One Smile Effect is a global organization run by an international team of students, leaders, and changemakers with a shared passion for mental health activism. It is also the first only student-led mental health organization in Turkey. It aims to enhance the psychological well-being of young people by promoting mental health awareness and mental health education.
Elif Kaya, a 15-year-old mental health advocate from Turkey, realized the detrimental effect of COVID-19 on youth mental health with a research project she was doing. She wanted to connect with youth, support them emotionally during these challenging times and create a social togetherness even though everyone was physically distant from each other. She says she agreed that the world is horrible, but she believed that it can be less horrible if everyone did something about it. That's why she decided to take action and launched an online platform named One Smile Effect.
As Elif engaged more with young leaders from around the world and learned more about their countries, she realized the big gap in mental health awareness and mental health education. So, she decided to redirect One Smile Effect's focus on awareness and education, which indirectly contributed to her initial goal of making young people feel better and supported.
Since its launch in April 2020, One Smile Effect has reached many teens from over 55 countries and spread awareness and education with its “by youth, for youth” approach. The Smiles (One Smile Effect volunteers & ambassadors) are working hard to spread their mission even further.