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How To Pitch Essays To BuzzFeed Health For Mental Health Week

Want to pitch personal essays, relevant criticism, or a first-person account of a mental health experience? Here’s how!

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What is BuzzFeed Health?

Dola Sun for BuzzFeed News

Health is BuzzFeed’s home for trustworthy coverage of all kinds of health-related topics, including sexual and reproductive health, mental health, fitness and nutrition, and more. We strive to be inclusive and aggressively non-judgmental in our approach, and to cover/report on/represent as wide a range of experiences as possible.

What is Mental Health Week?

From October 2 through 8, 2017, BuzzFeed Health will be publishing a lineup of content (reporting, essays, first-person accounts, videos, and more) on mental health, mental illness, access to care, treatment, and related topics. It’s timed to coincide with Mental Illness Awareness Week and our goal is to amplify the voices and stories of people for whom mental illness has played a key role in their lives.

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1. Personal essays and first-person accounts

Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

Maybe you have a strong voice and something to say about your own (or a loved one’s) experience with mental health/illness, addiction, sobriety, treatment, etc. Or perhaps you have a story or angle that you feel like people haven’t heard about too much (or at all), whether it's because the topic is challenging or because voices like yours aren’t heard that often. Perhaps you want to share analysis or insight about the intersection of mental health and another part of your identity, like race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexuality, size, ability, or socioeconomic status. Maybe you want to share things you’ve learned about addiction or recovery, or round up things you wish you knew about in-patient mental health treatment before experiencing it. Or maybe you want to share the things that have helped you since you got a diagnosis.

Personal essays in both the traditional narrative form or the more BuzzFeed-y list form are welcome! They can be heartbreaking or heartwarming, earnest or funny, or some combo of all of these.

• My Best Friend Saved Me When I Attempted Suicide, But I Didn’t Save Her

• 7 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Being In Love When You're Bipolar

Why Do I Miss Being Bipolar?

• When Taking Anxiety Medication Is A Revolutionary Act

• Who Gets To Be The "Good Schizophrenic"?

• I Can't Live Without Fear, But I Can Learn To Be OK With It

• What It’s Like Having PPD As A Black Woman

2. Mental health-related cultural criticism

Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed / Fox

A good critical essay for Mental Health Week will look at something mental health- or illness-related being explored (or persistently left unexplored) in pop culture. It should discuss the trend and what that might indicate about the moment we’re in culturally. It should also broaden the existing conversation and advance it in a significant way. And by the way, we welcome celebration as well as criticism.

• I Finally Found A TV Character Whose Depression Looks Like Mine

• How YouTubers Like Zoella Capitalize On The Self-Care Movement

How long should my essay be?

For personal essays, 1500-2500 words is a good range to aim for; cultural criticism pieces tend to run a little longer, around 2000-4000 words. But at the end of the day, quality matters more than word count, and length can vary depending on the piece.

What if I have an idea for something that doesn’t fit one of the above categories?

Haejin Park / BuzzFeed / Via buzzfeed.com

We still want to hear about them, everything from original illustrations and comics to photo essays, or a piece that blends a first-person account with reporting or criticism.

Do you pay?

Yes! We pay competitive rates.

How should I submit my essay or pitch?

Please email healthpitches@buzzfeed.com with a concise note that explains the core of your idea, how you’ll support it, and why it matters by Friday September 8th. Or, even better (particularly for personal essays), send a full first draft of your piece. Please attach drafts as Word files or Google docs, rather than pasting the text in the body of the email. If you’re not sending along a full draft, please include some clips.

Due to the volume of submissions, we’re not able to respond to all emails individually. But if we’re interested, we’ll get back to you within one week. If your pitch is truly time-sensitive and you need a response sooner, please note that in the subject line.

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