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NC State suicide prevention video wins Emmy

Posted February 13
Updated February 14

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— A grassroots effort at North Carolina State University to talk about suicide has become a critical success, and the partnership behind an award-winning public service announcement plans to keep the conversation going.

An eight-minute video called "Stop the Stigma" is a raw, deep dive into suicidal thoughts that features three N.C. State students from different backgrounds sharing their life-altering bond.

"We wanted to make the unspeakable speakable and find a way to give voice to this thing that is the second-leading cause of death on college campuses throughout the nation," said Daniel Goldstein, a licensed social worker at N.C. State's Counseling Center.

The idea for a safe space to share feelings of desperation started on campus, with a table at the Brickyard, Goldstein said.

Claudia McDonald was a freshman when she stumbled on the Counseling Center table and decided to open up.

"It was me exerting that I was OK with what happened, and I was moving on," said McDonald, now a junior and one of the three students in the "Stop the Stigma" video. "I was OK for other people to know and for it to hopefully help people."

The Counseling Center reached out to Story Driven, a local production company, to handle the video.

"We want people to be able to see this video so that the video can do what it is designed to do, which is to move people out of a place of despair into a space of hope," said Bryce McNabb, chief operating officer of Story Driven.

McDonald said she wants her story to dispel myths about suicide, noting she was a straight-A student when she overdosed in high school.

"I want people to start having educated conversations about suicide, about anxiety, about things that are hard to talk about," she said.

Thousands of people have viewed the video online, and in November, the group received an Emmy for it.

A second video is now in the works, taking the discussion further into how to help loved ones struggling with suicidal thoughts.

"Our best hope is that someone who's struggling will feel a little bit more hope, feel a little less alone, feel a little less ashamed," Goldstein said.

Anyone who suspects a friend, family member or acquaintance is struggling with suicidal thoughts can call the N.C. State Counseling Center at 919-515-2423 or the Wake County HopeLine at 919-231-4525. Both lines are in operation 24 hours a day.

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