AROUND TOWN: Mental Health Heroes Around Colorado Springs Focus on Teen Suicide Prevention

October 30, 2016; Updated: Today at 7:46 am

This article has been re-shared from it’s original source, The Gazette.

Rampart student Gracie Packard, right, introduced Hero of Mental Health honoree, teacher Brittni Darras, at the AspenPointe luncheon. 101316 Photo by Linda Navarro
Rampart student Gracie Packard, right, introduced Hero of Mental Health honoree, teacher Brittni Darras, at the AspenPointe luncheon. 101316 Photo by Linda Navarro

The heroes of mental health are all around us: the teacher who lets kids know they’re appreciated, a teen whose rap video deals with all-too-frequent teen suicides, counselors, art instructors, families.

As keynote speaker author Mark Norwine wrote, “No One Does it Alone.”

More than 500, including 30 students, trekked to The Broadmoor for the 2016 Heroes of Mental Health Luncheon on Oct. 13 with a focus of raising more than $15,000 for Youth Mental Health First Aid, which trains adults, including teachers and school staff, in the skills to recognize and support youngsters in mental health crises.

Norwine, who himself had attempted suicide, recommends mandating that “every single school” in the country has “every single teacher” trained in suicide prevention. In El Paso County, 13 students have killed themselves this year.

Rampart student Gracie Packard introduced the honored 2016 Hero of Mental Health, English teacher Brittni Darras. This teacher’s room is “the safe space” for students, Gracie said, and her teacher “never misses an opportunity to let students know how important they are.”

After Darras learned that one of her students had attempted suicide, she wrote that young person a letter. Then she wrote personal letters to all of her 130 students, sharing the important things about each individual and how their differences are positives.

 

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