On Saturday, the community will have an opportunity to come together and celebrate life while standing up and speaking out about suicide.
Arkansas is ranked ninth in the nation for the highest rate of suicide. Susie Reynolds Reece, executive director of Suicide Prevention Allies, said the state loses one person to suicide every 12 hours.
And, for every one death, there are 25 attempted suicides, Reece said.
Saturday's "For the Love of Live" event will showcase various artists throughout Hot Springs and give a platform for people to openly communicate about suicide in a safe environment.
Tercero Munoz organized the event "to honor those we've lost and ones that will not soon be forgotten," Reece said in a news release.
"Tercero really wanted to put this event together because the downtown arts community has lost several people to suicide over the last few years," she told The Sentinel-Record. "By doing this, we're providing a safe evening to discuss suicide and help those who may be looking for support."
Munoz said after a friend of his committed suicide a few years ago, he knew he wanted to do something to honor him.
"Our connection was through music and after his funeral, I really wanted to put a show together," he said. "It wasn't until this year I finally said 'I'm going to do this,' so I made a post on Facebook and all these people started commenting, asking how they could help."
Local venues have come together to spread awareness and hope throughout the community, Munoz and Reece said.
"It's a topic that literally everyone can relate to," Munoz said. "Everyone has a story of someone they know and love. ... Honestly, most everyone has a story and can relate so we wanted to have a small music and arts festival to celebrate life."
The evening begins at 5 p.m. with guided meditation at Metaphysical Connection followed by open mic poetry at 6 p.m. at Hot Springs Pub -- Core of Arkansas. Local poets Kai Coggin, Bree Rose and Sean Alexander Dixon will take the stage beginning at 7 p.m.
At 9 p.m., Maxine's Live will host live local music and the evening will close out from 11:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. with live DJs at the Starlite Club.
"I've wanted to host an event of this nature for years now, but it always seemed daunting," Munoz said in the release. "After I realized how far-reaching this problem is, I realized, there isn't going to be a better time to make a difference than now. This event is to honor those we've lost, and connect with those who may be feeling lost now."
Tickets are available at Eventbrite for $35 which Reece said will get guests into all of the events. Individuals can pay at the door for specific events, she said. All proceeds will benefit Suicide Prevention Allies.
A digital silent auction will take place at The Springs Hotel and donations of raffle and arts items are still being accepted. Munoz said the auction will begin at 5 p.m. and run through midnight.
"Looking at the entire event, there's something for everyone," Reece said. "I don't think anyone could look at the schedule and say there's nothing for them."
Event Sponsors include Metaphysical Connection, Kollective Coffee+Tea, Om Yoga Lounge, Klaun Goodlo, Zane Stringer, Rolando's Restorante, Foul Play Cabaret, Brendan Farr, Kat Lunsford Photography, The Springs Hotel, and Alayna Bennett.
According to the release, Suicide Prevention Allies -- previously the Garland County Suicide Prevention Coalition -- was formed in 2014 in Hot Springs and works to "build community relations and awareness of the problem of suicide and how it affects every person."
Reece said since the organization's formation, the community has been supportive of its initiative.
"I think everyone has really been supportive of Suicide Prevention Allies," she said. "We're excited about this opportunity Saturday to engage the artist community. It's hard to say if anyone has really been unsupportive of what we're doing because honestly, suicide affects everyone. Everyone has been touched by it in some way."
For individuals seeking help, the Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7, confidential support for those in crisis. By texting ARK to 741741, individuals will be connected with a live, trained crisis counselor and receive free access to support and information via text, the release said.Local on 07/03/2019