‘P.S. It’s okay’: Mental Health Awareness Walk to be held May 20


Rise Above Violence

Depression and anxiety are the top diagnoses for adolescents. Suicide is the fourth-leading cause of death for 15- to 29-year-olds. Our students are experiencing one of the highest rates of mental health issues in history, and professionals are anticipating that those numbers are going to increase. 

No one can blame just one thing for this serious increase. We don’t really know what’s causing this spike in numbers. Here is what we do know: 

1. Professionals around the world are saying we are in a mental health crisis. 

2. Youth and teens are really good at hiding it. 

3. Our young people are experiencing it, and we know that mental health is something that should be talked about more. 

The students in the Youth Rise club feel a passion for talking about mental health. That is why they are hosting the annual Mental Health Awareness Walk again this year. 

The walk will be on May 20 at Town Park. Registration will begin at 10 a.m., and we will begin walking at 10:30 a.m. We will walk downtown Pagosa Springs and end again at Town Park, where there will be booths from different organizations in support of mental health. We will also have Amanda Briggs as our guest speaker along with students of Youth Rise and Rise Above Violence staff. 

While in Telluride, Sarah Ross, a previous Youth Rise student and founder of the original 2019 Mental Health Awareness Walk, witnessed a suicide prevention walk. It included a peace march down Main Street to create awareness toward the negative stigma around mental health and bring the subject to light. She was inspired to say the least. Our goal in having this walk here in Pagosa is for everyone to know that it’s OK to talk about it. It’s OK to not be OK, and it’s OK to learn more about it. 

We hope to see all of Pagosa come out, support the cause and support our youth. Show our youth that we care about them, support them and that we are all here for them. And, most importantly, support our youth in getting rid of the stigma around mental health. 

This event is also a great way to get information and show support for the various nonprofit organizations that support mental health and other human services in our community. If you have any event questions, please contact Marissa Talamante, youth advocate, at (970) 946-5276 or marissa@riseaboveviolence.org.

Rise Above Violence is a nonprofit organization that promotes the belief that all people have the right to live free from violence. Rise provides 24-hour support and advocacy services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or other forms of violence, serving more than 400 victims each year. 

Rise also works to eliminate violence through education for youth and our community. All programs and services are free and confidential, including emergency prevention education and empowerment programs. Visit www.riseaboveviolence.org for more information or call (970) 264-9075 to talk to an advocate today. If you want to be part of the team to help those in our community, volunteers for advocacy are always needed and welcomed.