. March Madness: The Energizer Bunny by ljyo98 (This teen finds it hard to focus and sit still)

    2.   March Madness: My struggle with ADD by toribelew1 (This teen struggled with finding peace with her illness)

    3.   March Madness: Overcoming ADD by tlaws (He struggles with focusing in school)

    4.   March Madness: My ADD Problem by Corwyn (Quiet helps this teen focus)

    5.   March Madness: Understanding ADD by tophrocks (The best medicine for any mental illness is understanding)


Stories about Anxiety

  1. March Madness: The Silent One by wevegotthesedays (This teen has Selective Mutism)

    2.   March Madness: The Dr. and I by longieka (This teen’s brain felt like a stranger)

    3.   March Madness: Losing my grip on reality by fortine1106 (When this teen’s mother died, her entire world changed)

    4.   March Madness: A constant battle by buttaaflykisses (Many teens have mental illnesses and don’t know it)

    5.   March Madness: The Short Version by erd2398 (This keep faced difficult relapses)

    6.   March Madness: A Thousand Times by RedReynard (This teen is afraid to meet people)

    7.   March Madness: Severe Anxiety and Other Inconveniences by brennamccown (Illness is not a choice)

    8.   March Madness: The Meaning of Hope by EllieSarami (This teen learned to change her coping abilities)

    9.   March Madness: My Perfect(ly Broken) Family by kati.laro (Her cousin’s death shook up her family)

    10.  March Madness: Ill from the Beginning by Kristy Zanatos (This teen’s life has not always been easy)

    11.  March Madness: The Flow of Marbles by midan1996 (We are all abnormal to a degree)

    12.  March Madness: You’re not alone by KenzieKayJoiner (Finding someone to confide in is helpful)

    13.  March Madness: Things Will Get Better by changingtheworld97 (Her friend sought help for her anxiety)

    14.  March Madness: Coming up for Air by 317900 (She counts to soothe panic attacks)

    15.  March Madness: The Anxious One by jennacorr (She hated being the “anxious friend”)

    16.  March Madness: My Struggle with Anxiety by jannatjaved (This teen had no idea anxiety was a mental illness)

    17.  March Madness: My Battle With Extreme Social Anxiety by ggoldfeder (Anxiety is both mentally and physically debilitating)

    18.  March Madness: Taming Dragons by ZuluHotel (This teen felt like she was in a state of perpetual trial and error)


Stories about Alcoholism and Substance Abuse


  1. March Madness: A Disease by whaleslikebaroque15 (Her father struggled with alcoholism)

    2.   March Madness: Is it really illness? by JessLegros22 (This teen blamed herself for her mother’s addiction)

    3.   March Madness: Close to Death by Shyannew (This teen suffered addiction to deal with depression)

    4.   March Madness: Mental Illness by vinbung (This teen’s sister now suffers from schizophrenia due to hard drug use)

    5.   March Madness: A friend in need by Trinken (Her friend coped by drinking)


Stories about Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia


  1. March Madness: Living with an Alzheimer’s Victim by StefanieeAnn (Her grandpa is still special to her, even though he forgets her name)

    2.   March Madness: Staying Positive by daery45 (Her grandpa’s demeanor changed after he had mini strokes)

    3.   March Madness: My Grandpa with Alzheimer’s by nlamas5 (Her grandpa is an amazing storyteller)

    4.   March Madness: My Grandpa’s struggle with mental illness by Theo Samouris (This teen hopes scientists find a cure for this awful disease)

    5.   March Madness: Bananas and Waffles by cetilly (This teen’s grandma does not remember her)


Stories about the Autism Spectrum


  1. March Madness: Growing up on a different channel by Definition Incognito (This teen faced difficult challenges growing up with Autism & ADHD)

    2.   March Madness: I Will Always Love Her by Dylan099 (This teen’s sister has Asperger’s Syndrome)

    3.   March Madness: Matt and the Movies by KaitlinL (She took her cousin out for dinner and a movie, and it made her cousin’s day)

    4.   March Madness: Life with Autism by joaquinastia (Her cousin has a hard time speaking)


Stories about Bipolar Disorder

  1. March Madness: A Story of Hope and Family by CherryZhi (Her sister began exhibiting strange symptoms on a family trip)

    2.   March Madness: The Highs and Lows of Being Bipolar by dobbys_sock77 (This teen feels normal, despite having a diagnosed disorder)

    3.   March Madness: Personal Perspective and Experience by Hat-Tristan (Overcoming depression should be marveled)

    4.   March Madness: A Bad Decision by Skylar (Her friend’s extreme mood changes led to a very final decision)


Stories about Borderline Personality Disorder


  1. March Madness: Wilted Flowers and Frolicking on Eggshells by Maedchen49 (She was abused by a mother with Borderline Personality Disorder)


Stories about Depression


  1. March Madness: Indifference by indigo.edwardds (This teen is in the thick of depression)

    2.   March Madness: The Wretched Fate by SuperOtakuPotterMerWhoLock (Depression begins with school)

    3.   March Madness: Depression isn’t clean-cut by gwyndo (Stop glorifying self-harm and mental illness)

    4.   March Madness: And So They Tell Me by jesuislenuit (Recovery doesn’t happen overnight)

    5.   March Madness: Depression by ZoZo (This teen trusts in God to heal her)

    6.   March Madness: Picture Perfect by angiekim97 (This teen lost herself in her hunt for perfection)

    7.   March Madness: Dealing with IT by tubulidentata (When you have depression, everything is your fault)

    8.   March Madness: Freckles by smullings (This teen felt abandoned by her mother)

    9.   March Madness: The tornado by sburrows (Mental illness does not define who you are)

    10.  March Madness: Bring on the Challenge by missystone (This teen likes to be challenged)

    11.  March Madness: How about March Sadness? by ItsyBitsySpidr (Depression is no laughing matter)

    12.  March Madness: Midnight Ink by Safaria Bell (This teen was lost in grief when her dog died)

    13.  March Madness: Let’s Stop Romanticizing Depression by emd1997 (Depression isn’t tragically beautiful—it kills)

    14.  March Madness: Distance Makes a Difference by lostinadream (This teen moved to get some space from her depressed mother)

    15.  March Madness: Mental health essay by unicornf13 (This teen discovered it is okay to be himself)

    16.  March Madness: With Hardship, I Realized I Was Lucky by amourey (This teen felt very depressed after she suffered her last concussion)

    17.  March Madness: Something Like the Blues by marty75 (Reaching out for help is hard)

    18.  March Madness: Depression Is Not A Game by LizziDizzy (This teen attempted suicide 3 times)

    19.  March Madness: Fear and Anger: Ben Style by Inspiration’s (His brother’s depression leads to rash anger)

    20.  March Madness: My Experience With Depression by akravitz (There is always hope for a cure)

    21.  March Madness: Fourteen Steps to Find Yourself by kitkatkaity24 (This teen suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder)

    22.  March Madness: Depression, the battle with dark, dark gray by blithedays47 (We can’t “fix” depression)

    23.  March Madness: Four Years of Love by Meg.R (Her foster siblings were unexpectedly removed from her house)

    24.  March Madness: Our constant struggle to truly love ourselves by sojeong1112 (Speaking to someone else about your problems helps)

    25.  March Madness: Fighting Through the Struggle by mscott16 (Her boyfriend committed suicide)

    26.  March Madness: My Battle Against Myself by lexileataylor99 (This teen was hiding a horrible secret)

    27.  March Madness: It Only Takes One by IRR1996 (One person being kind makes all the difference)

    28.  March Madness: Depression by peter (There are different types of depression)

    29.  March Madness: Like a dying flower by EvenStarsAreLonely (This teen had a sad, lonely childhood)

    30.  March Madness: Coping with depression by Christianna (This teen is trying hard just to get by)

    31.  March Madness: Depression or Awareness? by nguyesea (Her cousin committed suicide in a school parking lot)

    32.  March Madness: Destruction by Jodie_Lauren (Her mother’s depression and alcoholism spiraled)

    33.  March Madness: Monster Makes Mama Cry by gvachon (This teen feels inadequate, but does not want to disappoint her mother)

    34.  March Madness: When pain becomes existence by tarable97 (This teen wants to beat her illness)

    35.  March Madness: Never thought it would be me by superman27 (This teen forgave her alcoholic aunt)

    36.  March Madness: Helping a friend through depression and thoughts of suicide by Fred Jenkins (He helped his friend by telling his mom about his friend’s feelings)

    37.  March Madness: Who you are by Ebony18 (She doesn’t feel like herself)

    38.  March Madness: The Depressed Princess of Darkness by jessie_lb (There is always a light at the end of the tunnel)

    39.  March Madness: Overcoming My Depression by swens08 (This teen just wanted someone to care)

    40.  March Madness: The Wanderers by Themondayman (His friends are anything but depressing)

    41.  March Madness: The D Word by Intouch7777 (Don’t let the past haunt you)

    42.  March Madness: Why am I not dead? by ArdelleLashawn (This teen is holding onto a sliver of hope)

    43.  March Madness: Still Breathing by REENA (She faced the challenge of how to support her friend who has depression)

    44.  March Madness: Lazarus by Brinette (This teen wants to be aggressive about her fate)

    45.  March Madness: Finding Hope by writingtolive (A voice in this teen’s head has gotten louder)

    46.  March Madness: My First Time by alexbuttons (This teen remembers the night she decided to self harm)

    47.  March Madness: Downward Spiral of Depression to Alcoholism by ninja99 (This teen’s cousin copes with alcohol)

    48.  March Madness: You Can Survive by XxShootfOrtheSTARSxx (Life gets better)

    49.  March Madness: It’s a Hard Knocked Life by KieraJane224 (Her only friend committed suicide in 5th grade)

    50.  March Madness: Overcoming the Unexpected by jmarshall85 (Her mother helped her out of her unexpected “funk”)

    51.  March Madness: Lived in the world of negative thoughts by khushboo savita (This teen found hope in books)

    52.  March Madness by Firewriath (This teen’s ex was self-harmed)

    53.  March Madness: Breeding a Stigma by brytni.emison (A good friend of hers committed suicide in 7th grade)

    54.  March Madness: Dark Specter by QuincyJWalters (This teen seriously considered suicide)

    55.  March Madness: Lucky Ones by jwang303 (Suicide claims 4,600 teens a year)

    56.  March Madness: Overcoming Sadness by smarshall74 (She experienced grief after her father unexpectedly died)


Stories about Down Syndrome


  1. March Madness: Down Syndrome by musa0567 (Her cousin lives a happy life)

    2.   March Madness: The Sweetest Girl I Know by tta230 (This teen cares very much for a special girl in his life)


Stories about Dyslexia


  1. March Madness: Dyslexia in Disguise by johanna3 (Her sister, who has dyslexia, has accomplished more than she ever will)


Stories about Eating Disorders


  1. March Madness: Relapse in Perhaps by chewbaccacat (Prose about her waning recovery)

    2.   March Madness: Fibs and Femurs for Dinner by EmilyLouise (This teen struggled to stay healthy)

    3.   March Madness: Hurting the ones closest to you by kkeeney99 (Mental health issues can affect your loved ones)

    4.   March Madness: No Longer Alone by Kylieee (This teen hated feeling “fat”)

    5.   March Madness: A Close Game Against Ana by Millie Jack (This teen faced an internal debate about whether or not to eat a Sunday School treat)

    6.   March Madness: Confessions of a John Doe by Sam Lee (His sister has an eating disorder, not him)

    7.   March Madness: A Mental Illness by 11002301 (She feels stronger because of her experience with her illness)

    8.   March Madness: My Battle With Anorexia and Depression by sohocarter (Eating disorders are not “pretty”)

    9.   March Madness: No, I Can’t “Just Consume a Hamburger” by Kyssuber (This teen always felt a little aloof)

    10.  March Madness: From Poltergeist to Peace by anastasiakxo (This teen learned to fear food)

    11.  March Madness: Sweet Going Down, Sour Coming Up by rachelbowanko (This teen is gaining control of her life again)


Stories about Friends and Family with Mental Illness

  1. March Madness: The Real Side of Mental Illness by kaityxelizabeth (Her sister and mother both suffer from mental illnesses)
  2. March Madness by 16lassila (Pills don’t solve every problem)
  3. March Madness: Voices by musa0567 (Her friend had hallucinations, but was better after a stay at a hospital)
  4. March Madness: My Take on Mental Illness by klammert (Her grandfather was “ill,” but she never saw him that way)
  5. March Madness: She Left Us With Questions by CaitlinU (Her loved one committed suicide)
  6. March Madness: The world isn’t always right by ShakyeB (Don’t let the world get you down)
  7. March Madness: The world should be a little more like Kay by courtklein30 (Be kind to all people)
  8. March Madness: The Struggle I’m Enduring by Maddie97988 (Her mother’s illness makes her irritable and tell lies)
  9. March Madness: I Can’t Escape It and I Don’t Want To by saraht314 (Who will fight for the mentally ill?)
  10. March Madness: Wild Savior by mira.craigmorse (This teen went camping with a friend in need)
  11. March Madness: The Power of Friendship by arielzak (This teen tells the tale of a depressed friend)
  12. March Madness: Their Voices by lionjin (She regrets not being kinder to a friend in need)
  13. March Madness: I cope with hope by justwritin4fun (This teen has vivid memories of mental illness “invading” her family)
  14. March Madness: Oh that Fateful Night by Benhaha (A poem about a friend who attempted suicide)
  15. March Madness: Feeling Broken by heylyn (This teen spent a long night with her best friend)
  16. March Madness: Suicide by dannonshumway (This teen’s friend attempted suicide on a playground)
  17. March Madness: My Experience With Mental Illness Through Family by alexfuribe (This teen wants to see the world show an interest in mental health)
  18. March Madness: Uncle Brian by J.T. Faust (His uncle has a rough time because of his mental health)
  19. March Madness: I have never shared this story before by Meesh_97 (This teen carried the burden of her good friend’s problems)
  20. March Madness by jlopez63 (People shouldn’t be labeled by their disorders)
  21. March Madness: Spiders In the Walls by joneslc (This teen’s grandma was put through shock therapy)
  22. March Madness: Respect, Accept, and Forgive by MelissaManley (Kindness can repair the depressed or abused)
  23. March Madness: My Friend Has a Mental Illness by johnnym1176 (His friend becomes very aggressive)


Stories about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder


  1. March Madness: A Mind of Apple Soap by andromedastar9 (This teen doesn’t tell anyone about her condition)

    2.   March Madness: My OCD’s Not Conquering Me Tonight by MadHats (This teen doesn’t want fear to run her life)

    3.   March Madness: Struggling With OCD by davidsgirl1 (Having a therapist you click with is very important)

    4.   March Madness: Experience with OCD by Dee (Her friend’s rituals were eased by medication)


Stories about Phobias


  1. March Madness: Taken by the fear by simplykately (This teen felt like she was overreacting)


Stories about PTSD


  1. March Madness: Mental illness by marissahonnold (Therapy helps with these illnesses)

    2.   March Madness: Let’s Talk About Mental Health by sarahgarten (Treatment and friendship are important to helping with illness)

    3.   March Madness: Grace by wjung3139 (Checking in on loved ones with health problems will help them to feel loved)

    4.   March Madness: PTSD by kpalmer07 (Just being with a person can help)


Stories about Schizoaffective Disorder

  1.  March Madness: The Monster by Iheartpsychology (Popular actress Amanda Bynes suffered from the same disorder as this teen)


Stories about Schizophrenia

  1. March Madness: I, Dr. Jekyll: Waking Up to the Sound of Voices by jag (This teen heard voices telling him to harm others)

    2.   March Madness: My Reality by anusha (This teen struggles with staying in reality)

    3.   March Madness: My mental health and others by jesusc97 (This teen’s cousin was sent to a mental institution)


Stories about Mental Illness Treatment and Recovery

  1. March Madness: A curse so beautiful by swise94 (Counseling is the most beneficial thing for mental health)

    2.   March Madness: The Spazzy Kid by juice1197 (This teen had a Seizure disorder)

    3.   March Madness: We Don’t Have to Drown by pearlemerson (This teen opens up about her struggle with cutting)

    4.   March Madness: Mental Illness by jnelmark (This teen thinks praying to God helps mental health)

    5.   March Madness: Mental Health by MelLovesBatman (Her parents helped her overcome her desire to self-harm)


Misc. Stories about Mental Health Issues

  1. March Madness: We All Suffer by jamiewrites (We all face difficulties, just on different levels)

    2. March Madness: Fear of Your Own Thoughts by bluraye (This teen wonders if we all have had mental illnesses at some point in our lives)

    3. March Madness: Mr. Responsibility by dhitrashlam (This teen feels stressed, taking care of his younger siblings)

    4. March Madness: The School Aspect of Mental Illness by kkzz16 (School contributes to stress and mental health)

    5. March Madness: Sickness and How We Avoid It by Alycia_Olson (This teen researched mental health for a school project)

    6. March Madness: Mental illness stigma by ExtraCredit (People with mental illnesses are wrongfully judged)

    7. March Madness: Because “March Seriousness” Scares People Off by julia1997 (Even the title of this contest shows how problematic our view on mental health can be)

    8. March Madness: Society’s Confusion by Travis64 (Social media does not help mental health)

    9. March Madness by Bushra Rahman (This teen heard of a man who committed suicide)

    10.  March Madness: The Plight of the High School Achiever by sonny060898 (Korean teens are under immense pressure to pass exams)

    11.  March Madness: Lifting the Veil of Mental Illness by erinxz (We need to reevaluate how we deal with mental illness)

    12.  March Madness: An Optimistic Look on Mental Illness by cameronutley1 (A positive attitude and the right resources can solve any problem)

    13.  March Madness: Over Use I Love You by sfblack12 (This teen has learned a few valuable skills in helping people with mental illnesses)

    14.  March Madness: Tired of the stigma by georgesinclaie (People need to talk more openly about mental illness)

    15.  March Madness: The struggle of mental illnesses to be recognized by Nick Heid (Treat others how you want to be treated)

    16.  March Madness by macdaddy35 (Seek help and stay strong)

    17.  March Madness: The Monsters in My Nightmares Became All Too Real by KAS (This teen had a hard time sleeping)

    18.  March Madness: Dull Grey by Shringi (Prose about this teen’s need to meet people)

    19.  March Madness: Surviving High School by DreamyGal (Don’t be ashamed of your problems)

    20.  March Madness: Years of Narcissism by alexisgorecki (Prose about this teen feeling fake)

    21.  March Madness by mmo331 (This teen would not walk away from a friend in need)

    22.  March Madness: It’s All in Your Head by jasmineperry (Mental illness has two extremes)


The following free mental health resources were provided for the students during this month's writing contest...

Recommended Reading:

1) “A Campaign Urges Listening to Those Torn by Mental Illness” by Andrew Adam Newman (New York Times)
  • Explains the IWillListen Campaign by NAMI - National Alliance on Mental Illness

2) “First Up: Mental Illness. Next Topic is up to you” by Nicholas Kristoff (New York Times)
  • Gives startling statistics about the mental illness national epidemic

3) “How to Avoid Cabin Fever During this Endless Winter” by Eliana Dockterman (Time Health and Family)

4) “Troubled Children” -  a collection of articles and videos (New York Times)
  • A really good resource with tons of information about mental health issues and how they affect our country’s children and teens.

The top 10 student essay winners/finalists will receive an autographed book from one of our nationally published author sponsors!

  • Elyn Saks
  • Marya Hornbacher
  • Stacy Pershall
  • Pamela Spiro Wagner
  • Karen Winters Schwartz
  • Randye Kaye
  • Andrew Solomon
  • Melody Moezzi
  • Lizabeth D. Schuch
  • Fletcher Wortmann
  • Susannah Cahalan

View our participating authors page for more details.

Education Prize Sponsors

Education essay sponsor - Papa John's   Education writing sponsor - IHOP

Writing Contest Prize Package

  • The Top 12 Student Essay Winners will receive a personally signed copy of a book from one of our sponsoring nationally published authors.
  • The student (high school or college) who writes the 1st place essay will receive gift cards compliments of our education sponsors, Papa John's and IHOP
  • SWAG package from
  • National press release exposure for your essay from
  • Bragging rights
Winners will be contacted via a post on their story once judging is complete (approx. 30 days after contest ending).   An email will be sent to the winner to get the address for the prize package approx. 1-2 months afterwards.

Recommended Videos
about Mental Health

videos about mental illness 

1) Kevin Breel: Confessions of a Depressed Comic
  • Stage of Life Video recommendationThis TEDTalk went viral due to Breel’s no nonsense approach to a very serious topic.  With vulnerability, this 19-year-old shares his struggle with depression and urges others to stand up and talk about it.
2) Glennon Doyle Melton: Lessons from the Mental Hospital
  • Stage of Life Video recommendationA very honest and thought provoking look at feelings and rebuilding a life after mental illness. Author of the popular blog “Tales from the Momastery” and author of the book ‘Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed’
3) Elyn Saks: A Tale of Mental Illness ---- from the inside
  • Stage of Life Video recommendationAward winning author of The Center Cannot Hold, Elyn Saks recounts her struggles with schizophrenia.

4) Ruby Wax: What’s so funny about mental illness?
  • Stage of Life Video recommendationA face paced and funny approach to Wax’s own struggle with mental illness and the broader issues surrounding mental illness.
5) Vikram Patel: Mental Health for all by involving all
  • Stage of Life Video recommendationA look at the world problem of mental illness and a proposed solution that involves people being trained to help each other.

Videos about Mental Health

Talk to Someone

SAFE is a student led organization from West Kent, UK that urges teens to talk to someone about the problems they face with with mental illness
What is Mental Illness?

A US-based scientific summary of what mental illness is (with good statistics)

Stacy Pershall, Speaker & Writer

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