PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Arizona high school football players are working to help prevent teen suicide in a unique way. The goal is to give hope to other teens who may be struggling through a series of public service announcement videos.
Nineteen football players and a cheerleader from 18 Arizona high schools star in this video series. This comes during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, but also at a time when calls for help are increasing day by day here in Arizona.
High school teen athletes want their peers to know there is help if they are struggling with depression, anxiety or thoughts of suicide. “Especially my age, with social media going around there’s a lot of negative impact in the world and I come across it almost every day with my friends,” said Deshawn Warner, a 16-year-old soccer player at the Desert. Edge High School. .
“From society itself, there’s a lot of pressure on young teenagers and some people handle the pressure differently,” added Kaleb Carter, a 17-year-old soccer player at Desert Edge High School.
Carter and Warner are part of the movement organized by Teen Lifeline and the Grand Canyon State Gridiron club. “It can literally be the classmate sitting next to you who’s smiling and laughing all day, and you’d never know it,” Carter said.
Teens are asking for help for a record amount across the state. The Teen Lifeline suicide prevention hotline received more than 22,000 calls and 20,000 texts from young Arizonans in 2021. That’s more than double from 2019. Most of those calls were from children and teenagers aged 10 to 19. “Even if it’s just grabbing food, we can grab something and talk and have a chance to breathe deeply and relax,” Carter said.
These athletes hope to spark change by opening up the conversation and creating a safe space, whether it’s for kids on their campus or for people they’ve never even met. “Even if you feel like you don’t need help, just having someone around is always a comforting thing,” Carter said.
“I want to have a big impact in people’s lives, not just for a month but for a long time,” Warner said.
Teams involved in this PSA will also wear Teen Lifeline stickers on their football helmets this month. If you need help or know someone in trouble, Click here for resources.
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