The host of a California based youth television show, aired on over 1,000 channels, announced this week that his organization is launching a year long campaign to confront the issue of suicide. The idea came after recording a TV documentary last August in Japan’s Sea of Trees. The Sea of Trees (Aeokigahara Jukai Forest) lies at the base of Mt. Fuji and is the number two place in the world where people go to take their lives; number one is the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA.
Chad Daniel who hosts YouthBytes is generally known for his comedic gift but focuses many of his shows at dealing with issues facing teenagers. After releasing Sea of Trees, Chad, who lost his own father to suicide, showed the program to a large church youth group in Southern California. The presiding youth leader of the 20,000 member Rock Church, San Bernardino, Rev. Richard Villanueva, had this to say about the evening: “From the second the 15-minute video played, our teens were captured by the intensity and honesty that was spoken that evening. The video was truthful, and at times, quite shocking. Chad and the media presentation he brought didn’t pull any punches and confronted the issue head on, explaining that the real victims of suicide are those who survive – family and friends. Using his own heart-wrenching, personal experience with suicide, he connected with the teens and gave opportunity for my team of youth leaders to hug, comfort, pray for and speak hope and life into the hundreds of teens that flooded to the platform after the message.”
The response was so significant that Chad Daniel and his production team decided it must be replicated nationwide. Chad is challenging schools, radio stations, community centers, churches and television stations to have what he calls Life Events following the pattern of that first suicide awareness night at The Rock Church. Although Chad will avail himself to speak at some of these, he is asking leaders to use the 15-minute version of the Sea of Trees video, and the pattern of what he shared, to do their own Life Event. The objective of these events is to provide an honest and open communication on this topic and to provide a safe environment for people struggling with suicidal thoughts to get support and help.
Death2Suicide.com is providing a free download of the 15-minute video to those wanting to do a Life Event and it can also be viewed at www.death2suicide.com. They are also making available, for free, a full downloadable media kit including promotional posters, press release information, banners, photos and an audio MP3 recording plus transcript of the first Life Event. Chad says two more television shows about suicide are in the making, including another shot in Japan and one shot at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA. Both programs are in the post-production phase. They will simply provide additional tools to tackle this difficult topic. A press kit is available at www.death2suicide.com/presskit
Chad is making himself available throughout 2011 to heighten exposure on this issue, to do radio, television and print interviews and to participate in as many Life Events as his schedule allows. YouthBytes has secured the website death2suicide.com for this campaign. YouthBytes is looking for corporate and individual sponsors for the campaign. Chad Daniel can be contacted at youthbytes.org.