“Teens4Teens: Together We Thrive” Contest Highlights Teen Mental Health

New Jersey high school students of all grade levels are invited to participate in the second annual teen mental health awareness PSA contest “Teens4Teens: Together We Thrive” by submitting an original Public Service Announcement highlighting their strategies for staying healthy, positively coping, and supporting their peers during the pandemic. There are three ways to enter: through graphic art, writing or video. Students can submit a digital poster: size 11inch by 11inch (1080 X 1080 pixels) as jpg files, a written poem, short essay (up to 300 words) or lyrics, or a video of 30 to 60 seconds as mp4 files. Complete contest details and rules are available online.

One statewide winner will receive a top prize of $400 and one statewide runner up will receive a prize of $150. A total of three regional winners will receive $200 each and three regional runners up will receive $100 each. The North region includes Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Sussex, and Warren Counties. The Central Region includes Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset, and Union Counties. The South Region includes Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem Counties.  Winners, selected by regional community leaders and celebrity judge, Joetta Clark, Four-Time Olympian and Author, will be announced on June 8, 2021.

All entries should be submitted by email to contest@empowersomerset.com with the student’s first and last name, high school, grade, project title, contact phone number and email and Parent or Guardian name and email/phone number to indicate approval. The deadline for all entries is 10:00 pm on Sunday, May 30, 2021. Contest questions can also be submitted by email to contest@empowersomerset.com.

The contest is being offered in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month during the month of May.  Student entries should convey what it feels like to be a teen during this time of social distancing and promote mental wellness and support for those who may be going through a difficult time.  Entries should address ways of coping, keeping a positive focus, caring for oneself and supporting high school peers. Inclusion of the 2nd Floor Youth Helpline 888-222-2228 in the entries is required. Please visit 2ndfloor.org

This contest is made possible with funding from the New Jersey Department of Health, Child and Adolescent Health Program, Title V Maternal and Child Health Block Grant. It is a collaborative effort of three regional partners, Center for Prevention and Counseling in North Jersey, Empower Somerset in Central Jersey and AtlantiCare in South Jersey.

The first time this contest was offered in 2020, approximately 250 submissions were received throughout the state. A list of 2020 winners and their original submissions can be viewed online.

“Social distancing and virtual education have continued much longer than many of us expected,” said Kristen Schiro, Director of Health and Wellness at Empower Somerset. “We are offering this contest to give teens an outlet to be heard and understood, and to be acknowledged for the incredible resiliency they have shown during this challenging time.”