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Local program is unique way to battle suicide locally

The incidence of suicide has increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic across the country, with significant jumps among older Americans and veterans.

Advocacy groups here in Superiorland and elsewhere have met this challenge with a variety of laudable responses, including one that received a fair amount of attention.

A group known as the West End Suicide Prevention has announced the LIVE Art & Word Contest as a way to help break the stigma surrounding mental health issues and suicide while showcasing the talents of high school students from across the Upper Peninsula.

The contest runs through Nov. 17 and is open to all U.P. high school students, whether they are doing in-person school, taking part in virtual classroom activities or home schooling.

Here’s how it works. Students may submit, poetry, paintings, photography, a song, graphic arts, quilting or any other art form that addresses the theme of mental health awareness. Each piece of artwork will be judged by West End Suicide Prevention, as well as an expert panel. There will also be a chance for community members to vote for their favorite piece via Facebook.

The first place-winner will receive $500, while second place garners $300 and third place $100.

“Involving the youth is a goal of mine,” Bella York, the high school student who suggested the contest, said in a press release. “Giving youth a voice is a way of self-expression that allows the stigma within the community be relinquished, showing that we are all in this together.”

For more information on the LIVE Art & Word Contest and to find the official rules and entry forms, go to www.glrc.org/LIVE .

We hope our readers give this worthwhile effort a close look.

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