Local teens lend a helping hand to address student mental health

Local teens lend a helping hand to address student mental health

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — After more than a year of isolation, mental health remains a concern for students across the Las Vegas valley.

Although getting professional treatment is beneficial, kids sometimes need another avenue to seek help. Some organizations are getting teens involved in providing peer-to-peer resources, when it comes to conversations about mental health and suicide.

“It’s important that we acknowledge mental health and be there for each other,” said 15-year-old Sydney Yee.

Sydney Yee

Yee is a high school sophomore in Las Vegas and is part of the teen committee for Hope Means Nevada, a group focused on stopping youth suicides. That is especially important right now, with more than 20 CCSD students taking their own lives since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

Yee says the role of the teen committee for Hope Means Nevada is crucial because the members are part of the younger demographic.

“As teens, we kind of connect with each other more and feel more comfortable sharing with each other rather than like a counselor or a teacher,” Yee said.

The teen committee hosts events and provides tools, such as their “Ask 5” initiative.

“We should ask five people we know, how they’re doing to kind of get out there and check in on our friends,” Yee said.

Yee participated in a suicide prevention panel Thursday night, following a documentary screening — all of which focused on empowering young people to take action.

Siena Prenger is the founder of Teens Helping Teens, which she started a few years ago when she was around 13 or 14 years old. She says peer-to-peer resources are also key in actually encouraging those struggling to ask for help in the first place.

Siena Prenger

“It seems less like charity and more like just someone being a friend and I think that’s really important when it comes to them reaching out themselves,” Prenger said.

The main goal for all these advocates is to come together to help those in need.

“We should keep reaching out to each other, keep being there for each other and keep loving each other,” Yee said.

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