Public TV town hall to take on difficult subject of suicide

The local public TV station is hoping to keep moving the conversation forward regarding mental health.

WNMU-TV will host “Facing Suicide: Town Hall” at 7 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday in the Northern Center at Northern Michigan University.

A panel of Upper Peninsula mental health professionals will discuss suicide awareness and prevention. The public is invited to attend in person or virtually at no charge. The town hall is inspired by the PBS documentary, “Facing Suicide,” which premiered this month.

According to pbs.org, the documentary “combines the poignant personal stories of people impacted by suicide with profiles of scientists at the forefront of research to reveal new insights into one of America’s most pressing mental health crises. Shining a light on this difficult topic can destigmatize suicide while revealing that there is help as well as hope for those at risk and their loved ones.”

The panel of U.P. experts at the town hall will discuss sections of the film, including how to identify warning signs, and spotlight local organizations and resources that provide help and hope. These include Dial Help, NMU Counseling and Consultation Services, West End Suicide Prevention and Northpointe Behavioral Services.

“Our partners at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Twin Cities PBS always viewed the ‘Facing Suicide’ documentary as a starting point, not a one and done,” WNMU General Manager Patrick Lakenen said in a news release. “As a supplement, they set about to identify other public media stations that could develop local suicide prevention initiatives.”

WNMU-TV was one of 10 public media stations across the country awarded a grant to expand educational efforts in the communities they serve, he said.

“Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States and it’s no different here in the Upper Peninsula,” Lakenen said. “For that to change, we must do more to remove the stigma associated with mental health challenges and with seeking help. Through the power of public media and with the help of our U.P. mental health professionals, WNMU-TV is committed to promoting suicide prevention efforts and the array of support services available across the Upper Peninsula.”

We applaud WNMU-TV for hosting this event and for focusing on a very important but sometimes difficult subject. The stigma surrounding mental health is something that has been ignored by the masses for far too long, and we are glad to see organizations address that issue.

Advance registration for the town hall is appreciated, but not required, and masks are optional. A link to stream the event will be available at https://wnmutv.nmu.edu/.

The “Facing Suicide” documentary is available to watch or stream anytime online, or on the PBS video app.


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