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Campo and Highland students partner for PSA

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Hannah Bates smiles for the camera during a PSA recording.One in five teens report thoughts of suicide, according to data from Teen Lifeline. Now more than ever, it is important for teens and youth to know they are supported, and there are resources available for them. 

Campo Verde and Highland High students have partnered together to make sure their peers know that they are never alone. The two GPS high schools have created a public service announcement to be shared with their schools and the community. 

“I think my favorite part is being that person, being the one who can say, “listen, suicide is something that we can talk about.” It’s not something that we need to step away from or shy away from,” said Hannah Bates, a senior and student body president at Campo Verde.

This was Bates’ second year participating in the PSA project. She admits that she’s learned a lot through the process, and it’s made her more aware and passionate about the topic. 

“I feel like the video has helped me learn how to talk to people, what to do in a situation, or how to be the one that someone comes to. Not so much spitting facts at people, but it’s more like understanding what people are going through,” she said.

While the PSA is student-driven, Jim Baker, a counselor at Campo Verde, helped organize the project. He reached out to Raina Rios, a mental health counselor, at Highland High to help him select students to participate. A majority of the Campo students are also members of the school’s Wellness Committee.

“We have football players, agricultural students, ROTC students, and we try to get a representative sample of different grade levels as well,” Baker said, “We wanted people who students could relate to. It’s great to see a peer that they can reach out to if they need to talk.”

The theme for the PSA is “We’re all on the same team. Stay in the game.” The idea plays off the Campo/Highland football match-up, which also happened to be Highland’s homecoming game. 

“We’re competitors, but we still care about each other,” Baker said.

The schools enlisted GPS Superintendent Dr. Shane McCord to help deliver this important message. Baker says the PSA will also be shared with the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) and Teen Lifeline. Students at both schools will be shown the video during their advisory times. 

“I really want people to realize that they are cared for and by people that they barely know,” Bates said, “You may not know me super well, but I care about you. I don’t want anything bad to happen to you.”

For those experiencing a mental health-related or substance-use crisis, dial 988 to get connected with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Additional resources can be found on the websites for Lifeline or Teen Lifeline




Written By Kailey Latham, Video by Jonason Pauley