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Batavia Scout hopes to spread awareness about suicide through documentary screening

Local mental health professionals will be on hand for Q & A session after film

Batavia Boy Scout Troop 21 Life Scout Ethan Tarver will host a free public viewing of a documentary about suicide with a panel of local mental health professionals participating in a Q&A session afterward to complete his Eagle Scout badge requirements. The showing of the documentary, “The S Word,” is at 7 p.m. March 24 at the Batavia Civic Center.

Batavia Boy Scout Troop 21 Life Scout Ethan Tarver wanted to take on an Eagle Scout project that was important to him and that would have a lasting impact.

When Tarver hosts a free public viewing of a documentary about suicide with a panel of local mental health professionals participating in a Q&A session afterward, he thinks his project will meet that criteria.

The showing of the documentary “The S Word” is at 7 p.m. March 24 at the Batavia Civic Center. Tarver said his goals for the event are to spread an awareness in the community about suicide and to support the work of Suicide Prevention Services of America in Batavia through encouraging others to volunteer or to donate to the local nonprofit organization.

Or, he said, it could potentially save a life.

Tarver hopes the event will open a conversation in his community about suicide and begin to dispel the stigma associated with it.

Batavia Boy Scout Troop 21 Life Scout Ethan Tarver will host a free public viewing of a documentary about suicide with a panel of local mental health professionals participating in a Q&A session afterward to complete his Eagle Scout badge requirements. The showing of the documentary, “The S Word,” is at 7 p.m. March 24 at the Batavia Civic Center.

The documentary features attempted suicide survivors from a cross section of America candidly sharing their stories of “trauma, mental health challenges, survival and advocacy.”

Tarver purchased a copy of the video, which he will donate to Suicide Prevention Services after the showing, for the organization to use in its training. He will present more information about the event at the March 21 Batavia City Council meeting, as well as before the Three Fires Council, Boy Scouts of America. He will then achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest achievement and rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America program.

Tarver and his family have been supporters and volunteers with Suicide Prevention Services for many years. Tarver’s mom, Kim Tarver, lost her daughter from a previous marriage more than 20 years ago. Erin Brown was 17 years old when she died by suicide. Kim Tarver said she credits Suicide Prevention Services with saving her own life.

“I don’t know how I would have done it without them,” she said.

Kim Tarver said the support she received from the people in the organization was so important because it let her know she wasn’t alone.

Kim Tarver got very involved with the organization and has been giving back ever since. She now attends the support groups of people who have lost loved ones to suicide as one of the leaders. She served for 12 years on the board of directors, a number of those as president, and has volunteered on the 24-hour hotline in addition to working on many of the fundraising events throughout the year.

Because she was so heavily involved with the organization, it was natural that Kim Tarver’s family became involved as well. She and her husband, Bill Tarver, would bring toddlers Ethan and twin brother Seth to events such as the Here for Life Walk fundraiser, pushing them along in their strollers.

“It’s part of them, too,” she said.

Suicide Prevention Services’ mission is to “open minds, save lives and restore hope through prevention, intervention, post-vention, using education, advocacy and collaboration,” according to spsamerica.org.

The organization hosts events to prevent suicide and offers a 24-hour lifeline (1-800-273-8255 or 1-630-482-9696), individual screening for depression, counseling for anxiety, depression, family issues, couples issues – all things that could be the root cause that leads someone to contemplate suicide – and counseling for grief and loss, the website stated.

Suicide Prevention Services has support groups for anyone who has experienced a loss by suicide, as well as groups for survivors who have attempted suicide. Training and workshops are available to provide the skills needed to intervene and help prevent suicide.

Ethan Tarver said he hopes people will take the time to sign up for the screening, learn more and help the organization.

Suicide Prevention Services is at Stone Manor, 528 S. Batavia Ave., in Batavia and serves the Fox River Valley area.

The Batavia Park District Civic Center is at 327 W. Wilson St. Seats for the March 24 screening are limited, and can be reserved here.