As September marks the month for Suicide Awareness, it also marks nine years of the Kelvin Mikhail Suicide Awareness Campaign “KMSAC”. As a survivor, I did not realize the magnitude of the devastation my son’s tragic transition would have on my life. It has been a rough road ever since I received that dreadful call. I thought life would lean into giving me some concessions of a kinder, more gentle world. That changed after I begin to realize it’s life with all it’s ebbs and flows, sometimes challengingly painful and sometimes sweet as honey. This also describes KMSAC.
Originally when it was started, I was in so much pain, the pain resonated with everyone whom I shared our story. So much so, I’m sure some people saw me as radical or crazy. I admit, I was both! Crazy about sparing another life and radical about saving another family and community from experiencing the devastation of the pain of suicide. Even in that pain, KMSAC has contributed to saving lives. Additionally on the campaign trail, it has listened to the many people along the way (from students, educators, doctors, survivors, workshop participants, and the media) learning how to better address the stigma involved with suicide.
It is said that for every person who dies from suicide, at least 11 people are impacted. For Kelvin I’m sure it’s thousands as he had an entire village of family, extended family, friends, community members, mentees, and associates. In his 19 years and 50 weeks of physical life, he touched lives with an immeasurable magnitude.
That light is the same light I carry with KMSAC. It is my pledge to continue to do more to eradicate youth suicide ! By more, I mean:
- Continuing to tell Kelvin’s story
- Developing better partnerships
- Generating more platforms to facilitate the KMSAC workshop
- Creating additional educational material for different audiences
- Continuing to disseminate powerful information
- Continuing to empower other survivors
Until suicide is no longer the 2nd, 3rd and 4th leading cause of death for youth this is and shall be my pledge. If you or someone you know is showing warning signs for suicide, please get help immediately by calling 911 or calling the suicide lifeline number at 1-800-273-8255 (Talk).
Chair and Founder of KMSAC