By Ingrid Padgett, Communications and Program Strategist, School Mental Health Initiative, New England MHTTC
Do you have a query, lived experience testimonial, or first-hand story related to school-based mental health? Share your story and support the recovery and healing of self and others through messages of hope.
We believe in the power of compassionate conversations and storytelling to reduce stigma around mental health, well-being, and recovery from illness and/or substance abuse. When a conversation is started or a story is told, we shine a light on topics that others may be struggling with as well; in this way, we can give others the gift of hope and provide them with a sense of community based on shared experiences.
You don't have to be a professional writer to offer a submission. This is an opportunity for you to share YOUR story in your OWN words. Your submission can be anonymous, if you wish. Whether you have a written piece, a video, a quote or something else—we will help you edit and refine your piece to include in our bimonthly publication, Compassion Action News, or our blog. Our goal is to receive strength-based questions, original writings, videos, quotes, etc. that spark hope, healing, and resilience. Check out our writing tips and review our guidelines below. Share your story here.
Tip #1: Engage readers right away
Choose a topic that you are passionate about and write about it as if you are talking to your friend. Consider this: When you talk to your best friend, you listen, you ask questions, and you may cry, laugh, or both! Give our readers a glimpse into your life. By sharing tidbits, readers will begin to feel that they know you and that is how you start a bond.
Tip #2: Make it personal.
Be vulnerable. Bring a personal element to your writing and feel free to include personal details and examples. The more relatable you are, the more you will connect with our readers. Avoid passive tone and show our readers you are one of them, and facing with similar challenges.
Tip #3 Offer details.
As a storyteller, it is helpful to give details for your story to help people understand your view. We are looking for blog submissions of 500-750 words. However, if you believe you have a research-based article or a compelling story of resilience, healing, and recovery that you would like to share, we will accept and consider article submissions of 1,500 - 200 words.
Here are things to keep in mind when framing a story of recovery:
What is unique about your story?
Remember that you own your story.
While it is important for the story to be honest, it is also important to share your experience in a way that feels comfortable for you.
Tip #3: Don't be too professional.
When you write with a compassionate tone it makes readers feel like you are talking from your hear and you actually mean what you say. Use comforting words, scrap jargon, and replace long words with short ones. Convey your message in simple language as that helps readers comprehend your message.
Tip #4: Don't be long-winded.
Long sentences are cumbersome and boring. Keep it short and avoid redundant adverbs, adjectives, and abstract nouns. Don't add unnecessary complexity. Recount your experience(s) as simply as you can.
Tip #5: Finish strong with an action-driven closing statement.
As a nod to advice from noted author, poet, and civil rights leader Dr. Maya Angelou, remember that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel. Restate your point in a way that is memorable and sticks in the minds of your listeners. Let our readers know what you want them to do next and/or how you hope your share will help or inspire others. Don't be shy. Finish strong with humility, grace, and a sense of style.
Please note that while it is our intention to publish all submissions, the New England MHTTC reserves the right to post selected entries. We do not accept submissions that:
Advocate violence, hatred, or self-harm.
Request funds, financial support, donations or purchases of some kind.
To share your story, you must be 18 years of age or older. If you'd like your entry to remain anonymous, we will not share your family name or location when your story is published on our websites or social media platforms.
When your question, blog, article, or other product-based submission is selected for posting, you will be contacted directly for editorial consultation. The New England MHTTC will not publish or reproduce any submission without the approval and consent of the author of the submitted entry.
For more information on the New England MHTTC's School Mental Health Initiative and/or our "Share Your Story" campaign, contact us.