Knoxville, Tenn. (WVLT) – Knoxville Community Puts Difficult Subject in the Spotlight; teenage suicide. It comes just weeks after a high school girl took her own life.
Now a church is hosting a musical to help raise awareness.
“There is a dire need in our community for suicide prevention,” said Felecia Outsey, an outreach partner for the play.
Overcoming Believers Church in Knoxville hopes to tackle the problem of teen suicide. The church is in a community that has been devastated by violence. A mural next to the church recalls the lives of local children who have been killed by violence or suicide.
“Our goal is to stop the cycle of trauma. The cycle of violence,” Outsey said.
The church is having a play this weekend called “Worth It,” and it comes at a perfect time. A high school girl from this community committed suicide earlier this month. The girl was a dancer in Outsey’s artistic group.
“There’s a lot going on in our community right now,” Outsey said.
The play is staged by Vet to Vet Tennessee, an organization that typically helps soldiers become aware of suicide. But the organization’s president said they have also expanded into youth suicide awareness, after seeing the need.
“It’s the third leading cause of death among teens,” said Ed Junod, president of Vet to Vet Tennessee.
Junod said trained therapists and counselors will be at the shows this weekend, encouraging people to seek help if they need it.
This is the second time the organization has staged the play. The first was in 2019. He said that show got a lot of people asking for help.
“We found over 75 people in the audience that night who were suicidal,” Junod said.
All spectators will receive a free t-shirt. It reads “you are worth it”. Junod and Outsey hope that’s the piece’s enduring message.
Parts are Saturday and Sunday.
The national suicide crisis number is 988. We encourage you to call this number if you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide.
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