By Anna Alejo

DENVER (CBS4) – A small group of teens from around the country head to the nation’s capital this week for the first ever Mental Health Youth Action Forum to be held at the White House. MTV is a leading collaborator for the forum, and this month CBS News Colorado and MTV are partnering on Mental Health is Health – an initiative to normalize conversations around our behavioral health.

(credit: CBS)

Jazmine Wildcat, 18, traveled through Denver International Airport on her way to Washington, D.C. Wildcat grew up on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming and is now a sophomore at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. She is on a mission to change the future for indigenous youth.

Native American youth face a rate of suicide that is double what it is for white youth.

“I’ve been to quite a lot of funerals just in my four years of high school, so it’s a very important topic, and that’s why I want to speak on mental health because I want to be the person I wish I had in high school,” she said.

(credit: Jazmine Wildcat)

Wildcat founded a program called the Nii’iini Project – Nii’iini means “things are good” in the Arapaho language. She found that activism helped her as a coping mechanism and she encourages the youth of her community to also use activism and volunteering as an avenue to staying mentally healthy.

This Thursday is Mental Health Action Day and CBS News Colorado is streaming a Community Conversation on Mental Health. You can catch the special right after CBS4 News at 6 p.m. on May 19.

(credit: Jazmine Wildcat)

CBS News Colorado is partnering with MTV on “Mental Health is Health” seeking to improve mental health in our community by normalizing conversation about mental health, sharing resources, and highlighting groups taking action to help others thrive.

Anna Alejo