By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Thursday is Mental Health Action Day to recognize and help people struggling emotionally. CBS3 is committed to sharing stories and resources throughout May, Mental Health Awareness Month. Today, a dramatic increase in teenagers with depression, anxiety, and suicide.

Teenagers are stressed out, facing all sorts of pressures — academically, socially and at home — and there’s also a mental health crisis. One young man we’ve been following for years has turned his suicide attempt into advocacy.

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“This was by far the best day of my life,” Jordan Burnham said.

Burnham is talking about his wedding and being in love. It’s a long journey from the dark day 15 years ago when he tried to kill himself from his ninth-floor bedroom window.

“I think I was desperate more than anything,” Burnham said. “It was hard to find hope, or to see hope.”

Burnham suffered devastating injuries. It was four years before he could walk again. And this was a star at Upper Merion High School, popular and a gifted athlete.

“To everyone, it looked like I was the happiest kid alive,” Burnham said in 2008, “but I just had a lot of things internally that were just eating me alive.”

Burnham now works with Minding Your Mind, talking to groups and encouraging teens to embrace their feelings.

“Talking about it, it’s not the easiest thing to do,” he said, “but that is the crucial part of all of this is communication and being able to open up in different ways.”

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Teenagers are facing an epidemic of depression and suicide.

“Even prior to the pandemic, we were seeing increasing rates of teen suicides and so the suicide rates for adolescents have continued to be the second leading cause of death for quite some time now,” Dr. Tami Benton said.

Benton, the chief psychiatrist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, says it’s unclear exactly why so many teenagers are depressed, a primary factor linked to suicide along with substance abuse.

“There are associations with social media and many different mental health conditions,” Benton said. “We do know that online bullying, online discrimination increases rates of depression among adolescents and we know that’s it’s associated with suicidally.”

Compounding the problem, there are limited resources for treatment.

“We’ve seen times that we’ve had 20 children in the hospital in pediatric medical beds awaiting psychiatric services,” Benton said.

For Burnham, it’s about helping others with his journey from torment to triumph.

“Sharing my story is something that I love to do, but more than anything, I love hearing other stories and helping others share their stories,” Burnham said.

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Experts say signs of trouble to watch out for include changes in behavior, eating or sleeping and becoming withdrawn.

Stephanie Stahl