Aired Wednesday April 29th, 2009 at 8:00 pm on KUED HD Ch. 7.1
This program was screened at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21st at the Salt Lake City Main Library. Learn more!
Two years after the country was rattled by the Virginia Tech shooting that left 33 dead, CRY for HELP takes a critical look at the issues surrounding teen depression and suicide. The program airs Wednesday, April 29, 2009, at 8 p.m. on KUED-Channel 7.
A free screening and panel discussion of this program will be held Tuesday, April 21, at 7 p.m. in the auditorium at the Salt Lake City Main Public Library, 210 East 400 South. Panelists for this screening include Dr. Douglas Gray, associate professor of Psychiatry at the University of Utah Department of Psychiatry, Dr. James Kahn, Ph.D., director of Psychology, University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute, Kristen Reisig, clinical director, Children Youth and Family, Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, Sherri Wittwer, M.P.A., executive director, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness).
Behind the acts of violence and rage of both the Virginia Tech and Columbine shootings is a larger issue of mental illness in teens that is rarely addressed. For instance:
Featuring first-person stories from adolescents who are confronting depression, anxiety and mental illness, CRY for HELP takes an intimate look at the efforts of two high schools to identify adolescents at risk. Hamilton High School in Ohio and Clarkstown North High School in New York have both been affected by teen suicide and have launched powerful new programs to prevent future tragedies.
Following the unrelated suicides of four students that shook the Hamilton community, school officials are taking a direct approach with "Character Day" - a raw, emotional and honest program designed to motivate students to open up and ask for help. In Clarkstown, school officials are taking advantage of the time their students spend on the Internet by creating an online community - one where teens can anonymously air their problems and seek support from their peers and professionals.
CRY for HELP also examines the often difficult transition from high school to college through a first-person account of a young woman who has battled mental illness. Stacy Hollingsworth, a straight-A student and gifted musician, was by all appearances a well-adjusted and accomplished young person. When Stacy phoned home from a campus psychiatric hospital during her freshman year at college, her parents realized things were not as perfect as they seemed. She had been hiding depression, suicidal thoughts and feelings of paralyzing hopelessness for years. Stacy and her parents chronicle the painstaking journey to put her life back together, and how she founded her college's first on-campus chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.
Additionally, CRY for HELP looks at the efforts by some parents to tackle behavior and communication issues during their children's earliest years - before depression, violence, anger or suicidal impulses take over.
¹ Campus Mental Service, Recommendations for Change. Vastag et al, 2001.
² Nejm 2006. Study from Velez et al, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 1988.
³ Secret Service Threat Assessment Study for the U.S. Justice Dept.
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