LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Hundreds of people have died by suicide in Clark County over the past five years. During the pandemic, the number was especially high for teenagers alarming both parents and experts.
Teens at Coronado High School in Henderson want to get the message out that there is help.
Luca Feng, a junior at Coronado, is leading an effort to highlight teen mental health with a Rainbow Run.
“We’re trying to address the vulnerability aspect of mental health and talking about it, so as participants run along the route, they’ll be able to answer questions prompted along the route. Such as, who do you love?” Feng said.
The 17-year-old student is also a member of the Coronado Hope Squad.
Suicide is the second leading cause of teen deaths in Nevada.
“That’s really the worst message you can tell someone: that they’re not feeling those feelings, and they should just change how they’re feeling right away,” Maile Baumann, 17, said. She’s also a junior at Coronado and part of the Hope Squad.
According to the Clark County Coroner/Medical Examiner’s office, twenty-two of those who died by suicide in 2018 were under the age of 20. There were 484 people who died of suicide that year.
The following year, teen suicides decreased but then during the pandemic, the number spiked to 27.
Since then, youth suicides in Clark County have decreased slightly: 21 in 2021 and 15 in 2022.
Including adults, the total number of suicides in 2022 was 484.
A gunshot wound was the cause of death in more than half of all suicides since 2018.
The Coronado Hope Squad students engage in peer-to-peer mentoring and provide support for students who may be experiencing bullying, isolation, and suicide ideation.
It’s been an eye-opening experience for the Coronado students.
“Feeling really disconnected. You’re supposed to feel safe at home, and they really weren’t,” Rashawn Johnson, a junior at Coronado, said.
The 17-year-old Johnson added, “It’s like, ‘if I can’t feel safe at school, and I can’t feel safe at home, what am I supposed to do?’ So, they were feeling really helpless.”
The Rainbow Run will take place on Saturday, April 1 around Cornerstone Park and Railroad Lake in Henderson.
Coronado High School teens are still taking donations to help fund the event. For more information, visit their website.
If you or anyone you know is currently experiencing a mental health crisis, you’re urged to call or text the Suicide and Crisis Hotline at 988.