Teens to teens: Never alone

Jacob Hamilton, who plays Alone in a suicide prevention video released at Central High School on Thursday, eats breakfast while his parents fight in the background. The video, titled "Alone," was produced in coordination with the Mid-Valley Suicide Prevention Coalition and Talewind Visuals.

INDEPENDENCE – Jacob Hamilton gazes at a card that says: “Need to talk to someone?” as he wakes up in the morning.

It’s from his high school’s counseling office and lists a time – 3:30 p.m.

Before he can get there, he listens to his parents fight as he eats breakfast. He endures the Popular Girl’s group of friends making fun of him as he walks past in the hall at school. Then, he gets pushed to the ground by the school Jock.

As he walks to the back of his class, he passes the future Valedictorian already hard at work before the bell rings.

He feels depressed, Alone, until he goes to the counseling office, to find the Popular girl, Jock, and Valedictorian there with him.

Hamilton (Alone), Marcos Cedillo (Jock), Savannah Mendoza (Popular Girl), and Erika Leon (Valedictorian) are all members of Central High School’s Power Peers class. The non-traditional leadership group led by teacher Roseanna Larson strives to improve the culture at the school.

The class launched a suicide prevention campaign Thursday with the video “Alone” with the message that anyone can experience depression and hopelessness – even people with a lot of friends or academic and athletic successes.

The class produced the video in coordination with Mid-Valley Suicide Prevention Coalition and Talewind Visuals.

Thursday morning, it was shown to all classes at Central High School and released on the high school’s and the coalition’s websites and social media platforms. Each student received the same card with counseling information Hamilton’s Alone had in the video.

The production has no spoken lines. You watch what happens to Alone. The other characters’ struggles, like “anger,” “stress,” and “body image,” – contrary to each one’s behavior and demeanor -- are written on pieces of tape on their back packs.

“I feel like it gives off more a message to people. There’s like no script involved, because then everybody has their own viewpoint on that, rather than us just saying it,” said Jasmine Gonzalez, who helped planning and production on the video.

The video was filmed last spring and is the first of two to be released this school year.

Students involved in the production said they want their peers, and others, to know it’s OK to ask for help with depression and suicidal thoughts.

“I just want people to know that they are not alone,” Hamilton said.

To see “Alone”: www.mvsuicideprevention.com.

For more on this story, see the Oct. 18 edition of the I-O.

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