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Sandy Hook Promise PSA: Gun Violence Ad Shows We Don't Know How To Watch Our Teens

12/05/2016 12:03 EST | Updated 12/05/2016 12:03 EST

First things first, please watch the PSA ad below about a bored high school boy named Evan and his secret pen pal.

Done?

The lengthy public service announcement was released by Sandy Hook Promise, a non-profit organization of parents who lost children in the Sandy Hook massacre four years ago and are trying to reduce gun violence.

The ad purports to tell a love story before coming to a shocking conclusion — a conclusion that wouldn't be so shocking if we'd known what to look for.

sandy hook promise ad A screengrab from the Sandy Hook Promise ad "Evan." (Photo: YouTube)

When the ad starts over to show us what we missed, it raises awareness of the importance of looking for subtle signs in our children, friends and students before it becomes too late.

The ad purports to tell a love story before coming to a shocking conclusion — a conclusion that wouldn't be so shocking if we'd known what to look for.

"When you don't know what to look for, or can't recognize what you are seeing, it can be easy to miss warning signs or dismiss them as unimportant. That can lead to tragic consequences," Sandy Hook Promise co-founder Nicole Hockley said in a statement. Hockley lost her first-grade son Dylan in the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting.

Campaign has trained 1.5 million over past two years

"It is important for us to show youth and adults that they are not helpless in protecting their community from gun violence — these acts are preventable when you know the signs. Everyone has the power to intervene and get help. These actions can save lives."

"Evan" is part of the organization's "Know the Signs" campaign which they provide to schools and community groups, training 1.5 million students, teachers, and parents over the last two years.

As a result of this training, Sandy Hook Promise says it has "helped intervene on multiple threats – including a school shooting, suicides and bringing firearms to schools, as well as helping to reduce bullying and getting hundreds of individuals mental health assistance."

But there is always more work to do. Sandy Hook Promise says that 80 per cent of school shooters and 70 percent of people who commit suicide told someone of their plans beforehand without anyone intervening.

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