New Philadelphia, Ohio - An event at the Performing Arts Center will delve into a topic that can be difficult to talk about but one that’s weighing heavy in the hearts and minds of many in the local community.

Beginning at 6:30 p.m on Tuesday, October 23rd, the venue will present a screening of “The S Word,” a feature-length documentary that seeks to put a human face on a topic that’s often feared and misunderstood by diving into the hearts and minds of suicide survivors, along with their families and loved ones. “The S Word” is the latest film from the team behind the award-winning documentary “Of Two Minds” and is the recipient of the 2017 SAMHSA Voice Award. 

Director Lisa Klein will be on hand during the event to present the film and put it into context and will also participate in a Q&A panel following the screening. Others on the panel include psychologist Ryan Dunn or New Life Counseling, Strasburg Guidance Counselor Lindsey Tidrick, and Kristie Wilkin, the facilitator for the local Survivors of Suicide support group; and Sgt. Cheri Creager, who oversees the Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Department’s Crisis Intervention Training.    

Todd Little is the chairman for the Tuscarawas and Carroll county chapter of the National Association of Mental Illness, or NAMI, the main sponsor of the event. He says the goal is to raise awareness about what is becoming an epidemic across the country.

“It’s the second leading cause of death for kids ages 8 to 23, and we just feel like somebody needs to do something about it,” he says. “We want them to be aware that there is help and there is hope. We want them to be able to reach out to people.” 

Little says that prior to the event will be a resource fair featuring 26 area organizations providing information about local resources and training opportunities. 

“[That’s] going to be available an hour before the program and then hopefully for a while after the program’s over so that people can get information on suicide and suicide prevention and ways that they can help each other,” he says.

Little says another goal of the event is to eliminate the stigma that surrounds suicide.

“People are afraid that if they mention it, that it’s going to put the idea in somebody’s mind,” he says. “What they don’t understand, I think sometimes, is that it does the exact opposite. It gives the people permission to be able to talk about what they’re thinking and how they’re feeling, and then it gives you the opportunity after that to connect them with somebody who can help them.” 

The entire event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. The Performing Arts Center is located at 330 University Drive NE in New Philadelphia.


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