‘Marquette Towards Zero Suicide Initiative’ seeks to help families with mental health issues

The group’s goal is to reduce suicidal ideations and tendencies in youth that are at high risk.
Zero Suicide
Zero Suicide(WLUC)
Published: May. 3, 2022 at 6:36 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Mental health and suicide can be difficult to talk about, but doing so could save the life of someone affected.

“Our family lost our son to suicide in February of 2018,” Marquette Towards Zero Suicide Initiative Co-Founder Carolyn St. Cyr said of her son Jimmy.

St. Cyr says her son Jimmy was once filled with hope. “But he had football concussions and other sports concussions that led to a depression,” she added.

This led to his untimely death by suicide. St. Cyr helped found the Marquette Towards Zero Suicide Initiative in 2019, hoping other families do not suffer a similar loss. “We brought Dr. Ahmedani from the Henry Ford Health System to Marquette two times,” St. Cyr said. “That’s where we found the successful Henry Ford Health System Zero Suicide Program.”

The zero suicide initiative is modeled after Dr. Ahmedani’s program. It has four pillars. “The PHQ-9 Depression Questionnaire, the safety plan, looking at cognitive-behavioral training and therapy and always making sure that you share this information with all your doctors,” St. Cyr said of the program’s foundations.

Designed to help families catch suicidal ideations in their kids early and stop them from getting worse. St. Cyr said while she and her family talked with Jimmy often about his depression, she did not have these tools at her disposal at the time.

“We were very close to Jimmy as a family and we all talked about it,” St. Cyr said. She continued, “We didn’t have these tools so when he felt off we could not go back to the questionnaire, the safety plan and the cognitive behavioral therapy.”

Nina van den Ende is another co-founder of the initiative. She plans to meet with grieving parents Thursday, May 5.

Van den Ende adds she has talked with 25 parents, all moms, who plan on joining her. Encouraging others interested to reach out on the Marquette Towards Zero Suicide Initiative Facebook page which can be found by clicking here.

“We don’t turn really any parent away,” van den Ende said. “We don’t have any dads in our group and it would be nice to have some dads in our group.”

Van den Ende’s goal is to help families and kids struggling with mental health issues, letting them know they are not alone. “We know we’re not going to save the world with this, van den Ende said. She continued, “We know we can’t maybe ever be zero, but if I can help a parent or a family member to save even one life in our community it’s well worth it to me.”

Van den Ende says the initiative’s four pillars could help reduce suicide rates by up to 80% for participants with high suicide risk.

Click here for a list of suicide awareness and prevention resources.

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