In January, N.C. State University's Counseling Center along with StoryDriven, a Durham marketing firm, won an Emmy award in the Public Affairs category for a suicide prevention video.
The #StopTheStigma video — created by N.C. State social workers Daniel Goldstein and Noah Martinson, as well as Bryce McNabb, story mentor and chief operating officer at StoryDriven — compiled hours of interviews that recorded student experiences with suicide.
Goldstein and Martinson invited students to share their stories about mental illness and suicide in the campus' Brickyard. These conversations led to three interviews with students included in the documentary, which was awarded a Midsouth Regional Emmy Award.
McNabb said the most difficult part of editing the video was balancing the heaviness of the material with the desire for a positive, hopeful message at the end.
“It was such a struggle because you’re dealing with very heavy material, and the stories are so weighty," he said. "I remember there would be some days where it would zap me out emotionally.”
The documentary was constructed deliberately to take viewers along a journey through the students' experiences.
“To make sure that this video would help people, we kept this in mind and designed it to reflect the flow of a counseling session, to lead our audience to a place of healing," McNabb said.
Larry Bernstein, member of the Triangle Coalition for Suicide Prevention, said he thought the video made a large impact.
“Seeing the word ‘Emmy’ attached to it is kind of wild," he said.
The coalition is made up of several local organizations and is dedicated to preventing suicide through its partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. It donates money to local organizations that advocate suicide prevention and awareness, such as the N.C. State Counseling Center.
McNabb said Martinson and Goldstein wanted to create the video in hopes that survivors’ stories would inspire those contemplating suicide to seek help.
“They wanted to make a video that didn’t just bring attention to the idea that suicide is an issue, but in hopes that if someone were to be thinking about taking their own life or to see this, that it would urge them to kind of seek out help,” McNabb said.
Wyatt Bond, one of the students featured in the video, said he felt compelled to share his story for similar reasons.
“I decided to speak out because I lost a friend to suicide when I was fifteen,” Bond, a graduate teaching assistant at N.C. State, said. “Then dealing with it myself made me realize how important it is to make sure people aren’t facing this stuff alone. I felt like I had an obligation to the community around me to say something and to make people feel like they could seek help.”
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