Let's Talk Miles City Story

Follow a group of Miles City teens as they create and perform their own theater production. This uplifting 17-minute video shows how important it is to talk about how your really feeling, and how reaching out to others who are depressed or thinking about suicide can truly save their lives. (Watch Video On Vimeo)

Out of the Darkness 2012

Job21 On Saturday, September 8, 2012 about 100 people joined the Out of the Darkness Walk in Miles City, Montana. Out of the Darkness walks are held all over the United States as part of a nationwide suicide prevention effort. This Walk started and ended at Wibaux Park, following a three-mile route through downtown Miles City. Eastern Montana communities joined others across the nation in raising money for research and education programs to save lives and prevent suicide. The hope is also that these walks will raise awareness that there is treatment for mental illness. The sponsoring organizations advocate for those with mental illness and support survivors of suicide loss.
Teenage actors pose for a group portrait before performing in vignettes related to the subject of suicide prevention and awareness. The students wrote some of the vignettes themselves. The performance was held in Miles City on September 7, 2012. From top, left to right: Carrie Bloxom, Neeka Gackle, Samantha Mosdal, Savannah Tailleur, Kyle McGuire, Sarah Mosdal, Amanda Letke, Victoria Mosdal. Job1
Job2 This is the Montana Memory Quilt Project, led by Joan Nye, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention-Montana Chairperson. The quilt is constructed of squares made by individuals who have suffered a suicide loss.
Two friends listen to speakers associated with the Out of the Darkness events held September 8, 2012. The posters they are carrying feature Eric Lawrence Blind, a suicide victim from Miles City, Montana. Those who spoke prior to the walk beginning were police officer, Tony Isbell (MC); Kathleen Kaiser, (she presented her personal story of surviving a suicide attempt); Pastor Barbara Ulrich (invocation); Mark Bichler (logistics chairman); and Matthew Eisen (comments from GHEF) Job3
Job5 Audrey Haumschild (in red) holds up the Out of Darkness banner. The banner was purchased from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) in 2009 for use in the Miles City, MT annual events.
The Sagegrass Revival band entertains the crowd in Miles City, Montana. The band helps to raise awareness about suicide prevention programs. Band members from left to right: Sherwood McKay, Brad Schmitz, Vic Riggs, Bob Zadow. Not pictured: Will Hubbel. Job7
Job8 Sarah Mosdal took part in the photography workshop sponsored by GHEF for local teens in 2012. Sarah is holding a photo she took of her sister, Samantha Mosdal. Workshops in the arts give teens a chance to interact with each other, to develop their skills, and to strengthen their self-esteem. Part of the community-based suicide prevention program focuses on populations at risk, such as high school students. Graduate students from Montana State University Billings serve as mentors and teachers in the workshops. Ally Johnson Madden ran the photography workshop.
Dr. Sarah Keller, Associate professor, Dept. of Communication & Theater, Montana State University Billings, spoke at the Arts and Heritage Center in Miles City to support the community-wide effort to raise awareness of suicide in eastern Montana. Dr. Keller is leading a social science research project involving a three-pronged approach to identifying strategies for suicide prevention in Montana:
  • A quantitative survey to evaluate the community-based media intervention to promote awareness and use of suicide prevention resources
  • A qualitative study of the barriers to public health models for suicide prevention and modifications needed to improve community interventions
  • A quantitative survey to identify social support factors related to suicide ideation among youth
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Job12 Samantha Mosdal poses by a photo her sister Sarah took as part of a summer photography workshop. Workshops in the arts give teens a chance to interact with each other, to develop their skills, and to strengthen their self-esteem. Part of the community-based suicide prevention program focuses on populations at risk, such as high school students. Graduate students from Montana State University Billings serve as mentors and teachers in the workshops. Teens took part in photography, theater and multimedia workshops. Ally Johnson Madden ran the photography workshop. Samantha Mosdal: "I really enjoyed being with people who understood what I was going through."
Savannah Tailleur and Sarah Mosdal break the tension with a shared joke as they help each other prepare for a theatrical performance aimed at increasing support for suicide prevention programs in the community of Miles City, Montana. Savannah Tailleur: "I want my hair curly for the show." Sarah Mosdal: "Trust me I will make your hair curly." Job14
Job17 Miles City student Kyle McGuire tries on his costume in preparation for vignettes performed as part of a theatrical workshop meant to raise awareness about suicide in Montana communities. Kyle McGuire: "We had such a fun time and the girls are great, but oh the estrogen!"
Neeka Gackle has her makeup done in preparation for a theatrical production that was just one of many events sponsored by GHEF as part of a Community Based Media Project focused on suicide prevention. MSUB graduate student and GHEF Creative Director, Miriam Veltman worked with Miles City young people. The live performance provided an alternative form of expression for feelings of suicide and depression. To create the play, teens chose materials relevant to the cause of suicide prevention and also wrote their own works about the issue. The overall message encouraged people to speak up, seek help or intervene to save a life. Neeka Gackle: "I was so nervous to be on stage, but excited at the same time." Job18
Job19 Sarah Mosdal applies Amanda Letke's makeup in this behind-the-scenes photo. The teens were part of a larger group that took part in a theater workshop led by MSUB graduate student and GHEF Creative Director, Miriam Veltman. The workshop was part of a suicide prevention program supported by Global Health Equity Foundation and Montana State University Billings, in conjunction with other state and national organizations. Amanda Letke: "I really liked the experience of helping others talk about such a touchy subject." Sarah Mosdal: "I feel like we can make an impact, it's not like we started a fire, but we definitely made a spark in the community!"
Montana high school students Samantha Mosdal and Amanda Letke prepare for a theatrical performance, the culmination of a summer workshop led by MSUB graduate student Miriam Veltman. Creative expression in specially designed workshops helps teens cope with emotions that may lead to depression or to thoughts of suicide. The workshops offer much-needed friendship-building environments. Samantha Mosdal: "I really enjoyed being with people who understood what I was going through." Amanda Letke: "I don't necessarily understand how to help, but I love helping people talk about things." Job20
Job22 Out of the Darkness Walk participants carry posters featuring Eric Lawrence Blind, a suicide victim from the community of Miles City, Montana. About one hundred people, young and old, walked the three-mile route to raise awareness and to promote suicide prevention programs.
At a reception following Dr. Sarah Keller's presentation a meal prepared by volunteers, including Hana Ayaso, (mother of Tayeb Al-Hafez, Founder and President of GHEF), was served. The reception was held at the Custer County Art and Heritage Center, an Out of the Darkness event sponsor.

  Sponsoring Organizations
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)
Custer County Community Health Center
Custer County Public Health
Sanjel Corporation
First Interstate Bank
US Bank
Stockman Bank
Holy Rosary Healthcare
Billings Clinic
David Counseling
McFarland Family Dentistry
Pizza Hut
RSVP
Pacific Steel
Local Advisory Council for Mental Health
Global Health Equity Foundation (GHEF)
Custer County Art & Heritage Center
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Behind The Scenes Photos

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Photos by students who attended the Let's Talk Miles City 2012 Photography Workshop conducted by Ally Johnson Madden

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"Resurfacing" by Victoria Mosdal
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"Lights" by Sarah Denson
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"Emergence" by Victoria Mosdal
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"Shadow" by Sarah Denson
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"Yes" by Sarah Denson