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NIH Announces Winners of High School Mental Health Essay Contest

Institute Update

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2022 Speaking Up About Mental Health! This Is My Story  essay contest. Of the 200 submissions from high school students across 33 states, NIH named nine winning essays and six honorable mentions.

Supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the essay contest encourages youth to talk about the mental health crisis facing their generation and share ways to reduce mental health stigma.

Winners were selected at four levels: gold, silver, bronze, and honorable mention. Winning essays and those receiving honorable mention awards addressed complicated topics such as suicide, anxiety, the challenges of stigma, and improving access to mental health education and treatment, particularly in underserved populations, including individuals from racial and ethnic minority groups.

NIH will award cash prizes to the contest winners and certificates to those receiving an honorable mention. Read the winning essays at .

Gold Winners

  • Ansh, California: Making the Invisible More Transparent
  • Catherine, Illinois: No Longer Silent: Confronting the Stigma Surrounding Mental Health
  • Morgan, New Jersey: Breaking Through the Barriers of Mental Health: This is My Story

Silver Winners

  • Abigail, Maryland: Hidden in the Cracks
  • Anusha, Washington: Unmasked
  • Rohan, California: It’s Time to Rebrand Mental Illness: Addressing the Crisis of Stigmatization

Bronze Winners

  • Aidan, Arizona: Brighter Days
  • Evan, Texas: Mental Health Challenges in Young People: An Asian American Perspective
  • Huda, North Carolina: It Starts in Schools: How to Solve Our Mental Health Problem

Honorable Mentions

  • Evelyn, Virginia: If Only People Knew
  • Leila, Ohio: Don’t Say Hope: Why Don’t Say Gay Bills Are a National Health Crisis
  • Melvin, Massachusetts: Surviving the Pain
  • Norah, Maryland: Countless Approaches
  • Sydney, Minnesota: Mental Health Awareness: My Personal Journey and the Next Steps
  • Veronica, Illinois: Stop the Stigma: Talk, Understand, Value

If you are in crisis and need immediate help, call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline  at 988 (para ayuda en español, llame al 988) to connect with a trained crisis counselor. The Lifeline provides 24-hour, confidential support to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. The deaf and hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline using their preferred relay service or by dialing 711 and then 988.