LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Suicide is the second leading cause of death for teens and young adults between 10 and 24 years old in Nevada, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Coronado High School’s Hope Club held its first “Rainbow Run,” a mental health event to spread awareness of mental health and combat suicide. The club’s advisor, Rebecca Churna, said the inaugural event is to get kids and community members engaged in dialogue about suicide prevention.
“We have found with Hope Squad that the more we have an open dialogue about suicide prevention, the more people realize its OK to ask for help,” Churna said.
Theirs and other Hope Clubs from different schools united with key community stakeholders and social service organizations to spread positive messages.
Sophomore and Hope Squad member, Michelle Park, shared that she struggles with depression and anxiety. She said it happens to everyone, and high school years can be stressful.
Churna said Hope Squad members are trained to serve as safe and trusted peers to talk to and point others in the direction of adults and resources. It’s a task Park has taken on.
“It’s important we help each other when we can and I have done it a few times,” Park said. “I’m glad I can do something to make another person feel a little better.”
The day was filled with various performers and speakers who talked about the need to address mental health. Intermountain Health donated $5,000 to benefit Coronado Hope Squad, and its programming, and to help start new Hope Squads.
Lateisha Morgan, Clinical Manager at Intermountain Health, said their goals align with the Hope Squad in helping people live their healthiest lives. Morgan said Intermountain Health wants to help the Hope Squad succeed in preventing as many suicides as possible.
She said if you see someone struggling, reach out and talk to them.
“The start of a conversation of asking how they’re doing can save their life,” Morgan said.
Marie Picini, a senior and Hope Squad member for the past two years, said she is passionate about mental health and struggles with it herself.
“I’ve taken steps in my own life to seek therapy,” Picini said. “I do not think I would have gotten there without meeting the people I met through Hope Squad and all of the resources there.”
If you or someone you know is struggling, talk to someone. The National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is 988.