First Annual Youth Mental Health Summit Draws Hundreds

DENVER (KDVR) – May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which is why more than 300 teens, young adults and parents have all jumped at the chance to explore a variety of mental health coping mechanisms. at the first summit of its kind, the whose goal was to address the growing mental health crisis felt across the state.

On Monday, the very first “We Got This! Youth Mental Health Summit,” an event organized by youth volunteers and the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment, brought together participants from across the Denver metro area to participate in interactive workshops that educate participants on how to properly understand and address issues associated with mental health and suicide.

“The challenges our young people face with their mental health are real. We can better support them and their personal care, and through community involvement, we will be better able to break the stigma around suicide and mental health issues,” said Mayor Michael B. Hancock.

According to the DDPHE, suicide is the second leading cause of death among Coloradans between the ages of 10 and 24. Currently, Colorado is in the top 10 states for the number of recorded suicides, with nearly double the national average.

State data also reveals that the latent isolation pandemic has also not positively mitigated students’ overall feelings of hopelessness and sadness.

According to the state Office of Suicide Prevention’s annual report for 2020-2021, the percentage of students who reported an increase in their feelings of sadness in 2019 was 37.1%. Barely a year later, this figure has risen to 39.5%.

Objectives of ‘We Got This!’ Youth Mental Health Summit

  • To educate young people on how to live a mentally healthy life and help create pathways for young people to future independence.
  • Provide access to information (including coping skills, treatment options, suicide prevention resources and community help) to support youth suicide prevention in our communities.
  • Teach young people to recognize the signs of depression and suicide and to get help if they are worried about themselves.
  • Help young people connect with their peers to find a common humanity in others and transform divisive attitudes and foster acceptance and tolerance by encouraging open and honest dialogue that empowers young people to speak their truths.
  • Instill courage, confidence and character in young people who may feel marginalized or not seen or heard, especially young people of colour, LGTBQIA+ and young people with disabilities.

Funding for We Got This! The top stemmed from Mayor Hancock’s US bailout act in Denver, which is expected to distribute $308 million in local ARPA relief funds. Those executing this effort aim to support communities, cities and businesses as they continue to recover from the financially damaging pandemic.

Back to the individual level, if you or someone you know is dealing with substance abuse, needs emotional help, or wants to address their immediate mental health issues, please visit Colorado Crisis Services online, call 1 -844-493-TALK (8255) or text “TALK” to 38255.

Help from a trained professional is just a phone call away.

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