COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina ETV and Public Radio (SCETV) recently aired a new program called SCETV Safe Space to highlight mental health and suicide prevention strategies. The conversational style program brought together teens and professionals to discuss issues facing South Carolina’s youth during a September 15 live broadcast on ETV.
Earlier this year, SCETV kicked off the SCETV Safe Space initiative to address concerns around rising suicide rates of adolescents in South Carolina. In April, the state’s public media agency held a virtual community listening session in partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Mid-Carolina and then held two regional town halls this summer—one in Hardeeville and one in Rock Hill. Each event was live streamed on SCETV’s social media platforms and included open discussions around stigmas about mental health, rising suicide rates among youth and the additional resources needed to bring awareness to support programs.
The SCETV Safe Space initiative is funded by a grant from Twin Cities PBS (TBT) to support a multi-platform production and community engagement initiative to inform, illuminate and activate suicide prevention strategies for vulnerable populations.
In February 2022, TPT awarded a total of $165,000 in Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) grants to 10 PBS stations to create suicide prevention initiatives in their communities. The grants will empower stations to work with local and national partners to share evidence-based suicide prevention approaches and resources with their communities and amplify the messages of the Facing Suicide documentary, which premiered nationally on PBS on September 13.
The September 15 SCETV Safe Space live broadcast was filmed at SCETV studios in Columbia. Guest host Whitney Sullivan of WLTX News 19 facilitated a conversation with teens and professionals, including a representative from NAMI Mid-Carolina, NAMI Piedmont, the South Carolina Department of Mental Health and a local school psychologist. Prior to the live broadcast, participants also viewed clips from the Facing Suicide documentary.
A SCETV Safe Space multi-platform campaign around suicide prevention featuring prominent South Carolinians will be shared digitally and on-air in the coming months.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in South Carolina. Nationally, the state ranks 24th in the nation for deaths by suicide. Additional data from the Centers for Disease Control indicate that suicide is highest among the most rural communities in the state and was the third leading cause of death among those aged 10-24.
Viewers can watch a recording of the live broadcast on the SCETV website, YouTube channel or social media. Additionally, SCETV Safe Space will re-air on ETV World on September 25 at 10 p.m.
If you or someone you know are in crisis, or experiencing thoughts of suicide, text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741), or call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988. Both services are free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
For more information on the SCETV Safe Space initiative, visit the SCETV Safe Space page of the SCETV website.