SEATTLE -- The month of May is observed for Mental Health Awareness. This may come as a surprise, but the Washington State Department of Health says suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people ages 10 to 24.
Thinking about those numbers is upsetting for any parent, but one dad is so concerned, he’s taking action.
“Be the change you want to see,” says Colby Wallace.
Sometimes you have to dig deep, and be bold.
That’s what Wallace hopes to do in his Queen Anne neighborhood.
“I mean, it's rooted in love,” says Wallace.
A few weeks ago, he started posting signs all along the sidewalks near his daughters’ elementary school. The messages are simple.
“You are worthy of love,” says Wallace.
The message behind the message:
“Don’t give up. Everybody is struggling. You don’t know what people are going through,” says Wallace.
It's a non-profit that started in Oregon and it’s spreading to neighborhoods all around the world, hoping to inspire hope, according to its website. Colby says his goal is to get people talking about mental health. He’s especially concerned about suicides among young people.
“As a parent, you feel really helpless when you hear these stories, that this is happening. This is happening a lot, but nobody wants to talk about it,” says Wallace.
You may be thinking it’s a big topic for such a tiny audience. But the words are on not lost on the little ones.
“If you give up, you will always not be good at something,” says 6-year-old Zoe.
“It’s definitely resonating with people,” says Wallace.
Even other parents seem to appreciate the notion.
“What's wrong with having a positive message in general right? I think we need more of it,” says dad Deejay Alook.
Lately, Wallace says some of the signs have been vandalized. That’s why neighbors like Penny Scordas are hosting them in their own front yards.
“What a great idea to boost people’s feelings about themselves. I can’t think of anything that's better than 'You matter,'” says Scordas.
Wallace is hoping the message will spread. We spotted more signs sprouting up just a few miles away.
“It’s contagious, hopefully,” says Wallace.
To become the change you want to see, sometimes you have to dig deep and be bold.
"I don’t know where this thing ends, but for now, for today, this is what we are going to do. Don’t give up,” says Wallace.
Mental health experts have told us time and again, these are important conversations to have with your loved ones, especially young people.
If you or someone you love is in crisis – the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.