These Teens Threw a Virtual Prom for 500 Peers to Boost Their Mental Health

The class of 2020 is finding ways to celebrate the big moments they otherwise would have missed out on—virtually.

The coronavirus pandemic may have closed schools and forced students to distance themselves from their teachers and friends, but if you think that means prom is canceled for the class of 2020, you'd be wrong.

On May 2, Georgia-based high school senior Hannah Lucas threw a virtual prom her peers wouldn't soon forget. Lucas, who has a condition called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) and causes her to faint, created the NotOK app alongside her younger brother, Charlie, to assist with asking for help and mental health support after suffering from anxiety and depression. Lucas's experience with self-harm and an attempt at suicide led her to launch the app and come up with the idea for the virtual prom to help other students feel less alone.

Hannah and Charlie Lucas
Courtesy of Hannah and Charlie Lucas

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is among the leading causes of death for people ages 10 to 24. And in a time when isolation is the norm and moments for celebration seem few and far between, it's important to take mental health during the pandemic seriously.

We Are Well Prom 2020

We Are Well Prom 2020 went down on Saturday at 9 p.m. on Instagram Live. The prom—and, let's be honest, Lucas herself—was anything but ordinary, taking this teenage right of passage to the next level. The prom boasted a digital red carpet, mental health resources, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and over $46,000 in cash grants for select participating teens to use toward tuition, books, internet, therapy, or anything else they might need during the pandemic.

About 500 teens got to experience the virtual prom, which was made extra special with a little prom night prep—aka hair tutorials and products—by Sebastian Professional because, obviously, getting dressed up for prom is just as fun as going to the event itself! I mean, what's prom without the iconic stair pose photo?

Lucas was also one of 10 female high school seniors in the U.S. to receive Pandora Jewelry's Prom Package, which included jewelry and items like a camera, film, and speaker to assist with throwing the Instagram Live event.

So let's take a moment to celebrate the class of 2020, the ways they're coming together right now, and acknowledge the extraordinary things Hannah Lucas has already accomplished, all before graduating from high school.

Sort of gives new meaning to the phrase "kids these days," huh?

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