By Rick Sallinger

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (CBS4) – Students at a Highlands Ranch school are coming together to address the tragic issue of teen suicide. The students are juniors at Thunder Ridge High School in the Douglas County School District.

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(credit: CBS)

Among them is Mia Heyden,

“Last year I lost my friend Jen to suicide. It was unexpected and one of the hardest things I ever had to go through,” she told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger.

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(credit: CBS)

Now, she and other students have formed an organization called Oasis to try to find a solution.

The group created the Oasis room at the school according to student Melanie Zhou.

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(credit: CBS)

“It will be a place for students to come if they ever feel stressed out, having a friend issue, other crisis,” she said.

The school already has trained psychologists, peer counselors. Others were recognized at a news conference at Children’s Hospital where the impact of teen suicide was tearfully made clear to those present by Heyden.

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Mia Heyden (credit: CBS)

“I lost my friend to teen suicide, and it changed I life forever and what I value most,” she told those in the crowded room.

Those on hand included the Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman who announced a nearly $3 million grant to improve mental health access and treatment for young people. Andrew Romanoff of Colorado Mental Health was among those speaking.

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As Zhou put it in an interview with CBS4, “Students have to believe they can give help, that they have the power to act without shame or stigma.”

RELATED: Mental Health Awareness Month: ‘There Is Help Out There’

Oasis has been given a $10,000 grant to move forward with its program.

More resources:

Safe2Tell

An anonymous way for students, parents, school staff and community members to report concerns regarding their safety or the safety of others

safe2tell.org

1-877-542-7233

The Trevor Project

Crisis prevention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ+ youth

thetrevorproject.org

1-866-488-7386

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

1-800-273-8255

Mobile Crisis Services, Denver Health

24/7 service that provides mental health support to residents of the city and county of Denver and to Mental Health Center of Denver consumers during and after a crisis

https://www.denverhealth.org/services/emergency-medicine/psychiatric

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

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