What is Brought to Reality, or BTR?
BTR is a local organization created by Nick Bales that is now run by his mother, Maria Bales. The goal of BTR is to raise awareness about mental health and give local teens a platform that provides comfort and reassurance in hard times. Not only does BTR spread positive messages to my Denver community, but it also is a clothing brand that further spreads their message. 10% of the profits go to mental health efforts. I wanted to share this amazing message below with everyone because the Bale’s family is truly an inspiration to me and everybody in my community.
“Through Brought to Reality, I want to bring awareness to teen mental health. My goal is to encourage my peers to be true to themselves, to stay grounded in reality, and to not numb themselves when times get tough. I also want to encourage compassion, because I know that there is always someone going through a harder situation than I am, and we should all help each other get through the difficult times. Most importantly, I’d like to motivate others to pursue their dreams, like how I’m pursuing BTR. Because one small idea can lead in to a larger message. My message is that life is precious; and I want to live every day to the fullest by being present, being myself, and following my dreams.”Nick Bales
Overall Information and Statistics
Since 2016, Colorado has had the highest increase of teen suicide in the United States. From 2016 to 2019, teen suicide in risen from 12.9 to 20.4 deaths per 100,000 adolescents ages 15-19, that is a 58% increase.
The Problem & Steps Toward Change
“This big jump in the teen suicide rate clearly shows we need to be doing more as a state to make sure kids have the mental health care they need.”Sarah Hughes, vice president of research initiatives for the Colorado Children’s Campaign.
In Colorado, and places all around the world, mental health and suicide are clouded by negative stigmas. Teens are afraid to reach out for help in fear that they will be judged or viewed differently by their community. There needs to be more organizations like BTR who promote community outreach to those who may be considering suicide. Suicide is a hard subject to talk about, but this national problem can be helped by every person who reads this presentation. Start a conversation. It is our job in our local towns and cities to promote comfortable discussions about suicide and how we can provide more resources to those in need. One conversation at a time. Soon, little increments of change will lead to monumental outcomes.
A Positive Note…Teens Helping Teens
Click this link to see how these Colorado teens are speaking out and inciting change their community everyday….
“Just to save one life because that means we’ve accomplished something.”Tobi Howell, member of Five to Thrive Teen Health
Noticeable changes in eating or sleeping habits
Unexplained or unusually severe, violent, or rebellious behavior
Withdrawal from family or friends
Sexual promiscuity, truancy, and vandalism
Drastic personality change
Agitation, restlessness, distress, or panicky behavior
Talking or writing about committing suicide, even jokingly
Giving away prized possessions
Doing worse in school
Note: Every teen is different, but these are considered to some of the most common warning signs from mental heath professionals
Common Risk Factors
- Poor social relationships
- Lack of family support
- Physical or sexual abuse
- Substance and alcohol misuse
- Health issues
- Depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.
- Prior suicide attempt(s)
- Knowing someone who died by suicide, particularly a family member.
How You Can Help
“Offer help and listen. Don’t ignore the problem. What you’ve noticed may be the teen’s way of crying out for help. Offer support, understanding and compassion. Talk about feelings and the behaviors you have seen that cause you to feel concerned. You don’t need to solve the problem or give advice. Sometimes just caring and listening, and being nonjudgmental, gives all the understanding necessary.”Stanford Children’s Health
- Seek professional help (such as a therapist or psychiatrist)
- Lock lethal weapons in your home such as guns. Make sure to lock and know the location of pills and dangerous kitchen utensils.
- If someone you care about is considering suicide do not keep it a secret, even if they tell you to. Tell a trusted adult or guardian who can intervene and become a resource.
^^ Here are some additional links for anyone who knows someone who may be considering suicide.
Start a conversation below about how mental health stigma impacts your community. Also, feel free to ask me any questions!
– National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
– Colorado Crisis Services Call: 1-844-493-TALK (8255)
– Colorado Crisis Services Text: Text TALK to 38255
Shaffer, David. “The epidemiology of teen suicide: An examination of risk
factors.” American Psychological Association, psycnet.apa.org/record/
Bales, Nick, and Maria Bales. “Our Story.” Brought to Reality,
Brown, Jennifer. “Colorado kids and teens are dying at a rate higher than the
U.S. average — and suicide is to blame.” The Colorado Sun [Denver], 17
June 2019, coloradosun.com/2019/06/17/kids-count-report-colorado/.
Daley, John. “The Rate Of Teen Suicide In Colorado Increased By 58% In 3 Years, Making It The Cause Of 1 In 5 Adolescent Deaths.” CPR News [Denver], 17 Sept. 2019
Stanford University. “Teen Suicide: Learning to Recognize the Warning Signs.”
Stanford Children’s Health, Stanford Medicine.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. “Risk and Protective Factors.” Suicide
Prevention Resource Center, www.sprc.org/about-suicide/
Rudlin, Kathryn. “Understanding Suicidal Ideation in Teens.” Verywell Mind, 26
“Talking to teens: Suicide prevention.” American Psychological Association,