ARVADA, Colo. — It wasn't an easy day, but it was one that friends and family of Jack Padilla were determined to fill with color.

Padilla's parents and some students at Cherry Creek High School sported blue, the teen's favorite color, on the one year anniversary of his attempt to take his own life. Padilla was in the hospital for nine days after where he later died.

His friends formed a youth group called "Jack Strong" to spread awareness of the needs of students to prevent suicide.

Jack Padilla was only 15 when he took his own life.

jack strong
Jack Padilla

"It warms my heart because these kids are thinking about their mental health," said Rick Padilla, Jack's father. "They're thinking about my son as a catalyst for the conversation."

That conversation has reached teachers and parents in Jefferson County where the school district's PTA recently started organizing suicide prevention training.

"I think it was just supposed to be one or maybe a couple," said Amy Nitta, a member of the PTA and a mom to two JeffCo students. "But the response was so overwhelming and it was because we have lost a few kids who are from this area."

The training covers QPR, a play-on method of CPR. The idea is for the sessions to teach people how to handle an "emergency intervention that you would do with someone who's considering suicide," Nitta said.

jack strong

The "Q" stands for question. Parents and teachers are trained to directly ask students if they're thinking about harming themselves.

"P" is for persuade. This is the part where students are persuaded to seek help for any suicidal feelings or thoughts.

And the "R" represents refer, as in adults then refer specifically where and how students can get help.

For now, the trainings are only offered for people 18 and up, but the PTA is looking to organize one for teens.

"You want to know what to do," Nitta said. "You want to know how to help and where to send these kids so that we quit losing them."

You can register for upcoming training sessions on the JeffCo PTA website.

The future dates listed are February 8, March 7 and April 11.

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