Yesterday we witnessed a historic moment with hundreds of thousands of teens, as well as others, marching and raising their voices loudly to be heard. While the protests focused on a specific agenda, gun laws and violence, the movement carries significance beyond the topic. We have known, and the research bears out, that there is tremendous power and influence when teens come together with their peer to peer “Voice”. YHC depression and suicide prevention program, “How Not To Keep A Secret” is designed to give teens the platform for taking clinical information directly to their peers. It is about open dialog and reducing stigma and increasing access to intervention and treatment.

In this instance, teens are grabbing the stage, demonstrating and speaking to challenge our country to examine laws and to challenge our elected officials to understand people’s outrage. I am not speaking about politics, I am speaking about teens empowerment to make us move the needle to open our country’s dialog and to be honest and explore. Teens are rising up and using knowledge to try to really make a difference. They are pushing us to explore ideas that are complex but critical for our next generation. These are big moral questions that need to be thoughtfully considered and respected. It is remarkable to listen to their eloquence, to their honesty, to hear from them. There are no simple solutions, but teens are imploring action be taken to insure that all Americans have the right to safety, no matter where they live or work. Through teen action they are demonstrating belief in collective resilience and hope.

Teen voices are being heard and respected. Adults should listen intently. We should all be grateful we live in a country where we can speak openly.