After her friends struggled with their mental health, Junior Audrey Yi created an Instagram account called Hugs From Teddy as a safe place for her peers to share their stories.
To submit a story to be posted, a GoogleForm in the Hugs From Teddy account bio must be completed. Someone can choose whether they want to remain anonymous then type out their story to be shared. After Yi makes the post, anyone can comment to give them advice and encouragement.
“I definitely want to help others realize that what they are going through someone else might also go through,” Yi said.
Hugs From Teddy gives people the opportunity to be vulnerable in a safe place.
“Some people are kind of shy to share their feelings,” junior Renee Lee said. “So I think it’s good for those people, like me.”
Yi wants others to realize that they do not have to be okay all the time. They should not have to hide their feelings from people they trust. So the teddy bear gives a sense of comfort to those who share their stories.
“I’d probably explain that Teddy is their mascot or a symbol of love and compassion,” junior Gabriella Torres said. “I know a lot of people associate a teddy bear with childhood or nostalgia, and something that’s always so comforting to them. [So they know] that they’re able to go to a place where they’re able to be heard and you’re able to listen.”
Yi started Hugs From Teddy two weeks ago, but her impact just began.
“When I started this account I didn’t think that people would actually start commenting on stuff,” Yi said. “So seeing that, it was so heartfelt because I didn’t think people would read the whole thing.”