University Relations and Communications

MSU Billings students provide voice for mental illness and suicide awareness

November 13, 2014

 

Contacts:

Dr. Sarah Keller, Communications & Theatre, at skeller@msubillings.edu or 896-5824
University Relations and Communications, 657-2266

 

Let’s Talk Billings presents "Under the Blanket,” written and performed by five MSUB students, performances, Nov. 18 & 19, at 6 p.m., in the Liberal Arts building’s Black Box Theater, room 620. The shows are free and open to the public.

 

MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — An original theater production created and performed by Montana State University Billings students will premiere next week on the university’s campus. 

 

Under the Blanket actors on stage

Showcased by Let’s Talk Billings, “Under the Blanket” with a cast of five, explores suicide, depression and mental illness among youth and young adults as part of an innovative suicide-prevention campaign that pairs student actors with the world of performing arts.

 

Free and open to the public, two performances will be held Tuesday, Nov. 18 and Wednesday, Nov. 19, each at 6 p.m, in the Liberal Arts building’s Black Box Theater, room 620. A discussion led by performers, directors and mental health professionals, will follow the play.

 

The production director Patrick Wilson said the performance draws from participants and their experiences. The cast includes Casey St. Clair, a junior English and creative writing major; Sadie Turner, a pre-pharmacy major; Julie Lanmore, a junior health and human services major; Megan Blanco, a theater major; and Moriah Southard, a freshman communications organization major.

 

“The students wrote the script based on their own personal experiences of mental illness and suicide,” Wilson said, who is also an adjunct communications and theatre instructor at MSUB. “It’s a powerful message.”

 

St. Clair said that after years of battling suicidal thoughts and attempts, she hopes to help others who struggle.

 

“There is no shame in fighting the battle,” St. Clair told a group of MSUB students during a rehearsal performance. “The shame is in not fighting."

 

Turner said she felt a strong calling to reach out after her brother took his life.

 

“Suicide affects everyone around you,” Turner said. “It hurts. It’s real. This performance gives an opportunity to speak out and relate to others who have experienced this kind of loss." 

 

For more information and resources, visit www.letstalkbillings.org or contact Dr. Sarah Keller, chair of the Department of Communication and Theatre, at 406-896-5824. 

 

>  Download event flyer

 

PHOTO: MSUB students rehearse for a community performance of “Under the Blanket,” a Let’s Talk Billings production.