Prosser HS starts new campaign to raise awareness about mental i - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Prosser HS starts new campaign to raise awareness about mental illness

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PROSSER, WA - A new Netflix series is creating a lot of buzz regarding its theme of teen suicide, with some critics accusing the show of over-simplifying mental illness. One local high school decided to start a campaign to open the dialogue about mental illness throughout the school.

Reporter Rex Carlin learned that Prosser High School's leadership students are using their platform at the school to give hope to students and staff suffering from mental illness.

"They're not able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, so the people that share their stories of hope have reached the light at the end of their tunnel," said Sariah Bosted, a Prosser High School student. "And they need to let people know that you can get to that light."

The leadership class, with some help from faculty, decided to provide an avenue for those voices to be heard. That's where '13 Stories of Hope' comes in.

"The idea of having faculty and students share their story of mental illness struggles and that they were able to get through it, whether it was through counseling, medication, support of family or friends," said Kimberly Starr, the theatre arts teacher.

Every morning for 13 days, when the daily bulletin is read to the students, their teachers read a testimonial written anonymously by a student or staff member.

And that's not all.

Posters line the walls, compliments hang from areas of the school in English and Spanish, and the TV monitors at the school are also involved.

For these students, it's about taking the stigma away from mental illness, and hopefully tying up the perceived loose ends from the show's plot so people know that mental illness plays a significant role in teen suicide.

"They did touch on the bullying part and how it affected the main character, but they didn't touch on how mental illness affects you very greatly," said Maili Wells, another Prosser High School student.

13 Stories of Hope...giving voices to the people others need to hear from the most, and filling in some of the gaps they believe were left by a TV show reaching many of those same people.

You can read the testimonials on Prosser High School's Facebook page by clicking here: https://www.facebook.com/Prosser-High-School-Mustangs-580144802014134/

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