Forum to address youth depression

ALAMOSA — Members of Alamosa High School’s Students Against Destructive Decision (SADD) club will be tackling a difficult but potentially lifesaving subject during a community forum on Tuesday — “Depression and Anxiety in Young People, Creating Hope for Our Community.”

“The big idea is to inform people they can get help and it’s OK, lift the stigma and create some awareness,” said AHS junior Cole Sanders, who will emcee the Tuesday forum along with fellow junior and SADD member James Northrup.

The forum will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 6, at the Ortega Middle School Auditorium, 401 Victoria Ave., Alamosa.

Students brainstormed about what topic they wanted to focus on and narrowed it down to depression.

“People know it’s there, but they overlook it,” Northrup said. He added it was eye opening to learn about this topic and how it affects communities.

“It’s been an interesting experience,” Sanders added.

“I have learned a lot,” added Communities That Care Facilitator Ann-Marie Peterson who has been helping the students plan the event. “It’s time to bring some things out in the open.”

Speakers will include Macy Rae Klein, Colorado Springs teenager and Project Reasons founder who will share her journey through depression and anxiety. Project Reasons is a nonprofit group dedicated to saving the lives of students and adults from suicide. It encourages young people and adults to work together to prevent suicide and to remember their “reasons” for continuing to live.

An Adams State student who is also a veteran will also be speaking at the event, as will AHS School Counselor Tom Hays who is a caring advocate for youth.

“Everyone is invited,” Northrup said, and Sanders added, “parents, so they understand what their children may be going through.”

The youth are especially inviting parents and grandparents of middle and high school aged youth, “people who are impacted with the knowledge they obtain,” Northrup said.

School Nurse Darcey Hansen said adults need to know how they can support youth who may be experiencing depression or anxiety. “Adults want to know how we can support you better.”

Attendees will learn how they can help young people suffering from depression, and they will discuss what steps can be taken in the future to continue addressing this issue.

In addition to special speakers, informational tables will provide resources for attendees.