DENVER (CBS4) – A new campaign now underway in Colorado hopes to get teens to open up and talk about any issues they may be dealing with. The goal is to break the silence around suicide and mental health.
On Tuesday, a series of public service announcements were released by state leaders. The videos are made by teens for teens, to open up the conversation surrounding youth suicide.
“What I want to do is support young people, support conversations that will save lives,” explained Phil Weiser, Colorado Attorney General. “That’s a message we together as a community, can help get out there.”
The videos highlight teenagers from local high schools, who share their stories and experiences with mental health. The idea is that seeing other teenagers open up about their battles, may give others the courage to do the same.
“I never spoke about it to anyone,” Olivia Janicek said. “Until my mom noticed and asked if I was okay, and I told her I wasn’t.”
Janicek is one of the teenagers featured in the new PSA videos. She said during her sophomore year of high school, she dealt with an eating disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. It was the stigma surrounding mental health that stopped her from speaking up.
“I love to talk, and I’m outgoing,” she told CBS4. “I didn’t want to tell anyone I was struggling. I was afraid they would see me differently or think of me as a weaker person.”
Alexis McCowan said she has been fighting depression since middle school. When she was 12 years old, she attempted suicide. McCowan said she hopes sharing her story encourages others facing similar struggles, to get help.
“By sharing my truth, I am not only able to open those lines of communication, but empower other young, strong individuals to take that power back from their mental illness,” McCowan explained. “Then, it’s all worth it.”
Each video is linked to the Safe2Tell phone number or Colorado Crisis line. The hope is other teenagers facing mental health struggles will see they’re not alone and reach out for help.
“It doesn’t have to be something that limits you,” Janicek said. “It can be something that really powers you forward.”
To view the videos you can visit: https://tiny.cc/teens2teens. If you or anyone you know needs someone to talk to, you can text TALK to 38255, or call the Colorado Crisis Line at 1-844-493-8255.