Award-winning filmmaker returns home to Michigan promote suicide prevention

A Southeast Michigan native and award-winning documentary filmmaker returns home Saturday to screen her latest project, a suicide prevention documentary called “The S Word.” Lisa Klein and her Los Angeles-based company MadPix, Inc. have partnered with the Oakland County Youth Suicide Prevention Task Force, Oakland County Health Division, Oakland Community Health Network, and Common Ground to host a sold-out screening of the film this Saturday, Sept. 16, at 1 p.m. at the Emagine Theater in Royal Oak in recognition of National Suicide Prevention Awareness Week.

“As a survivor of both my father’s and brother’s suicides, it is a highly-charged personal issue for me,” Klein said. “For that reason, I was driven to document the topic and contribute to a much needed conversation about suicide and prevention efforts. I am happy to be back where I grew up to spread that message.”

The event includes a panel discussion with Klein, local mental health experts, and survivors of suicide loss that will occur immediately after the film screening. Panel members include Amelia Lehto of Common Ground, Karen M. Marshall of American Indian Health and Family Services, Susan Benson of Oakland Schools, and Kacee Must of Citizen Yoga.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth in the United States. Michigan has consistently higher rates of suicide among youth and young adults compared to the nation as a whole, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

“We know that suicide is a concern in Oakland County,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for Oakland County Health Division. “This film screening is an opportunity to encourage youth and their families to have open and honest conversations about suicide and mental health. The more we talk about suicide, the more we can break down barriers and promote preventative help-seeking behaviors.”

“The S Word” screening is one of two films featured in a prevention-focused series showing at Emagine Theater in Royal Oak this fall. The FBI and DEA documentary “Chasing the Dragon,” aimed at educating students and young adults about the dangers of addiction to prescription drugs and heroin, will be shown on Oct. 7 at 6 p.m.

“The intent of Chasing the Dragon is to promote awareness of the prescription drug and opioid epidemic plaguing Michigan and the rest of the nation. We can’t do enough to educate the public about how deadly of a problem this is in our country. Our goal is to reach youngsters before they experiment with drugs and to alert them to the terrifying consequences associated with the use of opioids,” said David P. Gelios, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Detroit Division.

For more information regarding “The S Word” documentary screening and suicide prevention, visit www.oakgov.com/suicideprevention. Find up-to-date public health information on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter @publichealthOC.

Residents seeking help with suicide prevention can call or text the Common Ground Helpline at 1-800-231-1127.

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