Los Alamos Little Theatre will host a panel discussion open to the community at 3:45 pm Sunday, Jan. 22. The discussion will address suicide, violence, sexual identity and other issues teenagers face as evidenced in the play Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead and also as manifest in the local community. The panel discussion will follow a matinee performance of Dog Sees God, but the discussion is open to anyone interested in attending. The event will be held at the Performing Arts Center, 1670 Nectar St. in Los Alamos.
Participating in the panel discussion will be Brian Haigh, a psychiatrist with an emphasis on child and adolescent issues, and Heather McCulloch, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Elisa Enriquez, Senior Associate Ombudsman at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Ombuds Office, will facilitate the discussion. The panel discussion will focus on issues faced by high schoolers and teens in Los Alamos and what the community can do to help address those issues. Ken Milder, director for Dog Sees God, and cast members from the show will also participate to share their experience of portraying these emotional matters on stage.
Milder said he proposed Dog Sees God for the LALT season specifically to call attention to issues some teens face. “Hopefully, parents will talk to their kids after seeing this play and ask, as I did, does this kind of stuff really go on? What’s sad is that it sometimes does,” Milder said. Some of the cast members are Los Alamos natives. “This play may be disturbing to some, but it covers issues people in the community need to be aware of,” said Jacinta Lestone, who plays the character Tricia. “I grew up here and the issues the play deals with really hit home for me.”
Haigh knows firsthand the seriousness of some of the issues faced by youth in Los Alamos, frequently treating patients who have contemplated suicide. “Due to the high need of adolescent mental health we opened a group practice in July 2016 to bring in more therapists and additional medication prescribers,” Haigh said. Haigh earned his M.D. at the Tulane University School of Medicine and completed his Adult psychiatry residency at University of Denver his Child and Adolescent Psychiatry fellowship at UNM in Albuquerque. He is a board certified Child, Adolescent, and Adult psychiatrist and has practiced in Los Alamos for the past two years.
McCulloch has a Master’s degree in clinical psychology from Antioch University and has been providing service to the Los Alamos community since 2007, having previously worked in the Los Angeles area. Haigh and McCulloch co-facilitate the only Dialectical Behavior Therapy Adolescent and Parent Group in Los Alamos. “This group helps many teens who are suicidal and/or engaging in self-harm behaviors and their families,” McCulloch said. “We treat many teens who have contemplated suicide and some who have prior attempts of suicide.”
Enriquez is a Certified Organizational Ombudsman Practitioner, mediator and Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She was in private practice prior to joining LANL in January 2009 and was an Employee Assistance Program Counselor at LANL before joining the Ombuds Office there.
Dog Sees God performs 7:30 pm Friday and Saturday through Jan. 28, with a 2 pm matinee Sunday, Jan. 22, at the Performing Arts Center, 1670 Nectar St. in Los Alamos.