LONGMONT – May is National Mental Health Awareness Month and a group of Longmont teens is hoping to spark conversation about teen suicide with a new art competition.
The contest is the brainchild of the Longmont Youth Council, a panel of teens tasked with advising the Longmont City Council on issues that affect young people.
The council is inviting other Longmont teens in their age group – 11 to 18 – to submit artwork that “offers encouragement and hope to individuals affected by suicide.”
Teen suicide has been a topic of conversation in many schools recently, following the release of the Netflix show ’13 Reasons Why,’ which centers around a teenage girl who commits suicide. Some have expressed concern that the show might glorify suicide, and local school districts have encouraged parents to talk to their children about it.
Longmont’s Children, Youth and Families department has seen an increase in youth suicide assessments the last year, counselor Olga Bermudez told the Times-Call, though the reason for the increase is unclear.
"The caseload for me has increased. Last year, it used to be one (teen suicide assessment) per month, and in the last six months, it's been more like two or three per week," Bermudez said.
The Longmont Youth Council hopes to make a dent in those numbers with its art contest, and the art pieces will go on display at public buildings around Longmont, including the public library, civic center and recreation center, the Times-Call reports
There are three cash prizes up for grabs in the art competition: $50 for third place, $100 for second place and $200 for first place.
The deadline to submit art for the contest is Wednesday, May 10.
For more information on the contest, log on to longmontcolorado.gov.