SNOHOMISH, Wash. — A Snohomish animator who was one of the masterminds behind iconic kids shows like "Rugrats" and "The Wild Thornberrys" has launched a new show aimed at preventing teen suicides: "My Life is Worth Living."
Terry Thoren is a veteran producer with over 40 years of experience in Hollywood. Thoren split his time living in Snohomish for the last five years, and he said it was support from the community and the Lions Club of Snohomish that helped him fund and gather momentum to produce the very first animated series focusing on teen suicide.
"My Life is Worth Living was born in Snohomish, and grew while I was living in Snohomish for the last five years," Thoren said. "It's a very family-friendly, family first community and I went to them and I went to the Lion's Club meeting and said 'I'm doing this' and they all rallied around me."
The Lion's Club raised enough money for Thoren to take a pitch book out to funders in order to get the series off the ground. He said Lion's Club President Mike Edwards was particularly helpful in his campaign.
"My Life is Worth Living" launched earlier this month as a partnership between the Cook Center for Human Connection and Wonder Media. The series tells the stories of several characters who face issues many young people deal with and "shows their evolution in the key decision: that life is worth living," according to the series website.
Thoren says the Cook Center funded the program with the intention of making the series available for free anytime on YouTube.
“We know kids are on phones and online and this needed to be easily available and free to anyone 24 hours a day,” Thoren said.
"Animation doesn't know any race, religion, culture or creed and it knows no borders, and suicide knows no borders," Thoren said.
September is National Suicide Prevention month and the web series is aimed at the most vulnerable demographic.
“The danger zone for teens is the first year of middle school and the transition to high school. Transitions are really tough,” Thoren said.
Suicide is currently the second leading cause of death among people ages 10-24 and has been increasing every year since 2007. Rates have soared during the pandemic.
Thoren relied upon his Hollywood connections to work with the best animators, talent and directors to produce the series. The first few episodes are already available on YouTube.
New episodes will be released each Wednesday through February and Thoren says he hopes kids and parents will watch, share and have some tough conversations.
You can read about the series and characters online here.
If you or someone you love is struggling with suicide or suicidal thoughts call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.