Arizona High School Athletes Raise Awareness Suicide Prevention Month

Arizona High School Athletes Raise Awareness Suicide Prevention Month

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Arizona high school football players are working to help prevent youth suicide in a unique way. The goal is to give hope to other youth who may be struggling through a social media platform.

Nineteen football players and one cheerleader from 18 Arizona high schools are starring in this video series. It comes during Bullying Prevention Month but also at a time when calls for help are growing today here in Arizona.

Young high school athletes want their peers to know that there is help if they are struggling with depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts. “Especially my age, with social media, there’s so much negative influence in the world and I come across it almost every day with my friends,” said Deshawn Warner, a 16-year-old football player at Desert Edge High School.

“From society itself there is a lot of pressure on young people and some people deal with pressure differently,” added Kaleb Carter, a 17-year-old football player at Desert Edge High School. .

Carter and Warner were part of the action organized by Teen Lifeline and the Grand Canyon State Gridiron club. “The classmate sitting next to you could literally be smiling and laughing all day, and you’d never know it,” Carter said.

Young people are reaching out for help in record numbers across the state. The Teen Lifeline Suicide Prevention Hotline took over 22,000 calls and 20,000 text messages from young Arizonans in 2021. That’s more than double compared to 2019. Most of those calls came from children and youth between 10 and 19 years. “Even if it’s just grabbing food, we can grab something and talk and have a chance to take a deep breath and relax,” Carter said.

These players hope to make a difference by opening the conversation and creating a safe space, whether it’s for the kids in their campus or people they’ve never met. “Even if you don’t feel like you need help, just having someone in your corner is comforting,” Carter said.

“I want to make a big impact in people’s lives not just for a month but for a long time,” Warner said.

The teams involved in this PSA will also be wearing youth-friendly logos on their football caps this month. If you need help or know someone struggling, click here for resources.

Copyright 2022 KTVK/KPHO. All rights reserved.

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