Teacher with Pupils

Founded in 2013, Pop Culture Hero Coalition is the first 501(c)(3) organization to use evidence-based psychology in combination with heroic characters and stories, teaching social emotional learning and bullying prevention in ways that children and teens find relatable. 


Our work:

  • Is based on key research.

  • Is created by pop-culture-fluent clinical psychologists and veteran educators.

  • Is rooted in Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) principals.

  • Features the prevention and treatment of all forms of bullying, physical and psychological violence, inequity, and discrimination. 

  • Incorporates restorative practices as a core component.


In 2021, our Heroic Journey Curriculum for K - 8th grade is impacting approximately 200,000 children and their parents through our national Partnership with YMCA USA. 


Available for Schools • Online Events • Community Centers 

Children’s Hospitals • Homes During COVID


Pop Culture Hero Coalition provides mental health, social emotional learning, and bullying prevention tools and programs for children and teens. By using evidence-based psychology in combination with stories and characters kids loves, we transform struggles into strengths.



Every child deserves to be mentally healthy. And secure, empathetic, and resilient kids are the key to a positive future for us all.


But research shows kids are often focused on more urgent issues: depression, anxiety, fear, shame, loneliness, self-doubt, anger, addiction, and suicidal ideation.


The Heroic Journey harnesses the phenomenon of stories kids love, along with evidence-based psychology — and teaches them to be heroes, for themselves and for each other.  


    The issue of bullying in schools is widespread and devastating to students of all ages. According to StopBullying.gov, with data by Robers, et al, in 2013:

    • 37% of 6th grade students are victims of bullying

    • 28% of Junior High and High school students are victims of bullying

    • 160,000 kids stay home each day because of fear of bullying

    49.8% of tweens (9 to 12 years old) said they experienced bullying at school and 14.5% of tweens shared they experienced bullying online. [10]


    Research shows that students who have been bullied are more likely to develop:

    • School avoidance and lower academic achievement 

    • Psychosomatic problems such as headaches, stomach aches, sleep problems, and poor appetite 

    • Low self-esteem 

    • Depression

    • Anxiety

    • Later problems with alcohol and other drugs 


    • LGBTQIA+ youth are 4 times more likely, and questioning youth are 3 times more likely, to attempt suicide than their straight peers [2]

    • Suicide attempts by LGBTQIA+ youth and questioning youth are 4 to 6 times more likely to result in injury, poisoning, or overdose that requires treatment from a doctor or nurse, compared to their straight peers. [3]

    • Nearly half of young transgender people have seriously thought about taking their lives, and one quarter report having made a suicide attempt. [4]

    • LGBTQIA+ youth who come from highly rejecting families are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGBTQIA+ peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection. [5]

    • Each episode of LGBTQIA+ victimization, such as physical or verbal harassment or abuse, increases the likelihood of self-harming behavior by 2.5 times on average. [8]


    Kids spend an average of 44.5 hours online each week. 

    • 37 percent of cyberbullying incidents go unreported.

    According to the iSafe Foundation:

    • At least 52% of teens have been bullied online.

    • 35% of children have actually been threatened online, some more than once.

    • About 53 percent of children have said something that was mean or hurtful to someone else online.

    According to the Teen Online & Wireless Safety Survey conducted in 2009:

    • 34 percent of those who participated in cyberbullying did so both as victims and as bullies.

    According to a 2013 survey carried out by Trolled Nation, on behalf of Knowthenet.org:

    • 37 percent of cyberbullying incidents go unreported.

    • Almost 85 percent of 19-year-old males have admitted to being victims of cyberbullying incidents without reporting them.


    It is difficult to determine causation between bullying and suicidal ideation, but there is correlation bet bullying and depression and anxiety, which cause elevated risk for suicidal ideation. 

    • Suicide is the second leading cause of death in young people ages 10 - 24 [1]

    • 4400 Young People Commit Suicide Each Year

    • 1 out of 6 students nationwide (grades 9-12) seriously considered suicide in the past year

    • For every suicide, there are at least 100 suicide attempts

    • Some studies show that 80% of teen suicides may be attributable to bullying [9]

    • Suicide attempts are nearly two times higher among Black and Hispanic youth than White youth. [7]

[1] CDC, NCIPC. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online]. (2010) {2013 Aug. 1}.  Available from:www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars. 

[2] CDC. (2011). Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health-Risk Behaviors Among Students in Grades 9-12: Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

[3] CDC. (2011). Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health-Risk Behaviors Among Students in Grades 9-12: Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

[4] Grossman, A.H. & D'Augelli, A.R. (2007). Transgender Youth and Life-Threatening Behaviors. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behaviors.37(5), 527-37.

[5] Family Acceptance Project™. (2009). Family rejection as a predictor of negative health outcomes in white and Latino lesbian, gay, and bisexual young adults. Pediatrics. 123(1), 346-52.

[6] CDC. (2011). Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance – United States, 2011. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

[7] CDC. (2011). Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance – United States, 2011. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

[8] IMPACT. (2010). Mental health disorders, psychological distress, and suicidality in a diverse sample of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youths. American Journal of Public Health. 100(12), 2426-32.


[9] JAMA Pediatrics Network study, 2013.

[10] Patchin & Hinduja, 2020


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Please email - info@PopCultureHero.org

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Pop Culture Hero Coalition is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

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