Brauntex Theatre to host suicide prevention event in September
June 5, 2023
The Art Deco-styled Brauntex Theatre in Downtown New Braunfels is well known for hosting various events, including films, musical and theatrical productions.
But in September, the Brauntex will host an educational event on a critical community mental health topic: suicide prevention.
In 2011, Sam Eaton gave himself an ultimatum — on Christmas Day, he would either end his life or never think about suicide again.
“I wrote goodbye letters and boxed up my belongings because I believed my life was meaningless and disposable,” Sam says on his recklesslyalive.com website.
In 2020, he published his first book entitled “Recklessly Alive: What My Suicide Attempt Taught Me About God and Living Life to the Fullest.” The book became a No. 1 Amazon best-seller.
On Sept. 13, Sam will share his story to equip and empower the New Braunfels community to engage in real and honest conversations about mental health, depression and suicide. The presentation is free and open to the public. The Walmart Foundation, Downtown Rotary Club of New Braunfels and Sissy Preston sponsor the event.
Maryanne Navickas, the theater’s education and community outreach director, said the idea for a suicide prevention program came as a successful program on dyslexia occurred earlier this year, involving students from area school districts and their parents.
“One of our board members had mentioned to us that she would love for this gentleman to come whose written a book,” Navickas said. “She said it would be great for him to come and speak about suicide prevention. We got in contact with his people, and we’ve got him.”
But Navickas also wanted to include local mental health agencies to participate in the event. That’s when a collaboration with MAP Comal, or Mental Advocacy Partners, started.
“Going to the MAP meeting was instrumental in seeing what’s out there,” she said. “It just opened my eyes. I was looking for something like this.”
MAP Comal is an online and face-to-face resource providing an accessible, confidential connection between those in need and the professionals at local partner organizations who offer help. MAP Comal partners share resource materials, coordinate services and plan community-wide mental health events. The group meets at the McKenna Center monthly.
“Being in this meeting and hearing everyone speaking about how involved they want to be in the community, I felt we needed to be part of that in some way,” she said. “We are a nonprofit, and we have people coming in for performances because we believe the arts are important and want to keep that alive. But we also want to use the Bruantex to make the New Braunfels community feel like a community.”
Plans for the evening are in the works that could include information booths or a panel discussion on mental health issues. Those plans are in the formative stages and will be finalized as the Sept. 13 date approaches.
MAP Comal was created after the McKenna Foundation established a mental health initiative in 2015 to identify community needs, service gaps, and funding priorities. The initiative convened stakeholders, nonprofit organizations, school districts, law enforcement, civic leaders and parents.
For more information about MAP Comal, visit MAPComal.org. For more information about the Brauntex, visit brauntex.org.
If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available 24/7. Call or text the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or chat 988lifeline.org. Call the Mobile Crisis Outreach Team of Comal County for local support at 1-877-466-0660 or text 741741.
Confidential crisis support is available for veterans and their loved ones by dialing 988, then pressing 1. Veterans can also text 838255. If someone is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.