Be Kind: 'Dear Evan Hansen' puts spotlight on mental health

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and that has put the spotlight back on a Broadway musical that won a Tony Award as the year's best in 2017.

There is no show that speaks to teens quite like "Dear Evan Hansen," because it deals with issues important to them and is performed by young people just like themselves.

In fact, every performance of is a testament to the theater's power to heal.

"It's a very special feeling knowing that what you're doing every day is really affecting people and helping people," said Mallory Bechtel, who plays Zoe.

After a recent matinee, members of the young cast met students from Haldane High School in Cold Spring, New York, to talk about some of the tough issues raised in the show.

Sky Lakota Lynch, who appears as Evan's fellow classmate, Jared, told the students, "I feel like the show has drawn a lot of people to knowing that you are not alone."

Mallory and Sky's sincerity is obvious - and much appreciated.

"When they come out and talk to us, you realize they are actual people," sophomore Alison Nicholls said. "They're not that different from us."

"Dear Evan Hansen" takes place after the suicide of a teenager, and it shows how social media can amp-up the tragedy for those left behind.

"I've had a lot of experience with like feeling the way these characters do in the show," junior Reid Sandlund said. "And I've experienced a lot of things that the characters do."

Senior Maya Maxwell confessed that like Evan, "I also do feel awkward and like I could just disappear and not really be missed sometimes."

Junior Maddy Barkman said she has known teens who thought about suicide.

"This show can really shed light and awareness on it and make it a less taboo subject to be talked about," she said.

Producers of the musical have joined forces with ABC 7 to raise awareness about mental health issues, and "Dear Evan Hansen" is in tune with the station's "Be Kind" campaign.

If you've witnessed an act of kindness - let us know about it! Join our "Be Kind" campaign by checking out: abc7NY.com/BeKind.

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