Gabby Frost is a mental health advocate through and through. In addition to having started her own digital art page focused on mental health called GMF Designs, Gabby is the founder and CEO of Buddy Project, a nonprofit movement that aims to prevent suicide and self-harm by pairing people as buddies and raising awareness for mental health.
Gabby says she got the idea for the Buddy Project in 2003, when she was just 15 years old and saw three people in her Twitter feed contemplating suicide. After tweeting at them and getting other people to do the same, she thought, “Why can’t Twitter make a buddy system so we can all have someone to be there for us?” That idea turned into a social media movement for two years before Gabby decided to officially launch the Squarespace website for Buddy Project. Today, she has almost 250,000 buddies signed up and an app in development to make it even easier for people to get involved.
“I think the most important thing that Buddy Project has done is provide this community and space for young people, because a lot of mental health orgs are definitely focused on older adults,” Gabby shares. Gabby is particularly proud of this aspect of what she’s built not just because it helps more people advocate for themselves, but also because her own age was the biggest obstacle for her in building Buddy Project. “I think that people don’t take young girls seriously, and kind of thought my idea was not something that was feasible at a larger scale,” she says.
Gabby majored in Music Industry with a concentration and minor in Business. In addition to growing the Buddy Project so it can one day help make mental healthcare more affordable for people, she hopes to somehow combine her interest in the music industry with her passion for nonprofits and social change.