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Watauga County Library Bringing Attention to Mental Health and Suicide Prevention in the High Country

By Nathan Ham

Beginning this weekend with a special showing of “Suicide: The Ripple Effect,” Watauga County Public Library is making an effort to bring awareness to mental health issues in the High Country.

The movie will be shown at Regal Cinema at 3 p.m. on Sunday. The special showing had to sell 50 tickets in advance and thanks to the library’s efforts of promoting the movie and reaching out to the public, ticket sales easily surpassed the goal.

Tickets can still be purchased online at https://gathr.us/s/22531.

“Suicide: The Ripple Effect” tells the story of Kevin Hines, who attempted to take his own life by jumping off of the Golden Gate Bridge. Hines survived the 220-foot fall and is the 26th known person to survive a jump attempt off the bridge.

After his suicide attempt, Hines is now a mental health advocate, author and motivational speaker. His book “Cracked, Not Broken” is featured in the community reading program from the Watauga County Public Library.

Next week, the library will be hosting two events focused on suicide prevention. The first program will be on Monday, March 19 at 5:30 p.m. and will focus on suicide prevention in the age of “13 Reasons Why,” a hit Netflix drama that featured the story of a teenager named Hannah Baker who committed suicide and detailed the reasons why she ended her life on cassette tapes. Those tapes were passed around for classmates to hear her 13 reasons why she took her own life.

The program is geared towards young adults and parents and it will focus on the science and practice of suicide prevention in the hopes that it might be able to educate people about these mental health problems.

On Wednesday at 3 p.m., the Watauga County Library will host “Talk Saves Lives,” a community-based presentation that will discuss suicide, suicide prevention research and what people can do. The risks and warning signs of suicide will also be discussed. This presentation is intended for people age 18 and over. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention sponsored this program.

Looking ahead to April, Kevin Hines, the man featured in “Suicide: The Ripple Effect” will be making three speaking engagements in the High Country. He will be in Boone on Monday, April 16 at 6:30 p.m. at Boone United Methodist Church. Hines will also be speaking at the Walker Center on the campus of Wilkes Community College on Tuesday, April 17 at 7 p.m. before a final stop on Wednesday, April 18 at the Ashe County High School Auditorium, beginning at 7 p.m.