Suicide prevention effort includes Friday performance in Miles City

2012-09-06T12:30:00Z 2012-09-06T17:10:19Z Suicide prevention effort includes Friday performance in Miles CityMSU Billings News Service The Billings Gazette
September 06, 2012 12:30 pm  • 

An original theater production created and performed by Miles City high school students kicks off an innovative suicide-prevention campaign that uses social media and arts workshops to reach teens.

The performance of “Let’s Talk Miles City,” begins at 7 p.m. on Friday at the VA Auditorium in Miles City, 210 S. Winchester Ave.

The play will address the topics of suicide and depression among teenagers and is free to the public.

“The play has opened a door in the community for creative outlets of personal expression for young people in Miles City,” said Michelle Strain, on-site project coordinator from Billings. “It has been very exciting to watch the growth of the participants and this project.”

The performance is one of a number of media workshops with local teenagers that were provided this summer by the Global Healthy Equity Foundation (GHEF) and Montana State University Billings.

GHEF is a nonprofit philanthropic organization dedicated to making tangible improvements in healthcare and health education.

MSU Billings student director Miriam Veltman of Billings spent 10 weeks working with Miles City young people on the project. The resulting live performance aims to provide the community with an alternative form of expression for feelings of suicide and depression.

To create the play, teens chose materials relevant to the cause of suicide prevention and wrote their own works about suicide.

As a team, the teenagers and Veltman created a collaborative piece dedicated to Eastern Montana. The overall message focuses on becoming more aware, speaking up, seeking help or intervening to save your life and the lives of others.

The “Let’s Talk Miles City” campaign is dedicated to preventing suicide among teenagers. The goals are to:

Get people in the community more comfortable talking about mental health issues and provide resources and help for those who are depressed and possibly suicidal.

The play will be followed by a photo exhibit by Miles City youth at the Custer County Art and Heritage Center on Saturday.

For more information, contact project director Matthew Eisen at (619) 283-0480 or via e-mail at cbmp.director@ghef.org.

For more information on the project as it relates to MSU Billings students, contact Sarah Keller, department chair in Communications and Theatre, at skeller@msubllings.edu or at 896-5824.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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