Samariteens getting noisy to save lives

As a volunteer for Samariteens, Nick Galatis can often hear the mood change in the voices of desperate callers.

“There are definitely moments when there’s a lot of intensity,” said Galatis, 18, a gay UMass Amherst student. “There are a lot of people who do have the intention of killing themselves, so we have to deal with very serious situations.

“There are moments in just one phone call when you can hear their mood change just in their voice.”

To ensure that kind of support continues, more than 1,000 local high school and college students will party tonight at the House of Blues during Make Noise to Save a Life. The event benefits Samariteens, which is part of the broader suicide prevention and support organization, Samaritans.

The event will also draw attention to the recent gay teen suicides across the nation due to anti-gay bullying. In September alone, at least six gay youths killed themselves.

“Whenever there’s a high-profile loss it’s always an opportune moment of education,” said Roberta Hurtig, executive director of Samariteens. “It helps create more awareness and dialogue of the pain and suffering a lot of people go through.”

The House of Blues event also coincides with the holidays, which can be a difficult time for gay teens who aren’t supported by their families.

“This is a way for kids to directly release that stress at the end of the semester,” Galatis said. “It’s a nice time for people to let themselves go. At the same time, it raises money for Samariteens.”


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