Letters to Strangers (L2S) is a global youth-run 501(c)(3) nonprofit seeking to destigmatize mental illness and increase access to affordable, quality treatment for youth aged 13 to 24. We want mental health made personal, because each person deserves to be treated as the individual they are. No one's identity should be buried beneath statistics. Indeed: often there is nothing greater than a person-to-person human connection.
L2S achieves our mission through three pathways: anonymous handwritten letter exchanges, science-informed peer education, and grassroot policy-based advocacy.
Letter-writing is our namesake and primary program. Members of our Chapters (usually in the form of student clubs on campuses) write anonymous, heartfelt letters that aim to share their vulnerabilities and offer support for those who are fighting through difficult times. These letters are distributed either within Chapters, to other Chapters, or to community youth organizations called Partner Sites. We believe that writing is humanity distilled into ink, and we want the human connection to foster empathy one letter at a time.
For peer eductation, Letters to Strangers partners with schools and other mental health organizations to provide training and talks for youth around the world. We facilitate a unique youth-for-youth educational mental health module designed and researched in-house and delivered to thousands of American high schoolers a year.
On the advocacy side, we fight for the mental health community by staying updated on current mental health-related legislation and issues. Chapters on school campuses work with administrative staff to foster changes in the mental health dialogue and system at their institutions, such as bringing in mental health professionals to campus for the first time or creating a history-making student-run mental health task force.