Hope Means Nevada, the community-based non-profit focused on eliminating youth suicide in the state, announces Rising Hope, a free statewide virtual festival to raise awareness of how mental wellness saves lives and help those struggling with mental illness find resources and community.
Rising Hope will be held Nov. 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The festival will be hosted by comedian Jeff Civillico and UNLV freshman student Valerie Almirola, with programming designed to engage teens, their parents, families, counselors and anyone else who wants to learn more about how to safeguard their own mental health and that of their friends and loved ones.
The four-hour schedule will feature a fast-paced mix of frank mental health discussions, performances by regional entertainers and luminaries such as local singer-songwriter ChloA Watson, Alex Aide from Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation and Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller, as well as teens discussing their concerns and sharing resources. Topics to be addressed include anxiety and depression, bullying, sexual orientation and peer pressure.
The impact of COVID-19 means people of all ages, including teens, may be encountering higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression—and Nevada’s teen suicide rate is already among the highest in the nation.
In 2019, the Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention ranked Nevada eleventh in the United States for teen suicide, double the national rate. Suicide is the leading cause of death for Nevada youth ages 11 - 19 and 1 in 5 Nevada middle and high school students has considered, planned or committed suicide.
Tragically, in just the first month of the current school year, the Clark County School District reported three teen suicides. Last year, no teen suicides were reported during the first month of the school year.
Hope Means Nevada’s 65-member teen committee representing high schools around the state meets monthly to discuss volunteer activities and ways to engage.
A full schedule of the Rising Hope festival, as well as instruction on how to participate, is available here.