What is the Kelvin Mikhail Suicide Awareness Campaign “KMSAC”?
In February 2008, a community was drastically changed forever. Kelvin Mikhail, an only child, died from suicide with one gun shot. This devastation not only shattered his family, it shattered an entire community. As his mother I felt compelled to do something about it. Six weeks after Kelvin’s transition, he came to me in a dream and gave me a directive to save lives. Thus the Kelvin Mikhail Suicide Awareness Campaign was born. Initially, the campaign was created from pain I suffered from his transition. I wanted to help others and I wanted to survive his transition, so the campaign gave me a way to turn Kelvin’s tragic death into something positive and to carry his illuminating light.
Although KMSAC efforts have helped to save some lives and much has evolved since 2008 with mental health and suicide awareness and prevention, it’s not enough!
The statistics for youth suicide is still alarming and still an epidemic:
- On average 100 youth die from suicide weekly
- On average one youth dies from suicide every 100 minutes
- Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for ages 10-24
- Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for college-age youth and ages 12-18
More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, COMBINED.
- The stigma of talking about mental health and suicide
- Lack of knowledge when it comes to the brain as an organ
- Lack of knowledge when it comes to risk factors
- Lack of knowledge of the warning signs
- Lack of knowledge that not everyone who dies from suicide will show the warning signs (sometimes the victims of suicide are not stereotypical and some individuals mask their pain)
What KMSAC is doing?
- Education (to help bring awareness, emphasize the risk factors, warning signs, and the brain’s susceptibility to mental pain and suicide)
- Diversified marketing material for schools, businesses, churches and communities
- Professional transition coaching for parent survivors (for more info)
- Resources to hotline numbers and organization websites who are doing major work in suicide prevention
Meet the Team
Sometimes all you need is one badass with a bull horn or microphone and a mission to save lives!
Gina M. Smallwood
Founder & Chair
Gina works diligently to foster lasting change through community mobilization, youth development and peace building. As a professional facilitator, she honed her skills at acclaimed local and national programs designed to help build communities and develop youth. Having received training from Impact Silver Spring’s Leadership Program, the Department of Justice Weed and Seed Program, the National Coalition Building Institute, Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), the White House Faith Based and Community Initiatives, Boy’s Town Common Sense Parenting, Listen Inc. Youth Development, among others. She is certified as a Mental Health First Aid Instructor through The National Council for Behavioral Health, a certified International Financial and Transitional Life Coach with The Certified Coaches Alliance, and a Registered Mediator/Neutral with the Georgia Commission on Dispute Resolution.
Gina continues to facilitate activities for families and organizations. Gina assisted in developing an effective, first-time collaboration between diverse residents representing 68 countries, law enforcement, social services, businesses and not-for-profits to restore and rebuild Long Branch community in Silver Spring, Maryland. In addition, she implemented strategies to help increase awareness of domestic violence, co-developed a job skills training program for neighborhood teens, designed a 12-week asset building program for adolescent female youth, coordinated and developed a youth speak out, developed the “Beautiful You” empowerment workshop for women, and co-facilitated a graduate course on peace building in the classroom at Millersville College in Lancaster, PA. After the death of her only child, Kelvin to suicide, she developed and chairs the Kelvin Mikhail Suicide Awareness Campaign, a suicide awareness campaign for people of color with a prevention curriculum for high-school and college age students and a Mental Health First Aid certification training for community members.
What can KMSAC do for you?