MILFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — At The Painted Plank Studio, teens were creating and bonded while making door hangers that read: “You’ve been shined” as a part of a bigger project called Spreading Sunshine.

“The signs are placed on somebody’s lawn,” Gillian Anderson said, pointing to the logo on the signs, created as a doodle by her daughter, Abby. “Let’s say you have a friend having a bad day or you want to say, ‘Thinking of you,’ you can surprise them with this burst of sunshine.” 

“She was always our ray of light,” Anderson said of the beautiful girl who took her own life at 15.

“The way I describe my grief every day is that it’s a writhing pain that will never go away,” Anderson said.

So, two and a half years ago, Anderson started My Friend Abby, creating peer-to-peer connections to improve mental health.

“It wasn’t really talked about,” Anderson said.

The non-profit gives small grants to young adults embarking on evidence-based projects.

“I came up with this texting line, where folks can sign-up and get a text message something positive, uplifting,” Paul Angelucci said.

Angelucci is studying to become a mental health counselor, whose text group has 25 to 1,000 people.

A recent text said: “There’s more to this life than what I can see. There’s more to this life, and there’s more to me.” 

“We’re donating about 30 sweatshirts to psychiatric nurses in Westport,” Ellie Haney, creator of a clothing company called Hanesie, said.

She’s honoring those on the front line of the crisis. 

“They deserve all the support and love they can get,” Haney said.

“We need to talk about suicide prevention starting, unfortunately, at the ages of 7, 8, 9, 10,” Anderson said.

She wants to normalize asking for help – to spare another parent the pain she’s experienced.

“I don’t want anyone to go through what we’ve gone through with Abby,” Anderson said.

If you’re struggling, please call the Suicide Crisis Hotline at 9-8-8 or click here.