“My Ascension” documentary film to promote suicide prevention on May 11 at 5 p.m. at Yavapai College Performing Center – no cost, no registration

The Suicide Prevention Coalition of Yavapai County and local mental health and substance abuse prevention agencies invite students, parents, grandparents, civic leaders – everyone – to attend a free screening of the documentary film, “My Ascension” on Wednesday, May 11 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. (Suicide Prevention Coalition of Yavapai County/Courtesy)

The Suicide Prevention Coalition of Yavapai County and local mental health and substance abuse prevention agencies invite students, parents, grandparents, civic leaders – everyone – to attend a free screening of the documentary film, “My Ascension” on Wednesday, May 11 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. (Suicide Prevention Coalition of Yavapai County/Courtesy)

The Suicide Prevention Coalition of Yavapai County and local mental health and substance abuse prevention agencies invite students, parents, grandparents, civic leaders – everyone – to attend a screening of the documentary film, “My Ascension” on Wednesday, May 11 from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

The screening of the documentary intended to help spread hope and prevent suicide will be held at no cost at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, 1100 Sheldon Street, Prescott

This film features a 16-year-old cheerleader, Emma Benoit of Louisiana, who in 2017 despite seeming to have it all, was paralyzed after attempting to commit suicide, a journey the now-young adult chronicles to help other teens and young adults seek the resources to help them cope with depression, anxiety or living with silent pain such they see no joy in their future. In her recovery, Emma has what she refers to as “Hope Squad,” a school-based suicide prevention program. She, too, shares her story, and hope-filled messages, through her website liferejuvenated.org.

After the film, the program will include a virtual question-and-answer session with Emma and the filmmaker Greg Dicharry who also shares in the documentary stories of two other “remarkable” teens who died by suicide.

Area mental health professionals assure that talking about suicide does not plant a seed, but rather opens up dialogues that can lead teens and others to the help they need to see beyond their immediate struggles and pain.

Coalition Program Coordinator Kelly Lee and her fellow organizers have reiterated in their publicity campaigns that this event is intended to save lives by offering helpful insights and resources. The sponsoring agencies are the coalition, MATFORCE, Yavapai College, Polara Health and Community Counts.

In 2021, national statistics said the suicide rate was 14.5 per 100,000 population, 11.2 per 100,000 for teens between ages 15 and 19. In Arizona, the suicide rate for teens is higher than the average, and mental health leaders want to change this trajectory.

“We want to fill every one of the 1000-plus seats in the Yavapai Performing Arts Center,” Lee said.

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