When Katelyn was growing up, she always knew that her mother struggled with mental illnesses. Unfortunately, mental health was so stigmatized in Hong Kong that her mother refused to admit to having depression and was adamant against seeking help or trying therapy. Katelyn had to watch her mum's mood deteriorate day by day. Additionally, one of her best friends was suicidal and harmed herself consistently. Being surrounded by people she truly cared for who were struggling so much, she was desperate to make a difference by raising awareness of mental health and providing free therapy for teenagers who wanted to get better but couldn't afford to do so.
In the beginning, they started by posting helpful information related to general well-being on Instagram: Ben wrote the posts, and Katelyn designed them. Over time, as their social media account grew, more and more other teenagers wished to help, while they also began establishing connections with politicians, schools and other charities. This is when they decided MHN was capable of expanding its operations and making a bigger difference. Since then, MHN has been committed to providing free tutoring sessions and free professional therapy sessions for teenagers who wish to seek help but cannot afford to. By recruiting licensed counselling professionals, hundreds of teenagers have benefitted from therapy they otherwise wouldn't have been able to access.
Ben and Katelyn also realised that to change how the mental health of teenagers is protected in society and to truly make an impact, they needed to work with politicians and schools. Via their school council comprising over 200 students all from different schools and a comprehensive questionnaire completed by 5,000+ teenagers, they recently penned an 11-page report outlining suggestions that can be implemented by schools and the government. By collaborating with a variety of schools across different countries and dozens of national politicians such as the UK MP David Johnston, MHN is communicating daily with decision-makers to improve the well-being of future teenagers.
As MHN embarks on its fourth year of operations, we are as committed as ever to supporting as many teenagers as we can. With an ever-expanding team of volunteers and ambitious ideas, we are excited by what our future holds!