DuBOIS – A movie event held at Penn State DuBois on May 5 hosted about 50 community members to learn about suicide prevention and awareness.
“Mon Ascension” is a documentary that follows the journey of Emma Benoit, who was 16 when a suicide attempt left her paralyzed. She now campaigns for suicide awareness and prevention.
The film also highlights the stories of two people who unfortunately did not survive their suicide attempts. The audience heard from their relatives and friends about the tragic side effects of suicide.
The event, hosted by the Clearfield/Jefferson Suicide Prevention Team, included the film and a Q&A with a panel of various local vendors, said Daniel Cable, recovery outreach coordinator for Peerstar. .
Part of Cable’s role is to provide resources to those he works with to keep them healthy, as well as working within the community to organize recovery events that raise awareness about suicide, substance abuse, mental health, etc., he said.
There are also several local initiatives aimed at raising awareness, Cable said, including the Hope Squad at DuBois Area Middle School.
“Peers are there to support their peers and support their community within the school if children are dealing with mental health issues or suicidal thoughts,” Cable said.
Reps spoke at the movie event about what the Hope Squad is up to.
In the fall of 2022, there will also be a Hope Squad at DuBois Area High School, he noted. There’s also interest in bringing the movie “My Ascension” to high school and Penn State classrooms.
Cable, a suicide attempt survivor and recovering alcoholic, said his plan was to bring the film and his personal story to local classrooms.
In 2018, there were 16 suicides in Clearfield County, Cable said.
“It impacts family, friends, medical personnel, law enforcement,” he said.
The featured film is particularly impactful, Cable said, because Emma was 16 when she attempted suicide.
“He’s a teenager, and that’s important. These problems start young. This young woman has come back from this adversity, despite physical limitations,” Cable said.
Local parents attended the film event and asked some very productive questions, Cable said. The Q&A session was crucial, as local providers were able to connect personally with participants and share their experiences and knowledge.
“They (the parents) were asking, ‘When is a good time to talk to him about how he feels? ‘” Cable said. “They mentioned things they had noticed in their children. We discussed when and how to approach the situation, using age-appropriate language.
Ultimately, Cable encourages community members to get involved in the mission and the message, and stresses the importance of it.
“Things won’t change unless you get involved – attend recovery events and gain knowledge, meet people who have been in recovery and understand that those in recovery are just like you.”
And, Cable said, it’s essential to talk about anything that can make someone, or one of their loved ones or friends, sad.
“My goal is to let others know that it’s okay to say you’re sad. You can’t keep it inside.