MEDFORD, Ore. – A group of local teens is raising awareness for suicide prevention through art.
The LifeArt program completed their mural at the United Way building in Medford this morning.
The program’s director says the image is meant to send a message that art can be used as an outlet to help troubled youth cope with their stress.
“If we look at art as a way to help develop our community and embrace the talent that these kids have, they’re going feel like there’s a purpose for them — like they belong,” said director Phil Ortega.
Ortega says Jackson County sees about one suicide each week on average.
The LifeArt program was founded with county support to be a diversion, primarily for Latino youth.
In its three years it has become what Ortega calls a surrogate parent for many of the kids by offering guidance, peer support, and an outlet for expression.