“Don’t Change the Subject” opens conversation on suicide

Jacob Parker

Director Mike Stutz presented his film “Don’t Change the Subject” in DUC Auditorium Thursday night to raise awareness about suicide.

Three days before his twelfth birthday, Stutz witnessed his mother’s suicide which later inspired him to create the film to tackle the issue of suicide and why people don’t want to talk about it.

“It is vital that we talk about it,” Stutz said.

In the film, Stutz puts suicide and it’s consequences into perspective. One such way was using humor. Stutz explained how humor can be used to deal with sensitive issues and can also be a type of coping mechanism for those affected by suicide.

“That’s the essence of comedy, to transfer one of life’s horrors into something funny,” he said in the film.

Stutz used artists, such as comedians, dancers and musicians to enact different perspectives on suicide.

In addition to his own family and story, Stutz talked to people that have either attempted suicide or were a family member who had suffered a loss due to suicide.

After the screening, Stutz encouraged those who feel suicidal or depressed to talk about their feelings with friends, counselors or strangers on the suicide hotline.

“Once you start talking, it gets a lot easier,” he said.

He encouraged people listening to someone talk about their suicidal thoughts to not change the subject if they feel uncomfortable.

“They need to be heard.”

Suicide is the second leading cause of death amongst college students, he said, noting that people sometimes don’t take their suicidal peers more seriously.

“It’s a big mistake people will make,” he said. “Even if they’re just looking for attention, that’s a bad way to look for it and it should tell you that something is wrong. Give them help.”

He encouraged the audience to not be afraid of talking to someone who may feel depressed.

“You’re never going to go wrong by reaching out to somebody.”

Louisville sophomore Savannah Schafer was one of the students who came out to see the screening. Schafer said she thinks the film will benefit a lot of people.

“It was really moving. It was such a different way to view suicide,” she said.

The national suicide hotline number is 1-800-273-TALK. WKU counselors are located in Potter Hall, in Counseling and Student Affairs.