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Reflecting on 23 Years of TeenHelp!
by TeenHelp July 16th 2021, 02:32 AM

Reflecting on 23 Years of TeenHelp!
By Stacey (Stacey) and Dez (Wheek!)

TeenHelp turned 23 years old on July 13, 2021! To celebrate, myself (Stacey) and Wheek! (Dez) took some time to reflect on our years on TH and talk to other “oldies/OG/long-time” members. For many of us long-time members, TH started as a safe, supportive community that helped us through all kinds of challenges but quickly became more than that; with many of us developing life-long friendships and shifting to Staff roles in order to give back. Here’s a glimpse of what TeenHelp has meant to us and what keeps us coming back all these years later.


TH Forums in November 2005

Q: When did you first join TH/How long have you been a TH member?

Wheek!: “10 years - I joined November 15, 2010.”
Stacey: “I originally joined in 2004 under the username BrokenInsanity. I’ve been on TH off and on for 17 years now!”
.:Bibliophile:.: “I first joined in 2007 but I did not become a regular member until 2009”
Horsefeathers.: “ I joined in September 2009, and aside from a couple of breaks I’ve been an active member since then.”
Garyl: “I first joined TeenHelp in 2005. I lost track of my old account and joined again in January of 2009. Altogether I've been a member of TH for sixteen years.”
CaptainCastle: “I joined TH June 2005.”

Q: What’s an old forum or feature of TH that you miss (e.g. arcade)?

Wheek!: “I miss the old Chat Room, but the new one is amazing as well! I just had a lot of memories in the old one.”
Stacey: “Oh man, I LOVED the arcade and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t gutted when I came back after a long hiatus to see that it was no longer around (though I understand why). I also loved the old chat room but that’s probably tied more to memories than the chat itself.”
Horsefeathers.: “I may be a little biased, but I’ll always have a soft spot for Avatar.”
CaptainCastle: “I think the feature I miss most is actually the arcade.”


TH Arcade

Q: What’s a current/new forum or feature of TH that you love?

Wheek!: “Besides the Chat Room, I really like the themed calendar with different suggestions, ideas, and activities”
Stacey: “I love that the articles section has really expanded and become such a helpful feature for the site. I also love the more recent addition of the “Young at Heart” forums because I’m an oldie (by TH’s target audience standards).”
Horsefeathers.: “I really enjoy the Alternatives and Coping Methods page. The interactive design makes it easy to find what you’re looking for, and the “Show me a new alternative button” is a) very useful and b) a good distraction in itself.”
Garyl: “Being as I am an adult, I really like the new "Young At Heart" section. I've enjoyed contributing to several threads there and I am glad TeenHelp realizes there is room for all its users, from teens onward into adulthood. It's very inclusive!”
CaptainCastle: ”My favourite current feature of TH is the chatroom. It's a great way to get to know other members.”

Q: What keeps you coming back to TH after all these years?

Wheek!: “The people keep me coming back! I enjoy talking to members I have known for several years as well as meeting new people. I think we can all relate to each other at least to some degree and it’s nice just to be able to relax and have a chat.”
Stacey: “Honestly, the community and relationships I’ve built on this website are like nothing else I’ve experienced. It will always have a special place in my heart and for that reason, I think I’ll be back for the foreseeable future to help in whatever ways that I can.”
.:Bibliophile:.: “I keep coming back because of the people and being able to continue to help support other members”
Horsefeathers.: “As cheesy as it is, TeenHelp will always feel like home to me. I’ve made some incredible friends through the site and been involved in some rewarding projects. TeenHelp was one of the first places I ever felt truly welcome, and where my insight and contributions were valued and appreciated. Although the site is a lot quieter these days, it’s still a friendly community and a good place for support and advice.”
Garyl: “The TeenHelp community has honestly been one of the biggest blessings in my life, and has been for many years. The support I have found here, and the connections I have made, have transcended all I ever thought I could get from a website like this. It truly is a family. There is community and solidarity amongst us veterans, but every day we welcome new members to the site. I enjoy seeing how TH continues to grow and how we can better help our community, if not the world.”
CaptainCastle: “I keep coming back because it's a supportive community and a safe place.”

Q: Do you have a favourite thread (e.g. word association game or compliments thread)?

Wheek!: “I like the Self Harm Free thread because not only does it help me see my progress, it also helps me to encourage other people to keep going.”
Stacey: “I don’t think I have a favourite, really. I think all the games threads are fun though, and any thread where we share what we’re reading or listening to at the moment.”
Horsefeathers.: “Song/Quote of the day! I’ve always had trouble expressing my emotions, so I enjoy having access to a thread where you can throw out a quote or some song lyrics that relate to how you’re feeling.”
Garyl: “Actually, the word association thread happens to be my favorite. I love word games!”
CaptainCastle: “The game threads are my favourite.”

Q: What is your favourite experience/memory you have had while on TH?

Wheek!: “IRAW! Iraw is a country that was developed out of Rob typing Iraq incorrectly in the chat room. We even made up positions we could hold in our new country.”
Stacey: “I really loved being a part of the chat room back in my first few years on the site. There was a great group of us (Rob included!) that would be on there pretty much daily, just talking about everyday life, supporting each other if needed and just talking about random stuff. It was a great time, and definitely where I developed most of my TH relationships and really started to feel that sense of community.”
.:Bibliophile:.: “When I was going through recovery with self-harm I was in chat most the day and I talked a lot with Eaty and Dez. They helped me through my recovery (without knowing it) and I found a safe place. That is why I have enjoyed seeing the Discord server become more active”
Horsefeathers.: “I’d have to say Iraw. For those who weren’t here for this momentous event: one time in chat, Project Coordinator Rob mistyped “Iraq” as “Iraw”, and a few of us ran with it and created a fictional place with that name. We all had different roles within Iraw (I think I was on the sniper squad?), and even created a Social Group for it. More and more people got in on the joke, to the point that it wasn’t uncommon to see “Iraw” or “For Iraw” listed as people’s location.”
Garyl: “Probably just being in chat. I've been on and off of chat for years, and I really like that it has now moved to Discord. So much stuff happens in the chat, from the silly to the supportive, and it's great to be a part of that quick-fire environment.”
CaptainCastle: “That's really hard to say, there have been so many good experiences. It always feels good to be able to help someone, and there's been a lot of fun conversations in the chat over the years.”

Q: What would you like to share with new members (either related to getting the most from the site or a general sentiment)?


Wheek!: “I know it can be scary to reach out, but I strongly encourage you to do so. Whether it’s posting in the Forums, using the Chat Room, or using another feature, you deserve support and people who care about you. A lot of the people here do not judge you and would love nothing more to help or be a friendly face.”
Stacey: “Reaching out can be daunting, but if you’ve stumbled across TH then you’ve likely been looking for a place to feel welcome and supported and this is it! Whatever you’re going through, you are not alone. TH offers support in so many ways - reach out in whatever way you feel most comfortable, we’re here for you.”
Horsefeathers.: “Don’t be afraid to reach out! It can be intimidating to put yourself out there, especially when you’re feeling low, but TeenHelp is full of kind, compassionate people who are there to help.”
Garyl: “Don't be scared to reach out. This community is founded on the idea of support and connection amongst people from all walks of life. There is room for everyone, so try opening up; you might be surprised at what you find!”
CaptainCastle: “I would like to tell new members (both younger and older) how supportive and inclusive a place TH is, and to make use of all the ways of getting help when it's needed. As well as to come in chat to talk everyone even when it's not!”

Q: What are your hopes for TH in the future?

Wheek!: ”I’d like to see more younger people on staff and younger people directing where the site goes. The site is for teens after all, so their voices are important.”
Stacey: TH is a great resource, one I know many teens would benefit from accessing. I’d like to see TH continue to grow and adapt in ways that appeal to its target demographic - like the move to Discord has done.”
.:Bibliophile:.: “Garner more activity and continue working on supporting those in need.”
Horsefeathers.: “Ideally, I’d love to see more people joining up and sticking around. The userbase seems to skew older these days, and it would be great to see some younger folks discovering and falling in love with TH, the way I did when I was a teen.”
Garyl: “I hope it continues to grow and attract people from all over the world. We all have a unique journey and it's a gift to be able to share that with others. I know staff are doing a great job of thinking of ways to reach out to the population at large.”
CaptainCastle: “I really hope TH is around for a long time yet to help many members to come!”

We are excited to see TeenHelp grow, evolve, and continue to support people. We are also thankful for all the members of the site that make TeenHelp the safe, welcoming environment that many people have come to love. Here’s to many more amazing years!
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