United States families have to deal with one of the most heartbreaking and devastating tragedies of all – teenage suicide. The Junior League of South Bend, Inc. provides resources to support Community Resource Center’s Hotlines that work with teenage suicide prevention through the Yellow Ribbon Campaign. They have also provided backing for the making of a teenage suicide prevention video that will be used to train people in suicide prevention throughout the nation.
The Yellow Ribbon Campaign is an international program founded to prevent teenage suicide. Dale and Dar Emme of Colorado began this program in 1994 after their 16-year-old son, Mike, committed suicide in his vehicle. They wanted to help other families who might have to deal with this tragedy, or more importantly, help other families so they can prevent the tragedy. Each October, the Emmes go to South Bend to give presentations to area high school students and other organizations to promote the distribution of the Yellow Ribbon cards and to emphasize the importance of letting suicidal individuals know that there are other alternatives when facing difficult situations.
In 2000, the Junior League donated $20,000 for the Community Resource Center’s participation in the Yellow Ribbon Campaign. The campaign includes talking to a crisis hotline counselor, teacher, or other trusted adult. Also Yellow Ribbon cards are distributed with the message “Stay, Listen, Get Help.” Some suicidal teenagers have said these steps have helped them deal with the silent pain within. During the beginning of 2001, Community Resource Center’s Yellow Ribbon Program was designated one of the seven best programs throughout the United States and 47 countries by the Light for Life Foundation.
Junior League members have initiated kickoffs of local Yellow Ribbon Campaigns and have even had their teenage sons and daughters distribute Yellow Ribbon cards at local shopping malls. The League’s most recent and most generous contribution to date has been providing $100,000 worth of backing for two versions of a suicide video that will be used in suicide prevention training all over the United States as well as internationally. The video featured Dr. John McIntosh, Professor of Psychology at Indiana University’s South Bend campus who is a nationally recognized expert and widely published author on suicide. He exposes some important and potentially dangerous myths about suicide, and provides practical information about what to do and not to do when confronted with a potentially suicidal individual, especially a youth.
The video premiered at the First Annual International Conference of the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program, held at Westminster, Colorado on August 10 – 12, 2001. It is now available from the Light for Life Foundation for distribution to suicide prevention training all over the world. The Junior League of South Bend can be credited with the production and distribution of this video. The League has saved many lives internationally from being taken in such a tragic way and will continue with their mission.