More young local people are taking their owns lives. Teen suicides in Clark County are up 54 percent. So far, this year, 17 people under the age of 18 have committed suicide which is up from 11 last year.
There are a number of resources in the Las Vegas valley, including non-profits and hotlines that people can contact.
One organization is using theater to jump start a conversation and let kids know that they’re not alone.
“Why wouldn’t they just leave me alone?” asks Ayaka Taylor during her performance of the Toe Tag Monolgues.
She has performed this monologue more times than she can count.
“Kids would be texting these lies, all over campus. Kids were on Facebook and Twitter, everyday, lying on me,” she said.
“It’s called “Johnny” and talks about suicide.”
“These are real stories and real people have experienced those things,” Taylor said.
The 13-year-old is one of the performers for Toe Tag Monologues, a group created by a retired Metro police officer.
“We needed something so that our kids would be engaged so that our kids could share their heart and what they were going through,” said R. Byron Stringer, writer & director, Toe Tag Monologues.
He is the director. He also wrote the monologues based off of his experiences during his 26-years in the police force.
“Things are getting worse,” he said.
To make things better, he has enlisted the help of students who see and hear about their peers contemplating suicide.
“You see people crying and you see how affected and moved they are by your performance,
said Sabrina Bevill, Toe Tag Monologues performer. “You just know that you’ve changed a life.”
Suicide is the third leading cause of death for Nevadans between the ages of 15 and 24. Overall, Nevada has the 6th highest suicide rate in the nation. This, according to the latest numbers by the CDC.
“I have known of many kids who have committed suicide throughout the country and throughout the valley,” Bevill said. “Its very sad to know that kids feel alone.”
Like Ayaka, Sabrina Bevill believes each time they perform “Johnny,” it has a life-changing impact in a young person’s mind.
“Being able to perform in front of kids, people, and juvenile detention centers, those things really get to you and then you realize that you’re part of something that’s amazing,” Taylor said.
Toe Tag Monologues also tackles other issues among youth like drug and alcohol abuse, violence, and pregnancy. They perform locally and across the nation. To learn more about the organization, click here.