Project UROK is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to create a catalog of funny, meaningful videos for teenagers struggling with mental health issues, made by people who have been there before. In doing so, the site provides not only practical assistance, but also more importantly, a sense of belonging, a sense of comfort, and a sense of hope.
The idea came from Jenny Jaffe, creator of the popular College Humor site. Jaffe founded Project UROK with the intention of breaking down stereotypes about mental disorders. She believes humor and honesty are some of the best tools to deal with mental illness.
The Project UROK site contains dozens of videos of teens and young adults sharing their own personal experiences with mental illness, self-harm, and suicide. Among the brave story tellers are NBC Producer Jake Plunkett, comedian Sam Reid, and writer, actress, Mara Wilson.
All the stories are different, yet carry a very similar and inspiring message of recovery. Jaffe herself opens up in a video where she discusses her own suicidal thoughts at the very young age of ten, and about the challenges she faced with OCD and depression during her college years.
The web site also offers an abundance of resources, hotlines, and links to information on different mental health disorders. There is even a place where visitors can go to record and share their own stories of struggle and recovery.
To check out Project UROK for yourself, go to http://projecturok.org/.
About Jill Sauser, The Kim Foundation Project Coordinator
Jill graduated with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Speech Communication from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2009. During her time at UNO, she completed a two year PR practicum program where she worked with numerous nonprofit clients including the MS Society, The Archdiocese of Omaha, The Omaha Food Bank, and YWCA. Since becoming Project Coordinator at The Kim Foundation in April 2014, she has become an active member of the Nebraska State Suicide Prevention Coalition, The Omaha Metro Hoarding Taskforce, the Early Childhood Mental Health Coalition, the Metro Area LOSS Team, and is helping lead a community-wide health improvement initiative with the Douglas County Health Department called, “Just Reach Out,” which is focused on improving the people’s view on mental and behavioral health treatment.