On May 10, 2017, an episode aired of CW's post-apocalyptic show "The 100" that made the hearts of the audience drop - 16 year old Jasper Jordan, beautifully portrayed by Devon Bostick, found a tragic end in the arms of his best friend due to an overdose after suffering from severe PTSD for a majority of the show. Thousands of viewers had followed his emotional journey, hoping for a story of healing and recovery. But once again, as with many other mentally ill characters on TV or the big screen whose story lines end in suicide, we were disappointed.
I am 25 years old now and have struggled with mental illness for as long as I can remember. Having to watch fictional characters who are dealing with similiar symptoms continuously not getting a chance to work through their trauma and learn to live with it reminded me of how uneducated many people still are when it comes to anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other mental illnesses. Among the viewers of "The 100" were also a large group of people who called Jasper Jordan "annoying", "whiny", or a "crybaby" whenever he was showing any symptoms of his PTSD. I thought long and hard about how to actively fight the stigma surrounding mental illnesses in our real world, a stigma I found myself faced with way too often.
I wanted to turn my disappointment, anger and sadness about the way this fictional character was treated by both the writers and part of the audience into something positive that would benefit real people suffering from real mental illnesses and thus found the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA).
Together with two friends, Verena, who drew and designed the campaign art, and Lily, I set up the fundraiser for ADAA.
Our goal is to raise as much money as possible to enable the amazing people working for ADAA to educate people on, reduce the stigma around and help anyone suffering from mental illness.
Our struggle is not a sad side note in someone else's story. We deserve love, support, and healing.
In honor of Jasper Jordan.
We WILL be happy again.
- Ariane Rauch
Come join our campaign here.