Reaching At-Risk Teens With Comic Books on Tough Topics
Suicide rates in the United States have increased substantially over the past two decades, according to the American Psychological Association. Since 1999, the rate has jumped 35 percent. For teens, the suicide rate is also on the rise. The rate of suicide rose 50 percent between 2000 and 2016 for women and girls, and 21 percent for men and boys.
Centerstone, a health system offering mental health services in Tennessee, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, and Indiana, has taken a unique approach to talking to teens about tough topics like suicide — a superhero-themed comic book series.
“Depression and suicidal thoughts are prominent mental health issues facing kids today,” says Ashleigh Hall, a marketing manager at Centerstone. “Centerstone Comics are a creative way to spark conversations around tough, pressing topics.”
Hall launched the project in 2015 while working as an outreach coordinator on the Prevention Services team for Centerstone. She says: “I was at an event with a media specialist. He walked around and came back to our booth with a Martin Luther King Jr. graphic novel and said, ‘Do you think we can do this for risky behaviors?’ I told him, ‘I’m sure we can!’”
The comics follow a teen named Amber who becomes a superhero known as Spark. Throughout the series, Spark deals with many issues facing teens like bullying, underage drinking, sexting, and suicide.
Read the full story to learn more about the comics and how they are being received: Centerstone Uses Comics to Talk to Kids About Tough Topics
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