I wasn't aware of depression for a long time. Once I came into high school, however, many of my close friends began developing depression. I stumbled upon depression, and did some research about the symptoms and how to help. However, much of the information was non-intuitive to access and was not relevant to teens. The biggest issue was that the information for curing or for reducing depression was written for the patients themselves - my friends refused to acknowledge the situation. As they came very close to committing suicide, I felt powerless and not like a good friend at all. They have now received treatment, but I resolved not to let this happen again. While teens may feel like they are alone, they never are - they have a network of family and friends who care about them and often see the signs but do not know how to help. To this end, me and my friends aimed to create a network which intuitively presented the facts and resources for the friends and family of the depressed person. We hoped to prevent teen depression and suicide by encouraging others to pursue stopping them in their own communities.
Noting that our aims were like starting a fire in different communities and that every fire needs a spark, we named our project and our participants Sparks for Life. We hope that over time, the reach of our website increases and that everyone who needs access to this information will get it. To this end, we have created pages on the websites teens use most - Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube. We hope our message will be spread through these websites and through community events.
Teen Link is the #1 resource on our web site because it is one of the few avenues for teens to talk anonymously about anything, big or small, with someone their own age who can understand them. Teen Link is open every night to call at 1-866-833-6546 or available some nights to chat at 866teenlink.org