Suicide Prevention Education Awareness Knowledge (SPEAK) is a mental health awareness program that is youth-led and youth-driven. It consists of a week-long series of education in schools which culminates in the 5k Walk/Run. Members of the community were profoundly impacted with the 2011 death of Joshua Dillon, a Brighton High School Senior. In order to draw attention to the importance of mental health and to spread the message of healing and hope, SPEAK was born.
Since 2012, the BYC has planned SPEAK week to promote awareness about mental health and break down the stigmas surrounding it. SPEAK also aims to raise awareness of local resources for those who are in need.
During the inaugural year, the results of SPEAK week were phenomenal. Members of the BYC raised about $7,000, in addition to providing activities in two local high schools and hosted about 150 people at the first SPEAK 5K Walk.
Since 2012, the BYC has raised more than $100,000 to support SPEAK mental health initiatives. In 2019 SPEAK’s interactive and educational activities were offered in 14 27j schools. For more information please contact Tawnya Russell. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please call the suicide prevention hotline number: 1-800-273-TALK
The walk brings out a sea of support from members throughout the Colorado Community. The 5k Walk/Run is held at Carmichael Park and has some type of entertainment. The walk helps bring awareness to the severity of teen suicide while helping to educate the community and break down the stigmas that surround mental illness. The $15 registration fee provides each of the walkers with a commemorative t-shirt as well as a coupon book and event bag.
To view more details about this year's SPEAK Week & Walk visit speak5k.org.
This year marks the 12th Anniversary of SPEAK Week. Since 2012, the Brighton Youth Commission (BYC) has planned SPEAK Week to promote awareness about mental health and break down stigmas surrounding it. Colorado is eighth in the nation for the number of youth suicides, and the Brighton community has felt the impact of this statistic personally and profoundly with the 2011 death of Joshua Dillon, a Brighton High senior.
SPEAK has grown each subsequent year, both in the week's activities, number of schools involved, and especially the 5k Walk that completes the week's events. Additionally, SPEAK has greatly impacted the way our school district addresses teen mental health and suicide awareness. We are excited to continue this annual event and make a difference in our community.