Colorado Springs students talk about suicide and mental health

The National Alliance on Mental Illness is launching their Ending the Silence campaign by teaching teens about the warning signs of mental health conditions./ Taylor Bishop -- FOX21 News
The National Alliance on Mental Illness is launching their Ending the Silence campaign by teaching teens about the warning signs of mental health conditions./ Taylor Bishop -- FOX21 News

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Students at the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind are getting a lesson on mental health. The National Alliance on Mental Illness is launching their Ending the Silence campaign by teaching teens about the warning signs of mental health conditions.

Students got to hear stories firsthand from people who have things like anxiety and bipolar disorder.

“When I was a teenager and when I was struggling alone, it would have made such a difference for me to hear someone a few years older talk to me,” community organizer Carrie Baatz said.

Suicide rates among teens doubled in El Paso County between 2014 and 2015.

“Before, I thought mental illness, mental health was related to just kind of like a person who had ADHD or something, maybe was bipolar,” Dominiqe Jones, a student at the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind, said.

Ending the Silence is about having those tough conversations about mental health and what to do if you’re experiencing warning signs.

“I was really surprised. I learned so much because I do have some of the same experiences I heard about today and I thought I was the only one and I realized there’s people out there who have had those same experiences,” said Jones.

“The questions they asked, for example, ‘How do you find support?’ or ‘Who do you go to for help?’ ‘Where do you go for help?,’ those are the type of questions that are really important to answer for them,” school guidance counselor Joseph Ryan said.

Ryan set up the event so students know help is out there if they ever need it.

“It’s really important to learn about all of this because now is the time that we’re learning,” Jones said. “When we get out into the world on our own, if something happens, now we’ll know. If we’re experiencing something, we’ll know what to do now.”

If you or someone you know could be suffering from mental illness and needs help, contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness’s Colorado Helpline at 303-321-3104 or the Colorado Crisis Line at 1-844-493-8255.

>> Click here for a list of local resources available with Pikes Peak Suicide Prevention. 

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