To Write Love on Her Arms

Website review by
Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media
To Write Love on Her Arms Website Poster Image
Strong support-finding tool, but other content is too light.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Educational Value

Kids can learn where to get support for addiction, depression and anxiety, eating disorders, self-injury or suicidal thoughts, trauma, and other concerns. They can read about personal experiences people have had with depression, grief, abuse, and other issues in blog posts. A Get Involved section promotes volunteerism. Overall, the site may serve as a chance for kids to develop a sense of empathy and understanding for other people's mental health-related experiences and their own.

Positive Messages

Features a repeatedly hopeful, supportive, encouraging tone. Site visitors are told that their story matters and that better experiences lie ahead.

Violence

Some blog posts mention assault, but not in a gratuitous way.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

An online store sells branded goods, and the site solicits and accepts donations.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Kids can find addiction-related resources through the site, and some blog posts touch on alcohol and drug abuse.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the main content on To Write Love on Her Arms, the website from the nonprofit organization of the same name, involves search capabilities that can help connect kids and adults to counseling and other external mental health resources. The site also has some background information about the organization's founding and ways to volunteer with it, ranging from hosting a benefit for it locally to asking people to make a donation on Facebook for your birthday. But aside from a series of blog posts on various topics, the content is fairy static, and any topics on violence are handled without being gratuitous. The store does offer branded items and asks for money from users.

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What's it about?

The TO WRITE LOVE ON HER ARMS nonprofit connects people struggling with concerns such as depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide with counseling and other resources. The site offers a searchable database that lists location-based support groups, treatment programs, and other options. Site visitors can tailor searches to show specific results, such as programs for certain age groups. Information on getting involved with the organization and blog posts on anxiety, eating disorders, addiction, and other topics are also featured.

Is it any good?

The site offers a way to find assistance for a number of mental health-related concerns in your geographic area. On To Write Love on Her Arms, kids can specify the type of help they're looking for (such as counseling) and their ZIP code, and its search tool will generate a list of local results. They can then use personal, program, or income-related filters to narrow their options down further. They can find support options based on income eligibility, for instance -- or search for offerings that are free or provided for a reduced cost. They can set filters to find assistance that's online, over the phone, provided in person, or available on weekends. They can also locate programs that correlate to age, citizenship, gender, certain mental and physical health concerns, identity and sexual orientation, and other criteria.

The search tool is probably the site's biggest selling point, but it can feel lost among the other content. The link to the tool is listed in the main site navigation but isn't really called out or otherwise highlighted on the homepage or in other sections. Links to the backstory about the nonprofit's founding seem to be more prominently emphasized, which, although it's compelling, site visitors may not find as helpful. A blog provides some well-written personal narrative accounts of depression, dealing with grief, and other situations. New posts are added sometimes nine or 10 times a month -- but there isn't too much additional content to check out. The search tool just involves brief descriptions of services offered by external organizations. Kids will probably need to research mental health issues that are mentioned separately if they have questions about them -- educational information isn't provided for each topic. In general, the site doesn't provide a deep well of reading or viewing material, but it can serve as a valid destination that people visit for help finding the support they need from organizations outside of To Write Love on Her Arms.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about asking for help dealing with some of the serious issues that are mentioned on To Write Love on Her Arms. Why should kids tell an adult if they're struggling with an eating disorder, anxiety, or another concern?

  • What are some ways kids can express themselves positively when they're feeling sad or upset?

  • How can you filter out negative messages about self-image to focus on feeling positive about yourself?

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