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The topic for the annual mental health essay contest is “The Real Me vs. The Me I Show Others.” The question asked of teens is “Do you present your true self, or do you change your external image for others?”

Writers are asked to do the following:

Include personal experiences or, with permission, those of a close personal friend to tell a powerful story;

Use good organization, correct spelling and punctuation;

Keep the length at 250-500 words and use standard 12-point type and double-spacing;

Allow their unique voices to be heard;

Include all identifying information (name, address, phone number, email address, school and grade-level) on a separate cover letter or in the body of the email, rather than putting it on the essay itself;

Mail the essay and separate information to MHANS, 2120 Lincoln St., Evanston 60201 or email to info@mhans.org.

Be certain that entries are postmarked or emailed on or before March 31.

The high school essay contest is sponsored by the Mental Health America of the North Shore. Prizes ranging from $50 to $200 will be awarded in two grade categories: ninth and tenth grades and eleventh and twelfth grades.