DENVER (CBS4)– Teen depression and a series of suicides prompted high school students in Highlands Ranch to take action and help create an awareness campaign they hope will help save lives.
Community meetings in four cities across Colorado were planned for Saturday to talk about the mental health problem and it’s consequences. One of those was at the History Colorado Center in downtown Denver.
“It started out as an English project,” said Mountain Vista High School Junior Jake Meyer.
For Meyer and fellow Mountain Vista Junior Sean Harris, the past few months haven’t been easy.
“Just within a five-mile radius of our school there have been three suicides and one suicide-homicide,” said Meyer.
“It happened all the week before we made this,” said Harris.
The tragedies inspired the pair to turn a classroom assignment into a public service announcement on depression.
“Kind of force people to talk about it because it’s not something you want to talk about,” said Meyer. “It’s scary.”
That message is now headlining the latest meeting of “Creating Community Solutions Colorado” at the History Colorado Center.
Their video opened the forum on mental health.
“I think the video really resonated with people,” said Creating Community Solutions Colorado spokeswoman Karen Prestia.
At the forums the topic was how to de-stimatize the topic of mental illness and how to help raise awareness about a problem that affects one in four people.
The grassroots effort is working toward their goal to get better access to resources.
“We need to talk about those issues as a community,” said Prestia.
As Harris and Meyer return to school to finish their junior year, they hope their class project- turned PSA- can make a difference.
“There are people out there that can help,” said Harris.
“If we can save one life with this video that will make all of it worth it,” said Meyer.
Each city that hosted a forum will have a follow up meeting next month.