BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – In the U.S., suicide rates are steadily increasing among people of all ages.
In response to such alarming statistics, organizations across the country are promoting suicide awareness events.
On a local level, one Baton Rouge-based institution is partnering with a family that was personally impacted by an incident of bullying that led to suicide.
Traeh Thyssen was only 13 years old when he lost his life to suicide.
Thyssen’s sister, Trinitee, described him as kind soul with a deep love for people and fashion.
She told BRProud, “He was sweet, caring. He was really into fashion and just overall a nice person, someone who could be there for someone who just brought joy and a smile to your face.”
But young Thyssen was bullied in school and took his own life in 2019.
The creative teen’s love for fashion lives on through the efforts of his family and their partnership with Southern University.
In 2021, his family’s organization, the Traeh Thyssen Have a Heart Foundation, began collaborating with Southern University to put on an annual fashion show that aimed to shed light on the harmful effects of bullying and raise suicide prevention awareness.
Thyssen’s sister Trinitee says the family’s foundation is dedicated to promoting hope and spreading a message that will help a number of people.
She described Have a Heart’s goal with the following words, “(We want) to raise awareness and just to bring out the message to all of those people, that tomorrow does get better and to stop bullying.”
She and her late brother’s other sister, Tiva, expressed a similar sentiment.
Tiva directed her thoughts to those who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, saying, “You’re okay. And if you need help, just talk to somebody and we’ll help you get through it.”
One avenue of assistance was found at the second annual Bullying and Suicide Awareness Fashion show, which took place Sunday, October 2.
The family told BRProud that all proceeds from the event will go to suicide prevention awareness efforts. They feel strongly that the only way to see a reduction in the number of suicide cases is to create more opportunities for conversations about the difficult topic.
Others who worked with Have a Heart and Southern to make the fashion show a success feel the same way.
One such person was Elliot Smith, an entertainer and comedian who is also known as Chef24.
Smith told BRProud, “I’ve tried to commit suicide as a kid, so I really relate to his story. And if I can help to maybe change somebody else’s life by using my comedy or my presence is just an honor to me.”
Anyone who struggles with suicidal thoughts or bullying can find help here.
Suicide prevention resources for the Baton Rouge area are also available via the information below:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24-hour national crisis line and is a safe space to talk about whatever is troubling you. Trained crisis intervention specialists are available to assist you in working through thoughts of suicide and will help you come up with a plan for safety. Call 1-800-273-TALK to be connected with a skilled, trained counselor in your area 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Chat – https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/
Crisis Text Line – 741741
THE PHONE Baton Rouge – 225-924-3900
24-hour crisis counseling and emotional support line serving the Greater Baton Rouge Area. The PHONE is a safe space to talk about all sorts of feelings and problems including, but not limited to, depression, anxiety, loneliness, interpersonal problems, suicidal ideation, and financial issues. Callers to The PHONE are connected to volunteer paraprofessional counselors who are trained in crisis intervention and suicide prevention. These counselors are available to listen and talk with you whenever you need help the most.
THE PHONE LSU – 225-924-LSU1
24-hour crisis counseling and emotional support line serving the students of Louisiana State University (LSU). This line is a safe space for students to talk about all sorts of feelings and struggles they are experiencing. Callers to the LSU line are connected to volunteer paraprofessional counselors trained in crisis intervention and suicide prevention. These counselors are available to listen and talk with you whenever you need help the most.
Kidline is an anonymous, toll-free, statewide telephone
service offering crisis intervention, support, parenting information and referrals to community resources within the state of Louisiana. KIDLINE counselors are available 24 hours per day – 7 days per week.
Call KIDLINE if you need:
-confidential emotional support
-information on child development
-positive discipline tips
-information on local community services
-information on the Safe Haven Law
-information on Crime Victim Reparation