LIHUE — In the past few years, Paul Peters has watched two cousins battle for their lives and had to say goodbye when both of those fights ended in suicide.
“It’s been really heavy, and we’re all still grieving a lot,” Peters said.
It’s because of those tragic losses that 23-year-old Peters, a California native, was on Kauai last week, talking about a new organization he is spearheading: “No Bro World.”
He’s teamed up with a friend in Honolulu with the goal of raising suicide awareness and prevention, as well as to provide a platform for communication.
“My friend, Christian, he was really close to my cousin and when my cousin would talk about suicide, or Christian would talk about those negative things he wanted to do, they would say ‘No, bro’ to each other,” Peters said. “So we wanted to include everyone — the whole world — in this ‘no bro’ kind of mentality.”
Peters said right now he’s just laying the groundwork, but his vision is to create a safe space for those struggling with suicidal thoughts to communicate and to get help.
Just as important, Peters said, is a focus on art therapy.
“Art is so healing and it’s a huge passion for my friend Christian,” Peters said. “It’s therapeutic and we want to use it to turn that darkness into light.”
He said the organization has a business focus as well, and his hope is to turn it into a full-time job at some point. Right now, it’s still in an upstart phase, though. Peters has started a “go fund me” account and has snapped up all of the social media names, but is still working on an online presence.
“But the bigger mission, the real focus, is to help people and to provide that safe place for people thinking about suicide,” Peters said.