Franklin James Cook

Teenager Forms Nonprofit To Attack Teen Depression

In Grief, Mental Illness, Prevention on December 29, 2008 at 3:15 am
Jenna Machado

Jenna Machado

ORIGINAL STORY — A story by reporter Amy Bounds in the Boulder Daily Camera tells how Jenna Machado’s suicide prevention efforts caught the attention of Parade Magazine, the Sunday supplement in newspapers throughout the United States. Here’s the sketch from “Teens: The Take-Action Generation” in yesterday’s issue of Parade:

After her 20-year-old cousin, Nicole (known as Colie), took her own life in 2003, Jenna Machado of Boulder, Colo., was moved to form the organization Colie’s Closet … [which] holds school and community presentations on the warning signs of depression and raises money to provide treatment for teens who can’t afford counseling.

The Daily Camera’s feature story points out that Machado, now a college freshman in Minneapolis, started her nonprofit organization three years ago when she was in high school. At 15, she began working on her goal, “to prevent teen suicides by sending trained teen ‘peer educators’ to Boulder Valley schools to teach other students the signs of depression and how to get help.”

“It was a way to help me cope, to help me take my mind off everything,” Machado said. “That kind of pain, no family should ever have to go through it.”

In three years, Colie’s Closet also raised $13,000 by selling used clothing and “Hold on” bracelets. The money paid for low-cost and no-cost counseling for teens who couldn’t afford it.

The messages from Colie’s Closet attack stigma and myths and directly assert that suicide is preventable.

Machado said she wanted to address the misconceptions about suicide and depression. One misconception is that simply talking about suicide could prompt more suicides. Another is that once people decide to take their own lives, they can’t be dissuaded.

“There’s so much stigma,” Machado said. “It’s an issue that’s never talked about. If we had known where to go and what to do, maybe my cousin would have survived. It really can be prevented.”

[The abridged URL for this post is .]

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