DENVER (KDVR) — On Thursday, 5280 High School and Rise Above Colorado will host a youth-led mayoral forum to address issues that affect teens like mental health, fentanyl and school-based violence.

Thirteen candidates running for Mayor of Denver are scheduled to participate.

5280 High School is a school that helps students who are dealing with substance use or mental health issues.

A student named Alichia says she had some issues with family members that affected her grades and mental health.

“I wasn’t doing good at all,” she said. But now she is proud of the turnaround she’s had at 5280. “Last quarter I actually passed with all A’s,” she said.

Now she and other students want to know how Denver’s mayoral candidates plan to address issues affecting young people. 

Melissa Mouton, the school’s executive director, says the students are very concerned about a feeling of community and belonging.

“Another concern is access to deadly drugs such as fentanyl on the street and making it easier for youth to access Narcan and other lifesaving treatments for that and also they are very concerned about access to treatment and mental health supports,” Mouton said.

Rise Above Colorado will cohost the event. The drug misuse prevention group just launched a fentanyl awareness campaign and offered a survey on the issue to the mayoral candidates.  The candidates’ answers are posted at

“We want to talk and elevate youth issues,” said executive director Kent MacLennan.

He hopes the candidates come ready to listen to youth voices. The forum starts at 2 p.m. and is not open to the public.