KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A local artist is turning her tragedy into action in hopes that it will save someone from taking their life.
Nicole Leth, 26, lost her father to suicide when she was 17 years old. She promised herself that day she would make a difference through her artwork and writing.
“He was the most important part of my life,” Leth said of her father. “It made me understand the frugality of life and understand that it was too short to not try to make a positive change, and it just changed the trajectory that I decided to live my life.”
Leth is behind a new “affirmation” billboard along southbound 71 Highway, near downtown, that reads “You are human. You are loveable. You are strong. You are enough.”
“It just means that whoever you are, that you are important person and you should operate from that level of worthiness,” Leth said.
They’re four simple sentence she also tells herself when she’s having a bad day.
“Every time I drive by it, I get tears in my eyes because I feel like everything in my life has led me to this moment,” she said.
Leth, who is also a yoga instructor, spent months saving for the $1,200 billboard, which will be in place for a month.
She’s not trying to make money off it. She wants to help save lives.
“So everyone sees it and interprets it, and based on what you’re going through, it can mean something different to every single person,” she said.
Leth said in the last nine years since her father’s death, she’s realized that she can’t save someone’s life for them. But she can create art that empowers and uplifts a person to save their own life.
“It feels private and sacred because it’s you alone in your car and you’re witnessing this, and then you’re thinking about what it means, but putting it in this public space is also making it discoverable to them,” she explained.
It’s a public message that speaks to a person’s inner struggles.
“I just feel like everything’s come full circle, and I feel like I’m doing the right thing to heal myself while healing others,” Leth said.
Leth wants to put up an “affirmation” billboard once a month for a year. She said her dream is to have them in high-traffic areas.
If you would like to donate to her cause, click here.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, we urge you to get help immediately.
Go to a hospital, call 911 or call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433).
Click on the boxes below for our FOX 4 You Matter reports and other helpful phone numbers and resources.