Northland girl sponsors mental health awareness program at school

Jim Cunningham
October 13, 2017 - 7:48 am

North Kansas City High School student Ellie Klopfenstein is sharing her struggles with depression to help others and to bring more awareness to mental health issues.

Klopfenstein has dealt with depression since she was a freshman. The knowledge that others have their own struggles motivated her to found the Stop the Stigma Mental Health Awareness Campaign at her school. 

"I think it's just really important for everyone to know that it's okay if you deal with it, because it happens to everyone and it can happen to anyone," Klopfenstein said.

The campaign covers anxiety, suicide prevention, eating disorders, sexual assault and depression.

Youngsters immediately began opening up to school counselors when the program first launched last year. School sponsor Pat O'Keefe said he's proud of Ellie and hopes other schools and districts will catch on.

"Maybe it'll help out some people, and I think that's the ultimate goal," O'Keefe said. "Let's be there to help them through it because as much as it is to give someone a Tylenol, it shouldn't be a big deal to give somebody a smile."

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