Rocky Mountain PBS: ‘We just need help’: Aurora teen lends her voice to state plan providing free counseling for youth

Story excerpt:

"Aku Unvu says she felt like she was going to fall off the edge.

The 18-year-old, soon-to-be graduate at APS Avenues in Aurora describes months of pandemic pressure adding up to a mental health crisis.

Unvu says she was taking both high school and college-level courses when the pandemic closed schools in the spring of 2020.

'It was constant work, around-the-clock work, trying to get assignments done, making sure that I'm on top of my grades,' she recalled to Rocky Mountain PBS.

Both of her parents had to go to work, so she found herself with extra responsibilities caring for her younger siblings. Then, she says the killing of George Floyd left her afraid to leave her home.

'I told myself, ‘If I can just make it to 18 without being a hashtag, I’m good. I’ve made it,’' Unvu said. 

That fear, plus stress about school, applying to colleges, and the responsibility to help care for her family: it all combined and took a toll on her mental health."