Today, on Global Mental Health Day, the International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression (iFred) launches a global challenge to spread Hope. They invite participants to share the one thing they turn to when feeling hopeless, anxious, depressed or stressed through a contest on the HeroX platform where the top three videos will win prize money ($1,000, $500, and $250). Kicking things off with powerful submissions from Jack.org’s network of young leaders, the goal is to help inspire others to create, maintain, and sustain hope by sharing a 30 second video of what individuals do in their darkest hour to get through periods of hopelessness and work to get back to a hopeful state of mind.

Suicide and depression among youth are growing at alarming rates, with 36% of girls in the US alone self-reporting depression prior to graduating high school. Suicide is now the leading cause of death for 15-19 year-old girls, even though depression and anxiety are treatable and suicide is preventable. A recent study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health suggests that 1 in 9 kids attempt suicide prior to graduating high school, 40% of whom are in grade school. As hopelessness is the primary predictor of suicide, and number one symptom of depression, iFred focuses on teaching hope globally based on research it is a teachable skill.

While sharing a message alone won’t create a hopeful mindset, the campaign aims to start the global conversation and bring awareness about the need to learn about the importance of hope. iFred has a full free global curriculum called Schools for Hope comprised of 12 lessons for youth ages 8-12. The organization hopes to grow the curriculum across all ages and languages as the program gains momentum and funding.

The Global Hope Challenge launches on October 10th, World Mental Health Day, and asks organizations, advocates, and individuals to enter and share the contest by submitting the video on the HeroX campaign page and then sharing using the hashtags #OneThing & #Hope. The contest is open to all, though individuals under the age of 18 need parental permission. The hashtags represent the power of having one thing you can turn to since everyone needs at least one thing for hope to help deal with any situation life may bring.

Participants create and share a short video with their personal experience with depression, anxiety, and/or feeling hopeless (if they want), and also must identify one thing they do to create a hopeful state. Voting opens online January 1st, where all can vote on the messages, lifting up the ones they find most helpful and inspirational. Entries are allowed from October 10th through December 31st, 2017, and voting occurs January 1-31st. Winners are to be announced and videos shared at the Global Mental Health Movement’s meeting in South Africa on February 8, 2017.

We hope you join the Global Hope Challenge today at www.herox.com/hope.