Nonprofit of The Week: Umttr
Umttr is a Montgomery County nonprofit that works with teens and young adults to prevent teen suicide, bullying, and depression. Their message is “Every Life Matters.”
Back in January, Evan’s mother, Susan Rosenstock, talked to MyMCMedia at a teen suicide prevention program at the Springbrook High School in Silver Spring.
Susan said she lost her son almost two years ago.
“So after he ended his life, a group of four children, individually came up to me and said that they wanted to create a movement where they could end teen suicide and depression,” Susan said.
Today, the organization reaches more than 10,000 people working in 10 high schools, and six college campus. According to Susan, by building a compassionate culture, teens are supported and empowered through Umttr to help themselves and others.
Justin Kay, senior at Walt Whitman High School, added that teen suicide is “obviously a very important current issue that is difficult to deal with” and Umttr’s goal is to make this a past issue.
“What teens don’t seem to realize is that it is always going to get better, no matter how bad the situation is they have so much ahead of them in life, and it really is such a tragedy when teens do decide to take their own life. Every suicide is preventable, every teen needs a supportive environment in which they know they’re cared about, and that is why peers are so important in adolescence,” Kay said.
Elliot Thaker, senior at Winston Churchill High School, said the most important thing teens can do is keep an open eye.
“Clearly- since we are not trained professionals- we can only offer help to a certain degree, but being able to effectively identify the warning signs in our classmates would be huge progress. If anybody displaying signs of depression/suicidal tendencies is told that they matter, or that someone cares, it may just keep them hanging on,” Thaker said.
To continue raising awareness to prevent teen suicide, bullying and depression, Umttr and other local leaders have partnered with Given an Hour- a nonprofit founded to meet the mental health needs of military personnel, families, and communities affected by the post-9/11 conflict- to host the launching of a national campaign to change mental health in America.
“True action in being able to identify warning signs in those we see and deal with every day. Who best to know you than your fellow co-workers, parents, teachers, and friends? So this campaign will educate others on how to look for those signs and seek help or direct them to receive help,” Susan said.
The National Campaign Launch to Change the Story About Mental Health is scheduled for March 4 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Newseum in D.C. Special guests include First Lady Michelle Obama, and Academy Award Winning Producer Bruce Cohen.
“Every person, no matter how depressed, matters, and it is vitally important that every teen and every adult for that matter, knows that fact,” Thaker said.
To find out more about Umttr and how to volunteer, click here.