MCLEAN, Va. (WUSA)- Jordan Burnham's story is both terrifying and hopeful. The 22-year-old is the subject of an award winning video about what led to his suicide attempt when he was a high school senior in Pennsylvania.
"I'm going to school with a mask on my face, hiding the fact that I feel depressed, I feel lonely, and I feel like I don't belong," explained Jordan to a group of parents who gather in McLean to hear him this week.
Jordan had those feelings even though he was a popular and successful student athlete. He was diagnosed with depression and was seeing a therapist, but kept his deepest feelings of despair secret. Then, this happened.
"Dad dropped the bag of alcohol. When he dropped that bag, my heart dropped with it. Because here I am their son, the person who's supposed to be making them the happiest and all I do is disappoint them," Jordan explained in the video.
SEE HIS YOUTUBE VIDEO HERE
His next move was all impulse. He jumped out his nine story window and has no memory of doing it.
"When I hit the ground, I was going approximately 50 mph. It's just over 90 feet. Broke my fibula, my tibia, I shattered my femur, I broke my pelvis, I broke my left wrist, I broke my jaw in four different places, coma for five days," said Jordan.
Burnham says he never wanted to kill himself... just the part that felt so bad. He advises parents to have meaningful and constant conversations with their children. But most importantly, he tells the kids to be honest with their feelings and get help if they need it. He explains that they themselves may be their own last line of defense.
This week, Jordan Burnham has told his story to thousands of area students. He's spoken to Thomas Jefferson, McLean, Langley and Madison High Schools. And he may have changed some lives. A number of students sought out their counselors with concerns after hearing him speak that same day.
"He's sitting up there telling them he has a depression and attempted suicide and still has depression and has to deal with it. He empowers them to tell their story," said Lauren Anderson. She runs the Josh Anderson Foundation which is named for her brother who took his own life in 2009.
Lauren believes if her brother Josh had heard Jordan speak, he would be here today. Now, she hopes his legacy will save other teens. The foundation's mission is to provide teenagers with mental health education, resources and support so that they will never turn to suicide.