A powerful, compelling movie will be shown at the OK Theatre in

Enterprise this weekend, March 5, 6, and 7. An independently produced

fictional film, To Save A Life is about the real life challenges of

today's teens and the choices they are constantly faced with.

Jake is the movie's central character, an all-star athlete who

seemingly has it all: popularity, fame, a basketball scholarship and

the hottest girl in school. When his childhood best friend commits

suicide, Jake's life spins out of control. Help comes when he does

something unlikely...reaches out to help new friends.

To Save A Life doesn't shy away from tough topics. It deals with social

divisions, school violence, cutting, suicide, teen pregnancy and

divorce-not in a graphic way, but in a way authentic to too many teens'

real lives. This film has already impacted tens of thousands of youth

and adults since it was released one month ago.

But as persuasive and moving as this movie is, there are some

unfortunate stereotypes shown in the film of which youth and adult

viewers need to be aware.


For example, the character Jonny intentionally injures himself on a

regular basis by cutting and later in the film makes a suicide attempt.

The fact is cutting or other forms of self-injury are usually not

attempts to commit suicide. Most people who self-injure are not

suicidal, but inflict physical harm on themselves as a way to get rid

of negative feelings, as a coping mechanism.

Another incorrect stereotype is that someone who is suffering from

depression, who is a self-injurer, or who is thinking about committing

suicide is very obvious to spot on the outside.  In reality, a

person's outward appearance and clothing does not easily identify

someone who feels depressed or anxious. It cannot be assumed that a

youth or adult who dresses in black most of the time is depressed, or

that depressed people only wear black. Anyone can suffer from

depression; each year in the U.S. approximately 8% of the population -

25 million Americans - seek treatment for depression. This number has

doubled in the past 15 years.

In the film, Roger's death is glorified through the vast number of

messages posted to his social network page. This is not a realistic or

constructive illustration. Teens should not believe that the way to get

attention is to turn violence on themselves or their peers.


Public Health Problem

Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the US. Over 33,000

Americans commit suicide each year and more than eleven times this

number of people are treated in emergency rooms for suicide

attempts.  Seventy-five percent of all suicides give some

warning of their intentions to a friend or family member.

"Take all signs of suicide or talk about suicide seriously," says Donna

Noonan, Oregon's Youth Suicide Prevention Coordinator. 

"Anyone who is thinking about suicide or is worried about someone else"

should not stay silent.

Talk to your medical doctor. Schedule an appointment with a counselor.

Tell a trusted adult. Talk with a pastor. Tell a teacher or coach. Call

the National Lifeline. Call local mental health crisis line. But do not

stay silent.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-TALK) is


24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year.


Wallowa County's Mental Health Crisis Line: 541-398-1175

"Youth should tell an adult if they think a friend or peer is at risk

of suicide; don't keep that as a secret even if they've promised not to

tell," says Noonan. "Adults should get all firearms out of the house

and make both prescription and over-the-counter [medicines]


Signs to Know

Suicide Warning Signs


?    Depressed or irritable mood that last

more than a week or two (but also remember, youth are more likely to be

angry and act out than adults)

?    Loss of interested in activities they

usually or used to enjoy

?    Changes in appetite

?    Changes in sleeping habits

?    Feelings of worthlessness

?    Indecisiveness or inability to


?    Change in friends, appearance, grades,


?    Thoughts of suicide; talk about suicide

directly or indirectly

?    Giving away favorite possessions

Signs of

Depression (feeling 5 or more of the following symptoms nearly every

day for at least 2 weeks):

?    Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty"


?    Feelings of hopelessness and/or


?    Decreased interest or pleasure in


?    Appetite change with weight loss or

weight gain

?    Decreased or increased sleeping

?    Fatigue or loss of energy

?    Feels of worthlessness, guilt, and/or


?    Being either agitated or slowed down;

irritable, restless

?    Difficulty thinking or concentrating,

remembering details, making decisions

?    Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

?    Persistent aches or pains, headaches,

cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease with treatment

Some Warning

Signs of Someone who is Self-Injuring Include:

?    Unexplained cuts or bruises

?    Kids who have trouble modulating

emotional states especially sadness, fear and anger are at higher risk

?    Low self=esteem as evidenced by a

tendency to self-denigrate

?    Arms/legs always covered such as

wearing long sleeves and pants in warm weather

?    Possible eating disorder

?    Possible substance abuse

"Alcohol is the number one drug of choice by our youth," states Andrea

Tyler, prevention specialist and Director of Wallowa Valley Together

Project. "When alcohol is used by someone who is also experiencing

depression or anxiety, the situation is only made worse. We have a lot

of youth - and adults - who are hurting and they can't be easily

identified by age, or gender, education, socioeconomic status, or

religious beliefs."


?    An estimated two million people in the

US are self-injurers

?    About 1% of the population has

self-harmed at some time during their life, with 90% beginning during

their teen years or younger

?    Research shows that 13% of 15 to

16-year olds in the U.S. have deliberately harmed themselves

?    Over 23 million Americans 

have alcohol or other drug addictions

?    Approximately 14 million Americans

abuse or are addicted to alcohol

?    There were 590 suicides in Oregon in

2007, the highest rate since 2003

?    Each year there are more than 1,800

hospitalizations in Oregon due to suicide attempts

?    Suicide is the second leading cause of

death for Oregon youth ages 15-24

?    There were 8 deaths by suicide in

Wallowa County between 2002-2007

?    23% of Wallowa County youth in grades

8-12 reported they have at some time in their lives seriously

considered committing suicide

?    55% of local youth in grades 8-12 have

been sexually active

?    There were 17 reported teen pregnancies

in Wallowa County between 2005-2007 (ages 10-19)

?    42% of 8-12 grade youth surveyed had

used alcohol in the previous 30 days; 28% had binge drank in the

previous 30 days

?    Alcohol is the number one drug abused

by youth in the U.S., including Wallowa County; prescription and

over-the-counter medications are fourth behind tobacco and marijuana



Even with the stereotypes that are represented in this film - and maybe

because of them - To Save A Life does have the potential to positively

influence lives and spark conversations in families. Parents,

guardians, or other adult family members are strongly encouraged to see

this film with their teen. To help these discussions, resources and

information will be provided at each showing and can also be accessed

online at www.theok.tk or www.wvtp.org.

As the movie's website states: "Ultimately, this film asks the question

'What's my life going to be about?' and dares viewers to answer with

boldness, honesty, and open-handedness.  To Save A Life is

more than a movie. It's the difference you can make when you use your

influence and time for others - whether in your family, neighborhood,

campus, community or world."

Be watching for upcoming information on youth and parent small groups

that will be forming in March and April using materials inspired by the

film.  For more information on warning signs, local resources,

and prevention methods, access the resources listed below or contact

Wallowa Valley Together Project at 541-426-3277 or online at www.wvtp.org.  


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

800-273-TALK (8255)

Wallowa County 24-hour Mental Health Crisis Line


Next Step Pregnancy Counseling Center (La Grande)

800-395-4357 (24-hour hotline)

541-963-6918 (office)

Wallowa County 24-hour Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault

Crisis Line


S.A.F.E. Alternatives (self-injury/self-harm support)

800-DONTCUT (366-8288)


Wallowa Valley Together Project (alcohol and other drug prevention,

suicide prevention, bullying prevention, teen pregnancy prevention)



Wallowa Valley Center for Wellness (mental health counseling, crisis

intervention, alcohol and other drug treatment)


Jamie Dickenson, MSW (School Counselor)


Julie Garland, MA (Counselor)


Jeff Harmon, MA, LPC (Counselor)


Stephanie Williams, MSW, LCSW (Counselor)


Local Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Meeting Information


AA of Northeast Oregon


Eastern Oregon Alcoholism Foundation


Wallowa Memorial Hospital


Wallowa County Public Health Department


Department of Human Services, Wallowa County Branch Office

541-426-3146; 541-426-4558

Wallowa County Department of Youth Services

541-426-3131, ext. 3

The Dougy Center (suicide prevention; located in Portland)


The following resources

are not local or state, but are some of the best available for the many

issues this film raises

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention


Suicide Prevention Resource Center


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention



Jed Foundation (youth and college-age suicide prevention)



National Mental Health Association


National Institute of Mental Health


National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy















Save A Life

Rated PG-13 "due to mature thematic elements involving teen suicide,

teen drinking, some drug content, disturbing images, and sexuality."

Showing March 5, 6, 7 at The OK Theatre in Enterprise, www.theok.tk,


Show times: Friday & Saturday @ 7:30 pm; Sunday @ 2:30 and 6:00


?    Doors open 30 minutes before show time

Door Prizes given away at each show

Presale tickets - special price - $5/students, $6/adults - includes

small soda & small popcorn

?    Good for any of the four show times

?    Can be purchased at The Sports Corral

and Family/Youth Center in Joseph; The Blue Banana in Lostine; The

Cougar's Den in Wallowa; Enterprise Christian Church in Enterprise; and

the OK Theatre during the movie showing Feb. 26-28.

?    Presale tickets cannot be purchased at

the door the nights of the movie; regular admission &

concession prices will apply

Sponsor a family to attend this film - purchase presale tickets and

give to them to attend the show time(s) of their choice.

Parents/adult family members are strongly encouraged to see this movie

with their child and have open discussions afterward. 

Resources will be provided at each showing and can also be accessed

online at www.theok.tk or www.wvtp.org.

Andrea Tyler is executive director of Wallowa Valley Together Project,

which organized the showings of  To Save a Life.

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