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District 742 Recognizes Suicide Prevention Month

St. Cloud Area School District 742 hosted a screening of the film, "My Ascension" on Thursday, October 12 for juniors and seniors at Tech High School and McKinley ALC, and on Friday, October 13 for juniors and seniors at Apollo High School.

My Ascension” is Emma Benoit’s story of her battle with depression and anxiety that ultimately led her to attempted suicide at the age of sixteen. Emma's suicide attempt left her paralyzed but propelled her on a mission to share her story and help others find hope in the midst of darkness.

After viewing the film, students had the opportunity to listen to Emma in person as part of a panel discussion. In addition, a school counselor, Heather Wilson, Central Minnesota Mental Health Center Crisis Program Manager, and Scott Roeder, on behalf of the Jackson Roeder Memorial Fund participated on the panel. Ray Stenglein with Wings of Hope moderated the discussion.

Benoit says that being able to share her lived experience with students is “invaluable.” She has visited 28 high schools in Minnesota and traveled to 25 states in the last eighteen months to deliver her message of hope.

Throughout the panel discussion, students were encouraged to talk with adults about how they are feeling, to know that others care about their well-being and to know that there are resources in their schools and community that they can turn to for help if they need it.

Several district mental health professionals were available on-site at both high schools during the presentations to process with any students who needed additional support. In addition, Lisa Bershok, MSW, LICSW, Suicide Prevention Program Manager at CentraCare, and Wil Sampson-Bernstrom, Regional Coordinator at Canvas Health Suicide Prevention Program, were consulted for assistance with this presentation to ensure that this education was provided to students in the safest way possible.

Thanks to the Jackson Roeder Memorial Fund and to the St. Cloud Lumberjacks for their financial contributions to these presentations.

For additional District 742 Mental Health Resources:

Emma Benoit

Emma Benoit

Emma Benoit