CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A Chesterfield teenager is hoping to help end the stigma associated with teenage depression and anxiety.
Evelyn Ivey plans to shave her head if she meets her goal of raising money for charity.
“$13,000 for 13 years of happiness and healthiness,” Evelyn Ivey said.
Ivey said even though she’s lived a happy life, she knows other teenagers are fighting a secret battle.
“When someone has anxiety or depression you can’t always tell,” Ivey said.
She also knows teenagers might not know the power in their words.
“You hear people joking in the hall they’re like, ‘go kill yourself’ jokingly and it’s really not something you should joke about,” Ivey said. “Some people will really take that seriously.”
It was about a year ago when Ivey found out about the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation. The organization brings awareness about teenage depression and anxiety and Ivey know she wanted to get involved.
“It’s not just that someone’s raising money,” said Executive Director Grace Gallagher. “It is someone who is a peer to the people we are trying to serve.”
According to the foundation, one-in-four teenagers suffer from mental illness. 80% can be treated successfully yet less than 33% of those seek help.
The foundation was set up in honor of Cameron Gallagher, a teenager who died suddenly after running in a half marathon.
“She lives on because this is her message,” Cameron’s mother said.
Cameron herself suffered from anxiety and depression.
“A lot of people brush it off as ‘they are just teens and there is a lot going on,’” Gallagher said. “She didn’t want to just sit back and say we just have a lot going on, she wanted to say we are hurting and I care and I don’t want anybody to feel alone because I know what that feels like.”
Now, the foundation provides help to both kids and their parents by providing therapy outlets, positive activities and a safe place for teenagers.
For Ivey, she said this is one the most important issues teenagers should be talking about. She hopes this fundraising campaign will spread one message.
“You’re worth it,” said Ivey. “It can get better and it will get better.”
Evelyn even bumped up her goal to raise $13,100 to represent Cameron’s final race of 13.1 miles.
You can donate to her fundraiser by clicking here; she will shave her head June 9th.
For more information and resources provided by the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation, you can visit their website.