Trumbull fundraiser spreads sunshine and mental health awareness

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TRUMBULL – With the gray of winter continuing to recede and with so many struggling through these difficult times, Gillian Anderson knows everyone could use a little sunshine.

Anderson is the founder of My friend Abby, Inc.a non-profit organization that provides grants to youth and young adults who take action to promote mental and emotional health and suicide prevention.

For the second time, the organization is running a “Spreading Sunshine” campaign, in which people can donate $25 throughout April and May for a decorative lawn sign with the image of a sun. gold on it. Anderson said My Friend Abby started the program last year to raise money and awareness for the cause of youth mental health, and it was a success.


“We’ve had so many positive comments,” Anderson said. “People immediately lit up when they saw the signs.”

Signs will be posted in Fairfield and Trumbull. All proceeds will benefit My Friend Abby and help provide grants to youth and young adults who are actively seeking peer-to-peer connections to improve their mental and emotional health.

The cause is personal to Anderson, whose daughter Abby committed suicide seven years ago. The images of the sun on the “Spreading Sunshine” signs are based on an image Abby once drew on a friend’s hand, Anderson said.

Young people’s mental health is more important than ever, Anderson said, especially in light of a recent study by the Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention showing that in 2021, more than a third (37%) of high school students said they had poor mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, and 44% said they constantly felt sad or hopeless at the course of the past year.

“Obviously, it’s a really big time right now for mental health,” Anderson said. “There has been so much struggle with COVID, but so much struggle even before that. Many young adults are constantly sad or feel hopeless.

The “Spreading Sunshine” campaign is a way to spread the word about these issues while making everyone’s world a little brighter, she said.

“By continuing to have the conversation and normalizing the conversation, that’s going to make a difference,” Anderson said.

People can order Spreading Sunshine panels at https://www.myfriendabby.org/shop.

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