SEATTLE — Recent data released by the CDC reports that suicide is on the rise for young Americans of all races between the ages of 15 and 24.
After his own son died by suicide in 2019, Jason Reid founded ChooseLife.org with a goal of ending teen suicide by 2030.
University of Washington punter Race Porter has faced his own battles with mental health and is now a spokesperson for National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Seattle.
Now, both individuals are on a mission to raise awareness about mental health in kids and young adults, stressing that open communication and acceptance can change lives for the better.
"I think we need to own our kids mental health, and if we go back to doing that, and back to a time where we were better connected, I think that's how we end suicide," Reid said.
Both Reid and Porter's life experiences have led them to advocate for giving parents the tools to have open conversations with kids.
"Its okay to be emotional, its okay to tell your parents how you're feeling," Porter said.
Beyond just communication, Porter says that parents need to recognize that depression and mental health disorders can come in all shapes and sizes of people. There is no one definition of a person who experiences these things.
"My own experience has come from the idea that no one's ever looked at me and thought, that kid might of had problems or that kid might be going through something," Porter said.
From football players to ballerinas to authors to tech workers, it doesn't matter who you are, Porter and Reid agree, it matters that you're heard.
If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741”