– Gabriella Frost, founder & CEO of Buddy Project
It’s a difficult truth to acknowledge, but universities are increasingly becoming aware of the growing number of students suffering from mental health issues, as well as the need to address them before it’s too late.
In 2013, one student, after realizing that many of her peers didn’t have anyone to confide in, set up her own initiative to offer support to students in need of a listening ear.
Gabriella Frost, now a freshman at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, founded the Buddy Project, a non-profit movement that “aims to prevent suicide and self-harm by pairing people as buddies and raising awareness for mental health”.
Those who wish to receive a ‘buddy’ can sign up on the website, and Frost will pair you up with another member of similar age and interests, such as music, TV shows, or hobbies.
Users can also specify whether they would prefer a buddy who lives in the same time zone or speaks a different language, such as French or Spanish.
Organs can get sick. Brains are an organ. Mental illnesses are completely valid and real. #WorldMentalHealthDay
— Buddy Project (@ProjectBuddy) October 10, 2016
As of August this year, over 143,000 people have signed up to the project.
Speaking to USA Today College, Frost said that while over 50 percent of those who signed up are aged between 16 to 18, there are also quite a number above the age of 25.
“People should know that mental health issues are very real.
“Just because you can’t see how it’s affecting someone doesn’t mean it’s not going on in that person’s head,” said Frost.
The website also offers resources, such as the numbers of helplines based on country, suggestions on how to ease stress/anxiety, as well as articles covering a range of mental health topics, from bulimia to post-traumatic stress disorder.
Want to know more? Here’s a useful guide explaining the link between addiction and anxiety.
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