Need someone to talk to? This university student started a non-profit to help students in need of a confidant

“Having just one friend to support you through the hardships of your life can really make a difference. I created Buddy Project to show that to the world.”
– Gabriella Frost, founder & CEO of Buddy Project
Suicide is a leading cause of death among college students in the U.S., according to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.

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.

Just because you can’t see mental illnesses doesn’t mean they aren’t real

A photo posted by Buddy Project (@buddyproject) on

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.

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.

Image via Instagram

Liked this? Then you’ll love these…

‘1-in-3 students are affected by depression and loneliness’: How should universities address mental health?

If university isn’t where students can find ‘safe spaces’, then where else?