CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4)– Maria Bales thought she knew what her son was going through. Now she’s working to make sure teens and their parents don’t deal with the same trauma she did.
“Kind, beautiful, compassionate and creative, these words describe my son Nick,” said Bales. “I just assumed he was being a kid and even though we knew he struggled with anxiety and depression I had no idea how deep it ran.”
Nick committed suicide in the fall of 2018. Within a few days, Maria was asked if she would address the student body at Arapahoe High School. Now she speaks as often as she can.
“I want them to know they don’t have to struggle in silence that is the most important thing. I want them to never feel like my son did, that there’s help out there. Reach out to an adult,” she said.
Thursday night, she was on a panel organized by the Lone Tree Youth Council to take the stigma away from mental illness.
“Our society, our community needs to bring so much awareness to mental health. It is a serious issue, one in five people struggles with it,” Bales said.
She stresses to kids the need to be open and communicate. She shares the same with adults.
“I think they need to ask their kids, ‘Is there something going on? Are you sad? Are you feeling depressed? Do you have a lot of anxiety? And start opening up that dialogue get them talking.”
Bales’ Facebook page has become a resource for people in need and the loved ones around them. She frequently points people toward the Colorado Crisis Centers.
“Place no judgement on anyone because you just never know what someone might be going through,” Bales said. “It’s OK to ask for help, it’s not ok to not ask for help.”
SUICIDE HOTLINE: 1.844.493.8255 or text TALK to 38255