Suicide

Ken Baxter

Ken Baxter is a Central Pennsylvania singer/songwriter, originally from Boston. He lost his son, Alex, to suicide years ago. On Saturday, September 21 at 7:00 p.m, he’ll play a concert called "The Philosophy of Hope," at the State Theatre in State College to raise funds for the Jana Marie Foundation, a local group that works on suicide prevention.  Joining him on stage for the concert will be his other son, Nick Baxter, who’s a music producer in Hollywood. Ken Baxter talks about suicide, life lessons, and moving forward.

Members of the panel at a "Community Conversation On Suicide."
Brittany Krugel / WPSU

 

About 20 people attended a "Community Conversation on Suicide" at the State College Municipal Building sponsored by March for Our Lives and CeaseFire PA.

Panel members included activists from both organizations and Tom King, the former State College police chief.

Alex Wind, one of the co-founders of the March for our Lives movement, described the effects that gun violence and mass shootings have on current suicide rates. 

Marisa Vicere is the founder of the Jana Marie Foundation.
Shawn Henfling / Captured Chaos

After losing her sister to suicide in 2011, Marisa Vicere founded the Jana Marie Foundation in her sister’s honor.

The State College-based non-profit aims to educate and empower young people in the Centre County region and to build awareness about mental well-being and suicide prevention.

Vicere talked with WPSU during National Suicide Prevention Month about the foundation and her sister. 

Woman speaking at podium
Nabil Mark

As WPSU’s Anne Danahy reports, the change means Centre County residents will now speak with someone familiar with local services.

Some people who call the local Centre Helps hotline are considering suicide. Others are struggling financially.

Leanne Lenz is executive director of the agency, which runs that hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. She said Centre Helps not only offers a nonjudgmental listening ear. It also acts as a hub, connecting people with resources.