By Mariia Lysikova and Anna Audare
On September 10th, Theatre Square witnessed a beautiful evening performance of various talented musicians, dancers, and actors. While for a regular passerby, this event might have seemed as another fair or festival that the location often hosts, it was actually the place of remembering those lost to suicide and bringing awareness to the issue of mental health.
September 10th is the International Suicide prevention day, and multiple local organizations have gathered to shine a light on the global problem and raise awareness. The organizers' list includes #ChooseKlaipeda, the Red Cross, Vilties Linija, Jaunimo Linija, and newly formed initiative Gausus Gyvenimas.
Greta Tautavičiūtė, one of the #chooseklaipeda ambassadors, commented, "There are around 600 people lost to suicide in Lithuania in the recent year. Active society members must raise awareness to make people open to discussion and break the silence surrounding the topic."
While Suicide Prevention Day is a meaningful time to reflect on the crucial issue, it is also a time of cooperation and meaningful connections.
One of the major organizers is Gausus Gyvenimas - a newly formed non-profit organized primarily by LCC students. The leader of the organization, Robin Mubarik, elaborated on the goal of this initiative:
"We want to become a bridge between the local community and the organizations already working on mental health issues," shared Robinas.
"As a response to a critical situation with suicide in Lithuania, Gausus Gyvenimas is an organization that wants to bring hope to people who are suffering and to those who are concerned about their loved ones. "Positive Vibes" event is the first step towards this goal."
Members of Gausus Gyvenimas after the event.
Marlene Wall, LCC's president, attended the evening as a viewer but was given the opportunity to speak on the event's opening.
"It is a beautiful thing that LCC students are the primary drivers of change in situations like these," said Marlene Wall after cutting the ribbon on stage as a sign of the event's opening. "This student-run organization is an example of how we can build bridges and positively impact the community."
The event hosted the performance of the young rock band "Bleach", Pantomime Theater "A", the musical duo of Joy and Adele, and Sheikh Dance Theater dancer Niels Claes who all shared their experiences of the issue through the lens of art.
Niels Claes performing an interpretive dance.
A participant of the event, Dora Farkas, Erasmus+ student from Hungary, Karoli Gaspar University, shared, "I did know before coming to the event that Lithuania has the highest suicide rate. People being ashamed of asking for help and seeking therapy is a big problem. We have to understand that it is not shameful to ask for help."