Spring typically is when teen suicides spike, and April is National Stress Awareness Month, so two pertinent programs are on tap this week in Colorado Springs.
One is a workshop for parents of teens struggling with anxiety, depression or suicide ideation; the other is a multi-media event focusing on hope and help for teens throughout the Pikes Peak region.
“We’re coming up on finals and school ending and the transition to summer, and we know statistically it’s a higher season for suicides, so we really wanted to be strategic in reaching out to teens,” said Elsa Kok Colopy, organizer of “Light Up the Dark.”
That free event will kick off at 5:30 p.m. Friday with teen and adult speakers, food, games, an interactive photo booth, four teams of therapy dogs and performances by Turning Pointe School of Dance and the Show Choir of Vista Ridge High School.
It will be at Woodmen Valley Chapel, Woodmen Heights Campus, 8292 Woodmen Valley View in Colorado Springs. It is not a program of the church.
“It just breaks my heart to see kids taking their lives, and I had to get in the fight and do my part,” said Kok Colopy, a Colorado Springs author, speaker and mother of eight.
“I want teens to know their community, their teachers, law enforcement love them and believe they were created for a purpose,” Colopy said.
She will be among the speakers. Another, Trever Shirin of Mayfield Counseling Centers, will talk about building authentic relationships and listening to one another.
The first 500 students receive a ticket for a free backpack filled with resources. Giveaways worth about $1,500 to restaurants, putt-putt golf, bowling, indoor skydiving, theater shows, art experiences and other adventures they can do with their friends also will be held.
“Fun ways for students to get plugged into healthy community activities,” Colopy said.
Parents with troubled adolescents can find support at a first-time workshop Saturday.
With trolling and scrolling, blaming and shaming, parents can feel lost trying to navigate today’s stresses on teens, who are identified as the most stressed generation.
“We felt a sense of urgency in the community,” said digital storyteller Mari Moxley of Moxie in Motion, which is presenting the workshop.
The workshop, “Perfectly Imperfect: Support Rooted in Love,” will allow parents to talk about their situations and work through such issues as tempering expectations, grounding one’s self in stressful times and helping teens do the same.
It will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Penrose Library, 20 N. Cascade Ave. The cost is $30, and scholarships are available.
“Parents will walk away feeling supported and armed with a few new strategies,” said Moxley, who also is a graduate intern at Pikes Peak Suicide Prevention Partnership and works with a teen board for suicide prevention, whose input helped shape the workshop.
Parents will learn “co-regulation skills,” which Moxley said originates in non-verbal communication and can be passed on to children.
“It’s not necessarily what to do with your kid, but how to be,” she said.
To sign up, go to moxienmotion.com/perfectly-imperfect.html.
Contact the writer: 719-476-1656.