Feb 13, 2012 7:32 PM by David Ortiviz
Teenagers who are struggling with life may be seeking advice from the boys next door. Two young men in Pueblo have started an advice blog to help kids in crisis. But with no training, it raises the question should they leave counseling to the professionals?
"We're not claiming that we're professionals in anyway, we're just two young kids that want to help other kids in need," said Ramirez.
Gary Ramirez, 20 and Danny Manes, 17 are the faces behind Hopeline for Teens. Kids who are struggling with anything from depression to anorexia, even rape can ask questions anonymously on the interactive blog.
Ramirez and Manes don't have any professional training, but they give advice relying on their own experiences. In high school, Ramirez says he was bullied so much he almost gave up. "I actually contemplated suicide myself," said Ramirez.
For a time Manes was a bully, but he turned his life around. "I didn't want to see that pain on anyone else again," said Manes. "I saw how much a human can be brought down by just words," he added.
Opposite perspectives teaming up to make a difference. Recently on Facebook Manes noticed a chilling status update from a friend. "It said thank you Jesus for the life you've given me, but it's time to go," said Manes. He reached out to the suicidal teen, chatting online for hours. Ramirez joined in but realized it was out of their control. "It worried my like, okay he's actually going to do this, so I immediately called 911" said Ramirez. The friend got help and they were credited with saving a life.
Eleanor Hamm director of the Pueblo Suicide Prevention Center says: "They actually did a very good job." We asked her if she thinks they're qualified to counsel? "I know there's concern... But truthfully this is a new millenium," said Hamm. She says their goal is to train them, so they know their limits.
"Though we're not professionals I think it's just easier for us to reach (kids) because they know we've been there recently," said Ramirez. The young men say they're living proof life gets better. "We want to be that little grain of hope for our generation," said Manes.
Ramirez and Manes say they plan to get training with the suicide prevention center.