America’s youth mental health crisis is far from over. This September, we are recognizing Suicide Prevention Awareness Month by working to raise awareness of the problem, share warning signs, and provide education around protective factors. Suicide is the leading cause of death among Colorado youth ages 10-19 and we all can help reduce suicide rates and support kids in our communities.
Each of us can raise awareness and spread education by knowing the facts, acting as safe adults for the kids in our lives, and supporting efforts to make mental health care accessible to kids.
Know the risk factors and warning signs.
As an organization, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver is committed to providing high-quality, ongoing mental health support to our members and staff. Our team of 11 dedicated, full-time employees visit each of our 20 Clubs twice a week to facilitate individual and small group sessions that support a wide range of mental and behavioral health needs. These dedicated mental health professionals are integral to our Clubs and their communities. They build relationships with kids and help families navigate mental health needs – all at no extra cost to members, families, or staff.
We know intervention, supportive relationships, and safe spaces make a difference, but none of that is possible if mental healthcare is out of reach, too expensive, or too far away. We are dedicated to providing accessible, affordable care at our 20 locations across the city.
Today, mental health support is one of the most critical services we provide in our Clubs. It is foundational to our programming and helps kids build resilience in an increasingly uncertain world. Our programs normalize seeking help and break the stigma around talking about mental health struggles, both key in Denver’s suicide prevention strategy.
Learn more about protective factors.
According to the Colorado Office of Suicide Prevention, having an adult to go to for help with a serious problem is one of the strongest protective factors for a young person. 93% of Club members have an adult at their Club they trust with big problems (2021 NYOI Survey).
Our mental health team also supports our Club staff: the youth development professionals who infuse all Club activities with social-emotional learning (SEL). As experts in youth development, we know how important social-emotional learning is to healthy growth: “Social and emotional well-being is deeply intertwined with children’s cognitive development” and quality of life (Duffrin, 2020).
Our prioritization of SEL means Clubs are safe spaces for kids; 88% of members find emotional safety at their Club (NYOI 2021). Growing up can be scary and challenging, especially as kids face unprecedented mental health struggles. Kids need to be able to cope with adversity, manage their emotions, and ask for help when they need it.
Together, we can all take action to support mental health needs in our communities. As an organization, led by our mental health team, we work to ensure that Club kids and families have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention and to seek help.
We all have a role to play in suicide prevention. By raising awareness, reducing the stigma around suicide and encouraging well-informed action, we can save lives.
Crisis Text Line | Text HOME To 741741 for free, 24/7 Crisis Counseling
Navigating a Mental Health Crisis (English & Spanish)