Students partner with Vera French to stop the stigma surrounding mental health

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DAVENPORT, Iowa  --  Davenport West High School and North High School teamed up to raise awareness for World Mental Health Day, October 10, 2018.

Ben Gabriel, a member of West High School's drum line, helped create a fundraiser after a fellow band member was hospitalized for mental health issues.

"We wanted to show everyone that it's not just somebody you don't know," Gabriel said. "It can be someone who is right next to you or even someone who is your closest friend."

The two schools' drum lines sold t-shirts and performed together outside the Vera French Community Mental Health Center. All of the proceeds raised will be donated to Vera French to expand their child services such as school-based therapy, Rick's House of Hope, and camp scholarships.

"Youth will struggle from time to time," Vera French CEO Richard Whitaker said. " It's our job to support them in their struggles and to provide them with all the resources that they need."
Whitaker said Vera French sees thousands of children and young adults each year. Their school-based therapy program serves 522 Quad City students a week.
So far, the students have raised over $700 for Vera French, and will continue to sell the t-shirts.
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