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Stanford soccer star's tragic death intensifies attention on mental health

 STANFORD -- A tragedy in the San Francisco Bay Area was the spark a group of California teens needed to do something about breaking the stigma associated with youth mental illness and how to react in an emotional crisis.

Andrea Kitahata lost her friend, Stanford soccer standout Katie Meyer, to suicide.

 When that happened, she and her friend Charlotte Rosario, said they needed to do something about a problem not only where they live, but all over the world.

"She was a beloved member of our Bay Area community and so many of us were so sorry to hear of her passing,"  Rosario told KPIX. "It was really devastating."   

To turn pain into purpose, Charlotte and Andrea gathered their friends together to create a YouTube documentary, to address the stigma around asking for help.  The film is called "It's Time We Talk About It," a 10-minute documentary on the importance of mental health education. 

One of the teens featured is Terry Delaney. In the film, he bravely says, "I'm Terry Delaney and I want kids to be taken seriously when they come for help."

Delaney and his family are open about Terry's struggles to find mental wellness.

"I struggled,"  Terry said. "My journey was extremely difficult."  

Terry's story is like so many youths in the USA, who experience difficulty but find themselves with their families struggling to find adequate services with such high post-pandemic demand for help.

He got the help needed and is now a part of the documentary getting national attention.

 Movie-star turned talk-show host Drew Barrymore caught wind of the documentary and celebrated it on her nationally syndicated talk show, The Drew Barrymore Show. 

 "My mom put me away when I was thirteen," she told to her national audience. "I was out of control.  It taught me at a very young age that only toxicity comes from sweeping things under the rug.  It changed the rest of my life." 

 She, like the youth who stepped forward after the loss of Meyer, echoes the message they all agree needs to be heard by teens and their parents.  You matter.  Your stories matter.  And, by telling them, you are creating a world where your stories will set you free.

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