The Hummingbird Campaign strives to share anonymous stories centered around mental health.
The Hummingbird Campaign strives to share anonymous stories centered around mental health.
Shel Zhou

Spread of mental health advocacy through The Hummingbird Campaign

This is the official flyer for The Hummingbird Campaign. More updated ones can be seen around Fossil sharing more information and a new QR code. (Shel Zhou)


The Hummingbird Campaign, created by Shel Zhou, Riya Sajjan, and Annie Tao for a Future Health Professionals (HOSA) state project, is now transforming into something much more. 

“We started a mental health campaign to try and bring awareness about teens’ mental health because we felt like it was really overlooked in our community,” Zhou says. 

The team is promoting the campaign primarily through social media, but also through posters in the halls of Fossil Ridge High School. 

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Tao worked on advertising for the project and connecting with resources such as the Genders & Sexualities Alliances club and Lisa Cole, the mental health specialist at Fossil, and mentor for the project. 

“We felt like [social media] would be the best way to reach out to teens,” Zhou says, since the average amount a student picks up their phone is 51 times per day (K-12 Dive).

Students can share their stories anonymously through the QR code or through their Instagram account @the.hummingbird.campaign, where they will then be read off on the campaign’s YouTube channel, The Hummingbird Campaign.

This QR code brings participants to The Hummingbird Campaign’s Instagram where they are able to find out more about the cause. (The Hummingbird Campaign)

“It’s hard for people to come out with their mental health and tell people how they’re feeling because they feel like they’ll be judged,” Tao says, the campaign being a way for people to tell their stories without receiving judgment and gain that personal connection. 

“When there’s a podcast where we’re actually reading anonymous responses where people are talking about their personal experiences people will be like ‘Oh yeah, I struggle with that too’,” Sajjan says. 

The group originally wanted to focus on suicide prevention, but as they did more research they realized it might be more beneficial to widen the demographic into all mental health cases.

“A lot of topics in mental health are interconnected, like drug use, family history, or being queer,” Zhou says.

They originally began their project for the HOSA state competition, HOSA being a club for health care. 

“I started off the campaign for HOSA because it was a great way to springboard the project by presenting it at our state competition,” Zhou says.

At the competition, Zhou and their teammates presented a slideshow along with the first completed episode of their podcast. They ended up placing fourth out of fifteen teams.

The first episode revolved around obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), boundaries, and where to get help if need be. They had a guest speaker from Fossil’s Ambassadors, discussing more about mental health and their knowledge regarding the subject. 

“There’s a lot of stigma and teens our age don’t want to talk about it,” Zhou states, yet the best way they believe to reduce the stigma is simply to talk about it.

“The more we talk about mental health, the less scary or embarrassing of a topic it becomes, even if our campaign is a very small step,” Zhou says. 

In Zhou’s culture, a hummingbird symbolizes joy and happiness and it is also a small and fast animal, similar to the spread of ideas on social media, thus the Hummingbird Campaign’s name was born.

I think it’s important to note other people’s experiences… if you know other people’s experiences you can gain more empathy

— Annie Tao

Their podcast on YouTube is currently unavailable for the public to access, but will be up with more episodes at the start of next fall. 

They are separating the podcast from Fossil and HOSA so they will not have a limit on what they can and cannot say and have complete freedom with the project. 

“We hope to gain more people to see our campaign so maybe they can help their own mental health needs,” Tao says. 

Another goal they have is to publicize their content more by connecting with other health services in Colorado to promote their own campaign.

Over this coming summer, the team plans to continue chipping away at the campaign to give the best product they can to the public, emphasizing the importance of the message they are sending. 

“[The Hummingbird Campaign is] still progressing, we’re still going to continue this on,” Sajjan says.  

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