Remember that honesty and accuracy are key ingredients in your story
While writing your story, try to incorporate some of the following key messages:
Sharing your story can be a powerful way to reduce stigma, spread hope, and raise awareness about the importance of mental health. We greatly appreciate the personal stories sent to Coolminds and hope that they will be used to foster a sense of community and support. We will always check in with you before publishing the final version to make sure you are happy with any revisions that have been made.
When thinking about how to share your experience, consider the following points below.
We’re looking for stories that
- Change the way people think and act about mental health
- Describe the reactions you received about a mental health problem, and the impact it had on you
- Address Hong Kong’s high school and university student population as a whole, not just those with lived experiences
- Promote hope, recovery, positive action or advocacy
What we cannot publish
Unfortunately, because of privacy concerns and the scope of our website, we will not publish stories that contain:
- Offensive, racist, homophobic, or sexist language
- Private information about you or your mental health treatment
- Names and identifying information about other individuals
- Negative discussions about a school or organisation
- Medical advice on managing a specific mental health problem
- Promotional material about commercial products, treatments, or companies
- Triggering or glorifying descriptions of suicide,self-harm or mental health symptoms
Things to Consider
- Focus on one or two key messages, rather than a comprehensive account of your entire childhood and the many experiences throughout your life
- Don’t include details that make you feel vulnerable or make you uncomfortable. Sharing a story should never feel traumatic!
- As your story may be sensitive in nature, consider your own mental health when deciding whether or not to share it. Make sure that you are emotionally ready and have a good support system. Remember to prioritise your own safety and wellbeing above all!
What happens after you’ve sent your submission?
- You will receive an acknowledgement email when we receive it
- Every submission sent to Coolminds will be read and reviewed using evidence-based, international best practice
- We may edit your piece for clarity, or to remove inappropriate content as mentioned above, but we will always share any edits with you
- If we decide to move forward with your piece, we will let you know through email and ask again for your consent before publishing.
- You have the opportunity to change your mind about sharing, and withdraw your submission at any point of the process.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I submit anonymously?
Absolutely! You will have the opportunity to publish your story anonymous by checking the box on our form. If you do wish to include your name, you can choose to write your first name, initials, or full name in the name box on the submission form.
Do I have to have a diagnosed mental illness to share my story?
No! Although we do welcome submissions from those with lived experiences, we believe that everyone has an important story to tell. Whether mental health has impacted your life directly, or touched the lives of your loved ones, we encourage you to write about it and share your views with us.
What are some ways I can choose to tell my story?
There are many ways to submit content to Coolminds. Here are some ideas you can consider, but feel free to write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to use another creative outlet!
- Essays, blog articles, short stories
- Writing a letter
- Inspirational quotes
- Visual art (drawings, paintings, sketches)
Telling Your Story
There is no right or wrong way to tell a story, and the power of sharing is that you can choose to take a number of different avenues. However, if you are stuck, here are some guiding points to inspire or help you get started:
- Introduce how you are personally affected by mental health
- What happened before you received the care you needed?
- What helped in your recovery? What support or services were beneficial to you?
- What needs or problems did you encounter? What are some of the challenges faced by those living with mental illness?
- How are you experiencing recovery, and how are things going in your life today? What have you learned about yourself in your mental health journey?
- How do you practice self-care?
- What are some of the mental health needs of Hong Kong youth? What would you like to see addressed?
- What will help others in your situation? What can others do?
- How has mental health stigma affected you? In what situations do you still experience stigma today?
Guidance on sharing your experience with self-harm, suicide, and eating disorders
While we want everyone to feel comfortable to share their experience with mental health, we are also mindful of the sensitive nature of this content and the impact it may have on others. These guidelines are evidence-based and have been developed by our partners at Time to Change.
Here are a few guidelines when discussing self-harm, suicide, and eating disorders, to ensure the content is safe and non-triggering to our audience.
Self-harm and suicide
Focus on feelings, not behaviours
- Avoid revealing graphic details as they can be used as tips by people who may be at risk of self-harm or suicidal ideation
- Instead focus on the underlying issues you were facing or your motivations
Do not discuss methods explicitly
- Avoid revealing graphic details of how you or someone has harmed themselves as they can be used as tips by people who may be at risk of self-harm or suicide
Avoid discussing celebrities’ self-harm behaviours
- This may serve to glamorize the behavior and may lead to imitation behaviour
Remember the appropriate term is ‘complete’ suicide not ‘commit’
- Using the term ‘commit’ can lead to further stigmatisation as the term is used when describing criminal behaviour
Avoid phrases like ‘unsuccessful’ suicide
- This inappropriately attributes feelings of achievement or failure to the act of taking one’s life
Do not share images of self-harm or suicide
- This can be triggering or distressing to viewers
Avoid presenting the behaviour as an appropriate solution to the problem
- This can be wrongly interpreted as a useful coping strategy
Do not disclose the contents of any suicide notes/letters
- This can be used by a person in a vulnerable state to justify their own thoughts of suicide
Focus on feelings, not behaviours
- Detailing methods of weight loss or caloric restriction can be used as tips by those at risk of developing an eating disorder
- Instead focus on the underlying issues you were facing
Do not disclose numbers
- No measurements – weight, BMI, body measurements, caloric intake
- As eating disorders may be competitive, sharing measurements may serve as benchmarking for others at risk
Do not discuss food groups
- Discussing good and bad foods can be used as tips
Do not mentioning amounts eaten
- This can be used as tips on how to restrict intake
No images of body parts
- These images can be used as inspiration or might trigger others at risk
When writing your story, you should not use the real names of family or friends, individual mental health workers, organizations or others. Instead, use titles such as my “friend,” “brother,” “nurse,” “doctor.” You should avoid publicly criticizing an individual or organization by name if you had a bad experience under their care or in their company. It is okay to talk about your experiences, but don’t identify specific individuals or organizations