by Courtesy of My Life is Worth Living

Former 'Rugrats' executive Terry Thoren and the Cook Center for Human Connection created the first animated series about teen mental health and suicide, as it was recently dubbed a national emergency by the United States Surgeon General

Through 20 diverse episodes, the show addresses serious adolescent issues through animation, modeling healthy coping skills and behaviors for teens struggling with mental health. To create the animated series, the Cook Center partnered with Wonder Media, an animation studio headed by Terry Thoren. 

“To reach teens and their support systems where they are, it was a priority for us to have the My Life is Worth Living episodes available in multiple languages and freely accessible on YouTube,” said Anne Brown, CEO of the The Cook Center for Human Connection, the producers of the animated series. “Our goal is to provide meaningful, research-based resources to empower teens, parents, and educators to start conversations about mental health that can ultimately save a life.”

The characters face issues familiar to many teens: trauma, depression, fear of social rejection, sexual identity/orientation, sexual abuse, cyberbullying, and substance abuse. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-24. Recent national surveys of young people have shown alarming increases in the prevalence of certain mental health challenges. 

According to the U.S Surgeon General in a report that identified at-risk youth, from 2009 to 2019, the proportion of high school students reporting persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness increased by 40 percent; the share seriously considering attempting suicide increased by 36 percent; and those creating a suicide plan increased by 44 percent.

Between 2011 and 2015, youth psychiatric visits to emergency departments for depression, anxiety, and behavioral challenges increased by 28 percent. Between 2007 and 2018, suicide rates among youth ages 10-24 in the US increased by 57 percent.

National Center for Health Statistics suggests in early estimates that there were tragically more than 6,600 deaths by suicide among the 10-24 age group in 2020.

“The pandemic’s negative impacts most heavily affected those who were vulnerable to begin with, such as youth with disabilities, racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+ youth, low-income youth, youth in rural areas, youth in immigrant households, youth involved with the child welfare or juvenile justice systems, and homeless youth,”The United States Surgeon General wrote in a declaring teen mental health a national emergency

A CDC survey mid-pandemic found 4 in 10 respondents struggling with mental health, the rate highest among young people and racial/ethnic minorities.

All episodes are available free of charge on YouTube, and are available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Mandarin. To access the additional international languages, go to the series’ Channels.

If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts you can call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time of day or night or chat online.

Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7, confidential support when you dial 741741.

Parent resources and additional mental health information can be found at

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *