Teenager’s anti-sui­cide pro­gram gain­ing at­ten­tion

The Denver Post - - DENVER & THE WEST - By Deb­bie Kel­ley

Colorado Springs teenager Macy Rae Klein has turned feel­ings of worth­less­ness and ac­tions of self­harm into a sui­cide pre­ven­tion mes­sage that’s get­ting a na­tional stage.

The 16-year-old, an in­com­ing ju­nior at The Clas­si­cal Academy Col­lege Path­ways in Academy School Dis­trict 20, shared her fight against sui­cide in an in­ter­view Fri­day at Trin­ity Broad­cast­ing Net­work record­ing stu­dios in Tustin, Calif.

The in­ter­view will air 9:30 p.m. Mon­day on TBN Salsa via Glo­rys­tar on Chan­nel 115 and stream­ing on­line. A week later, it will be posted on Youtube.

“Adults do every­thing they can to stop sui­cide, and teenagers just tend to sit there,” Macy Rae said. “The prob­lem is adults know their gen­er­a­tion, while we know our gen­er­a­tion. We know how to re­ally spot a kid who’s sui­ci­dal and bring a so­lu­tion to it. It’s the com­bined ef­fort that’s im­por­tant — we both have some­thing to con­trib­ute to this cause.”

Macy Rae started a web­site, Pro­jec­trea­sons.org, in March, af­ter strug­gling for years with sui­ci­dal thoughts and go­ing through four stu­dents from her school net­work tak­ing their own lives.

“It be­came a panic of who was it this time,” she said. “It be­came not shock­ing, like it should be.”

The web­site in­cludes re­sources for teens and par­ents, cop­ing strate­gies, a blog, a fo­rum, a life pledge, com­mu­nity in­volve­ment, a sup­port net­work and other fea­tures.

Her own dark­ness de­scended af­ter she had surgery in fifth grade that left her body scarred.

“It messed with my self­es­teem,” she said. “The sec­ond I got out of the wheel­chair, ev­ery­one left me feel­ing like some­thing was wrong with me.”

Macy Rae started hang­ing out with the wrong crowd in mid­dle school and in sev­enth grade be­gan cut­ting her­self as a way of cop­ing with stress, fail­ure, lone­li­ness, loss and other emo­tions.

“Cut­ting be­comes an ad­dic­tion. I hated it, but there was a piece of me that still loved it,” she said. “It took in­ter­nal pain and made it ex­ter­nal and vis­i­ble. It made my pain make sense to me.”

A year and a half ago, Macy Rae asked her pe­di­a­tri­cian about her be­hav­ior, and then her par­ents found out about the cut­ting.

“I didn’t know why I was feel­ing de­pressed and sui­ci­dal,” she said. “I just knew it wasn’t nor­mal. I was putting my­self in sit­u­a­tions where I would be jus­ti­fied to be sui­ci­dal.”

Macy Rae wanted to over­come her prob­lems, said her mother, Gin­ger.

That’s now part of what she helps her peers with.

“She en­cour­ages kids even if they don’t have a rea­son or ex­cuse to be de­pressed, to re­duce the stigma around open­ing up and ex­press­ing the trou­ble they’re hav­ing,” her mom said.

Af­ter an­other stu­dent died by sui­cide ear­lier this year, Macy Rae asked her mom why adults couldn’t fix the prob­lem.

“I said what do you think your peer group can do to be part of the con­ver­sa­tion,” Gin­ger Klein said.

Macy Rae also talked to a teacher, who told her sui­cide pre­ven­tion is a puz­zle in which ev­ery­one has a piece in solv­ing.

“Those two things prompted her to do some­thing,” her mom said.

On Macy Rae’s dig­i­tal plat­form, teens can meet and take a “life pledge,” a prom­ise to the com­mu­nity that they will choose life, iden­tify per­sonal rea­sons for do­ing so and open up rather than keep their pain to them­selves.

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