University Relations and Communications

MSUB-related media project tackles issue of teen suicide in Eastern Montana

September 5, 2012



Matthew Eisen , “Let’s Talk Miles City” Project Director, (619) 283-0480 or
Dr. Sarah Keller, MSU Billings Communications & Theatre, 896-5824
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — An original theater production created and performed by Miles City high school students kicks off an innovative suicide-prevention campaign that uses social media and arts workshops to reach teens.
zmitism Brlymsn The live performance of “Let’s Talk Miles City” begins at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 7, at the VA Auditorium in Miles City.  The play will address the topics of suicide and depression among teenagers and is free to the public.


“The play has opened a door in the community for creative outlets of personal expression for young people in Miles City,” said Michelle Strain, on-site project coordinator from Billings. “It has been very exciting to watch the growth of the participants and this project.”


The performance is one of a number of media workshops with local teenagers that were provided this summer by the Global Healthy Equity Foundation (GHEF) and Montana State University Billings. GHEF is a non-profit philanthropic organization dedicated to making tangible improvements in healthcare and health education.


MSU Billings student director Miriam Veltman of Billings spent 10 weeks working with Miles City young people on the project. The resulting live performance aims to provide the community with an alternative form of expression for feelings of suicide and depression.


To create the play, teens chose materials relevant to the cause of suicide prevention and also wrote their own works about an issue that is ravaging the entire state. As a team, the teenagers and Veltman created a collaborative piece dedicated to Eastern Montana. The overall message focuses on becoming more aware, speaking up, seeking help or intervening to save your life and the lives of others. The teens truly hope the community is inspired by the performance.


The “Let’s Talk Miles City” campaign is dedicated to preventing suicide among teenagers. The goals are to:
Get people in the community more comfortable talking about mental health issues;

Provide resources and help for those who are depressed and possibly suicidal.


Admission to the “Let's Talk Miles City” performance will be free and takes place at 210 South Winchester Avenue. The play will be followed by a photo exhibit by Miles City youth at the Custer County Art & Heritage Center on Sept. 8.


For more information on the project, contact Project Director Matthew Eisen at (619) 283-0480 or via e-mail at For more information on the project as it relates to MSU Billings students, contact. Dr. Sarah Keller, department chair in Communications and Theatre, at or at 896-5824.


PHOTO ABOVE: MSU Billings Student Director Miriam Veltman