BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – As mental health experts in the state work to tackle an increase in mental health concerns among Maine teens, one teenager in Bangor is doing her part.
16-year-old Sarah Danby, a student at Bangor High School, lead a number of efforts to raise awareness alongside her friends over the last year.
"Four then in the last two years I want to say about five,” Danby said when asked about how many suicides there have been in the Bangor area recently. "The absence of that person like you never really realize like oh they're not here anymore. It's really weird."
Danby held a suicide prevention walk called Steps for Souls to rally hundreds of people around the cause. Now she is taking part in a campaign with Acadia Hospital aimed at educating parents on the issue.
"It's just been affecting a lot of people and we feel like as teenagers rather than adults we felt like we could do something bigger,” she said.
The series produced by Acadia Hospital highlights a number of the pressures teens are facing and resources parents can turn to.
"Yes. There certainly have been an increase probably in the last year or so of either attempted suicides or completed suicides,” Judy Fortin, a social worker at Acadia, said.
Fortin said she hopes the video can provide crucial insight in a difficult time for teens and their parents.
"They're going to reach their peers in ways that we can't,” Fortin said.
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Danby admitted that her and her friends efforts have not been met without some pushback from peers.
"Actually a lot of us at school have gotten bullied for it, like 'You're four girls you can't make a difference,” Danby said.
Still, she hopes her voice can be more easily heard to help others realize they are not alone.
"We really just tried to show that it's something okay to talk about and it needs to be talked about,” Danby said.
The Acadia Hospital CARES series will continue throughout the year.
For more information and resources visit acadiahospital.org/acadiacares.