Teenage suicide has always been a problem in our troubled world, but recent years have seen a rise in the number of young people who take their own lives. For whatever reason, young people are choosing an extremely permanent solution to problems for which there might be help. Many people suffer from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder; some are bullied to death, still others suffer from loneliness. Some celebrities and influencers have opened up on their social media about their struggles with depression, in an effort to inspire others to seek help, while others in the public eye have, tragically, lost their fight with depression and suicidal tendencies. Whatever the reason for a person’s suicide attempt, it is personal, but one always wishes there was something they could have done to help, to make things better, to stop the pain. It is vitally important that those who are older, those who have struggled, those who have survived, use their experience and resources to guide these valuable young people into the light, to safety.
Candice Oden and Tanya Moberly are teaming up to bring suicide prevention to the cabaret community of New York City. On September 6th legendary cabaret nightclub Don’t Tell Mama will host a benefit to raise money for The Young Minds Foundation. The Young Minds Foundation seeks out and invests in medical research that will hopefully lead to treatments and cures for depression, bipolar disorder and other causes of suicide in young people. The foundation is in the process of creating a film titled “Portrait of a Suicide” which is designed to promote awareness, education, and information on the subject of teen suicide. “Portrait of A Suicide” profiles the last days in the life of a young man named Josh, those days chronicled by a series of videos he left behind. With the volunteered assistance of professionals in the fields of medicine, academia and film making, The Young Minds Foundation is nearing the completion of this important and relevant film, which will have three edits: the first to be used by the National Institute of Health for physician training, the second to educate counselors, police officers and others professionals who need to identify and deal with suicide potential, and the last to be used with students ranging in age from middle school to college. It is the hope of The Young Minds Foundation to start the conversation and remove the stigma surrounding mental health issues, dedicating their efforts to finding cures and treatments for depression and other psychological factors that lead to suicide.
The September 6th Benefit For Teen Suicide Prevention will feature several veterans of Broadway and the nightclub stages of New York City, all of whom are donating their time so that every penny raised can go to The Young Minds Foundation. The evening, directed by Ms. Moberly, will be hosted by Ms. Oden, both of whom have had their lives affected by depression and suicide. With musical direction by award-winning Steven Ray Watkins the show will feature songs that relate to the topics of depression and suicide but that, according to director Moberly, will be empathetic, encouraging, life-affirming, but also with humor to lighten the evening. Performers set to appear during the benefit include Charles Baran, Joshua Bennett, Bobby Cronin, Christine de Frece, Lauren Elder, Sean Harkness, Marnie Klar, Marcus Simeone, Heather Villaescusa, Lennie Watts, Zach Wobensmith and the group THOSE GIRLS, as well as Misses Oden and Moberly.
When asked why this event was important for him, award-winning cabaret performer and director, Lennie Watts, said: “During these crazy times we are living in, evenings like this are more important than ever. Being able to help bring awareness and hopefully some financial resources to organizations that are out there doing good work is not only my pleasure but my responsibility as an artist.”
Ms. Oden was inspired to create the benefit when she was coaching a Self-Expression and Leadership Program. “Mental health is a very important issue for me — among a LOT of family history, I’m also bipolar, and I attempted suicide twice as a teenager.” As it happened, Oden’s Mother shared the idea with her best friend, who knew someone with The Young Minds Foundation, and plans for the evening moved forward when Ms. Oden approached Ms. Moberly to direct: “When she asked me to be a part of this, I immediately said yes. Suicide and depression are subjects close to my heart. My father committed suicide when I was 7 years old, and I had my own battle with depression in my late 20’s. I am very grateful that I was able to receive the help that I desperately needed and it is my hope that an organization like Young Minds can help others.”
Learn more about The Young Minds Foundation by visiting their Website