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.
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.
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.
“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.
“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.
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.”
Oasis has been given a $10,000 grant to move forward with its program.
An anonymous way for students, parents, school staff and community members to report concerns regarding their safety or the safety of others
The Trevor Project
Crisis prevention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ+ youth
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
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