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High school football players raising awareness to prevent teen suicide

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 10:03 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - High school football players across Arizona are working to raise awareness for Suicide Prevention Month.

“Everyone feels like giving up sometimes. If you’re struggling with thoughts of suicide, don’t give up,” said Tyler Haynie, in a public service announcement in collaboration with Teen Lifeline and the Grand Canyon State Gridiron Club.

Haynie is the quarterback of the football team at Ironwood Ridge High School. He’s one of 12 Arizona athletes in a campaign to prevent teen suicide.

“We posted to social media and everyone was reposting it, getting it out there, spreading the word,” he said. “All of my teammates are coming up, hugging each other in the locker room. It’s something that needs to be spread around.”

Their goal is to reduce the stigma around mental health.

“I’ve had family in my background that have had mental illness and they’ve passed away,” he said. “It really connects to my heart and I just want other people to know they can talk about it and share, like to me, to anybody.”

Teen Lifeline has a free hotline for teenagers who are struggling. The agency has seen a 70 percent increase in calls and texts since the beginning of the pandemic.

“It’s easy to think about having a higher call volume as being a bad thing but at Teen Lifeline we really believe having more kids reach out is a positive for us,” said Morgan Phillips, the Teen Lifeline lead prevention specialist.

Teens can call or text Teen Lifeline at 602-249-8336. The hotline is free and confidential.

Copyright 2021 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.