2023 Grants Challenge

Choose Recovery: Mental Health, By Teens and For Teens

Teens4Teens Help (T4TH) is a mental health organization created for teens, by teens. Through sharing personal stories of recovery, we help teenagers and young adults overcome their mental health and emotional challenges, and provide them with encouragement, coping strategies, education, and resources. We are teens from every walk of life who have managed to navigate our mental health issues and want to share what we have learned to help others choose their own recovery.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Support for Foster and Systems-Impacted Youth

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles


In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

According to recent studies, approximately one in five teens aged 12 to 18 suffer from at least one diagnosable mental health disorder (WHO). In recent years, cases of major depression among teens ages 16 and 17 rose by nearly 70%, feelings of anxiety and hopelessness increased by 71% among people ages 17 to 25, and one out of every five girls ages 12 to 17 had experienced major depression within the last year (Adolescent Wellness Academy). It is reported that 50% of lifetime cases of mental illness begin around the age of 14 (Adolescent Wellness Academy). Suicide is the second leading cause of death for individuals ages 10-24 years (WHO). Pressure to succeed, social media stresses, social isolation during Covid-19, relationship difficulties, and underdeveloped coping skills have exacerbated the emotional regulation and mental health struggles of teens and young adults across the US. Our youth are in crisis and need resources, education, and the support to choose recovery.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

Through the power of peer-to-peer storytelling, Teens4Teens Help (T4TH) brings personal stories of recovery, coping strategies, education, and resources to young people in need. The T4TH website currently offers over 70 personal stories of mental health, the behavioral health system, and recovery, told by teens in their own words. Our website also contains 16 Teen Talks, featuring resource discussions between teens and professionals on behavioral health topics. Since our inception in 2020, our website has had over 10,000 visitors and our site has been viewed in over 55 countries. Our Healthy Coping Skills Mental Health Toolboxes (set of 6 boxes) contain information and interactive learning materials on anxiety and depression, and provide grounding exercises, art activities, and resources. These Toolboxes are created by our Professional Advisory Board, reviewed by our Youth Advisory Board, and are currently featured in the Wellness Rooms and therapy offices of 4 area high schools and middle schools, where they are accessible to over 5,100 students. These schools include Oak Park High School in Ventura County, La Quinta High School in Orange County, Chaminade Catholic High School in LA County, and Lindero Canyon Middle School in LA County. Our Toolbox and website resources are currently being used by teens, school counselors, treatment centers, coaches, parents, and therapists. We are continually developing new website content and Toolboxes for use throughout LA County schools.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

We are dedicated to improving access to mental health resources for teens and young adults. We currently feature personal stories on Addiction, Anxiety, Coping with Covid, Eating Disorders, Fentanyl Awareness, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, LGBTQIA+, Suicide Prevention, ADHD and Learning Challenges on our website. We are developing new content and will soon feature peer-to-peer storytelling videos on Self-harm, Trauma, Bullying, Sexual Abuse, Grief, Experiences with Child Welfare and Foster Care Systems, and Experiences with Youth Justice Systems. Additionally, we are working to create and launch more Healthy Coping Skills Toolboxes to be featured widely in LA County Middle and High Schools. Our vision is to be the platform to help make mental and emotional wellbeing a strategic health education goal, embraced and supported across American school systems K-12. We hope to positively impact the lives of thousands of teens and their families across the country and globally.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

As a peer-led movement, we rely on the voices of our teens and young adults. Our Healthy Coping Skills Mental Health Toolboxes contain surveys, and we are currently processing over 85 user surveys from teens who have used our Toolboxes in their Middle School and High School Wellness Rooms, Guidance Offices, and Therapist Offices. This feedback will help inform our Professional Advisory Board and Youth Advisory Board and will allow us to continually improve our materials. Additionally, our website encourages teens who wish to share their stories and feedback to contact us with their experiences. By ensuring that we create helpful and responsive materials, we can also measure our impact through improved scores for anxiety, depression, substance use, and suicidal thoughts. We seek to track our users' experiences with our materials, and how these materials have helped them navigate behavioral healthcare services, reduce absenteeism from school, and choose therapy and supportive services.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 10,000

Indirect Impact: 150,000