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Suicide is a growing problem for youth and young adults in Colorado, but a theater group in Pueblo County is fighting the issue with a play. The Arts Academy at Pueblo County High School created a play called "No One Hears Unless You Scream". The purpose of the performance is to raise awareness and work to prevent suicide. The play touches on issues like depression, bullying, and other topics that could potentially lead to suicide.
According to a report from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, suicide was the leading cause of death for youth and young adults 10 ro 24 years old in 2017. Actor Damien Lucero said suicide impacted his life when he lost his friend when he was in middle school.
"When I was in middle school, me and my friend were 14. He was dealing with suicidal thoughts, and I didn't realize it. He ended up committing suicide and it left like a hole in my heart because he was one of my best friends, so i couldn't imagine how his mom felt," he said. Actress Laela Vargas said this play is more than just memorizing lines. "I just want to get the message out there, we all as a group do It's not going to magically change everyone's perspective on everything, but it might help one person in a group of a thousand and that's all it takes," she said.
Director Roxanne Pignanelli said the purpose of the play is to start a conversation about suicide prevention.
"We don't know why people kill themselves. We are not even sure what we can do to stop it, but if we can just know where to send somebody to help them, and to listen to them, that's a start, that's step one," she said. Pignanelli said she plans to take the play on the road to other schools in Pueblo County.
Counselors were at the play to help people and provide resources. If you ever need to talk to anyone, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255, or chat online with someone here.
Preventing teen suicide is a topic News 5 has followed closely for years. Our one hour special, Teen Suicide, Starting the Conversation, covers important topics like warning signs, risk factors, steps parents should be taking and so much more.
The following one hour special video production was produced by local NBC affiliate KOAA 5 News as part of their Your Healthy Family series. Reporter Ira Cronin looks at the difficult subject of teen suicide in Colorado. The Arts Academy at Pueblo County High is featured showing the production of SCREAM.