Town hall hopes to educate parents, provide intervention for youth struggling with mental health

Teen suicides
Posted at 5:16 AM, May 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-13 09:25:27-04

CHANDLER, AZ — There are roughly two more weeks of school left in the school year and the anxiety and stress levels for our kids during this time of year are high.

The city of Chandler and the town of Gilbert are bringing experts to the discussion in a town hall planned for Friday at 1:45 p.m. Anyone can attend the town hall, which is being held online.

‘We have all been through so much this year. And just closing out the year, if it's a B or a C, or even a D, it’s gonna be OK,” said Katey McPherson.

McPherson is an advocate for youth mental health. She says this Friday’s mental health town hall was set before the recent death of two students, one at Perry High School and one at Hamilton High, making it even more important.

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“So a suicide or an overdose could look like 'oh that person got out of their pain, I want to get out of my pain too', so the ripple effect is something that is statistically proven, evidence-based research, scientifically proven, we know that our community is at great risk due to the fact that we’ve already lost two students in a week.”

Vice Mayor Mark Stewart of Chandler, along with Gilbert's vice mayor and mental health experts from Not My Kid, a non-profit which helps youth dealing with depression and anxiety, will give parents and students who attend strategies on how to cope.

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“We’ve learned coping mechanisms as adults to deal with stress in our lives and so many times kids haven’t. They’ve also grown up with this (cell phone), this thing in their hand that we didn’t... It can cause real anxiety about the future, stress from the past,” said Stewart.

The town hall is just the beginning; over the summer, parents in these two east valley cities can get anxiety and suicide intervention from Not My Kid. They will be offering peer support groups, one-on-one counseling, and provide parent education, all with the goal to save them before it’s too late.

"Ultimately we want to give those kids who are struggling hope. This too shall pass,” added Stewart.

Anyone can attend the town hall, you can register here.

Help is always available. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is open 24 hours a day if you or anyone else needs to talk.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Arizona Teen Lifeline: 602-248-8336