MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – A town hall discussion aiming to advance conversations around mental health is planned at Northern Michigan University. WNMU-TV will host the event titled “Facing Suicide: Town Hall” featuring a panel of mental health professionals from across the Upper Peninsula.

The event will take place at the Northern Center on NMU’s campus on Tuesday, September 27, beginning at 7 p.m. It is open to the public and free to attend either in-person or virtually.

WNMU-TV was inspired to hold the discussion by a recently premiered PBS documentary called “Facing Suicide“. The panel will discuss elements of the documentary and include information of identifying warning signs of mental health struggles, as well as resources available locally.

“When we put out the request to our professionals in the community, they said ‘Where do you want us and when?’. I think everybody recognizes that to remove the stigma surrounding suicide awareness and prevention, we need to talk,” said WNMU-TV producer Mike Settles, a producer at WNMU-TV and host of the town hall. “We need to talk openly and candidly and they will be ready to do so. And, again, we are hoping folks from the community will come on out, hear their message, and contribute to the conversation. We would like to hear everybody’s experiences and have everyone share their knowledge.”

The following local professionals will comprise the panel:

Expert panelists participating are:

  • Kristine Martens, Youth Services Coordinator and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) trainer, Dial Help, Houghton
  • Christy Hartline, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Northern Michigan University Counseling & Consultation Services, Marquette
  • Philip Hefner Gardiepy, Training Coordinator and Recipient Right Advisor, Northpointe Behavioral Healthcare Systems, Iron/Dickinson/Menominee Counties
  • Sarah Rymkos, Project Aware Service Provider, Delta-Schoolcraft Intermediate School District, Escanaba
  • Abigail Wyche, Special Advisor, Northern Michigan University Mental Health & Wellness, Marquette

Registration for the town hall is recommended, but not required. You can register for the event here to attend in person, or look for a link to attend virtually to be posted here in the coming days.