North Central News

Players participate in prevention campaign

Layton Duncan (Brophy College Preparatory) and Max Martin (Camelback High School) join a group of their peers this month in a series of video public service announcements designed to provide messages of hope to fellow teens (submitted photos).

Phoenix high school football players Layton Duncan (Brophy College Preparatory) and Max Martin (Camelback High School) are two of a group of 19 players and one cheerleader helping prevent teen suicide by starring in a series of video public service announcements designed to provide messages of hope to fellow teens.

The students, representing 18 Arizona high schools in the Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma areas, will appear in a series of professionally-produced video public service announcements (PSAs) organized by Teen Lifeline and the Grand Canyon State Gridiron Club (GCSGC).

The campaign will run on player, team and school social media channels in Arizona as well as on morning announcements in recognition of Teen Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in September.

When released during September, the PSA campaign is designed to provide messages of hope to fellow teens who may be struggling with depression, anxiety or thoughts of suicide. The messages let teens know they are not alone and encourage them to seek help if they feel depressed or suicidal.

“It would be difficult to overstate the importance of peer-to-peer connection for teens in every Arizona community,” said Nikki Kontz, Teen Lifeline clinical director. “Our teens are looking for validation. They need to hear from other teens that what they may be feeling is normal, that there is always hope and that help is available 24/7/365.”

The organization said that teens are reaching out for help in record numbers statewide. The hotline received more than 22,000 calls and 20,000 text messages from troubled youths throughout Arizona in 2021. That’s a nearly 50 percent increase compared to 2019. Most of those calls and texts came from Arizona adolescents ages 10-19.

Teens who are struggling to feel hope in their lives are encouraged to call Teen Lifeline any day or time at 602-248-TEEN (8336) or 800-248-TEEN. Teens can also text with a teen peer counselor at 602-248-8336 between noon and 9 p.m. on weekdays and 3 p.m. until 9 p.m. on weekends.

The 24-hour hotline is staffed by teen peer counselors from 3 p.m. until 9 p.m. daily. Trained, professional counselors are available at all other times.

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