Royal Oak SAFE (Suicide Awareness is For Everyone) is hosting an "Evening of Empowerment," on Wednesday, Sept. 25 from 6-8:30 p.m. at Royal Oak Middle School, 709 N. Washington Ave., to encourage community dialogue on the topic of suicide, which the American Foundation reports is the tenth leading cause of death for all ages in the U.S.
Making suicide prevention a citywide priorityJulie Farhat, who lost her mother Gail Boledovich to suicide in 2005 after a painful battle with schizophrenia, is a member of the Royal Oak SAFE task force.
"At the time it seemed like no one was talking about suicide, so my siblings and I formed Mind Over Matter (lovingly referred to as MOM) to honor our mother and help save lives," Farhat told commissioners Monday.
Each spring MOM puts on a MOM 5K run/walk in Royal Oak to promote mental health awareness and suicide prevention. This year the race raised $30,000 for its charities—Common Ground, Know Resolve, and the University of Michigan Depression Center.
Farhat thanked the Royal Oak City Commission Monday for its support of the the MOM Race and for making suicide prevention a citywide priority.
Royal Oak Schools partners with task forceOn Thursday, the SAFE task force made a presentation to the Royal Oak Board of Education.
The school district is partnering with Royal Oak SAFE and hosting the evening of learning and empowerment in one of its buildings.
"At Royal Oak's schools, the health and wellness of our students and community are important to us," said Superintendent Shawn Lewis-Lakin. "Suicide is a very real issue, one about which we all should be knowledgeable."
Panelists include survivors, mental health professionals and representatives from the Royal Oak SAFE Task Force including Common Ground, Haven, Beaumont Health System, Mind Over Matter, Royal Oak Schools and the City of Royal Oak.
If you go
- When: Wednesday, Sept. 25
- Where: Royal Oak Middle School Auditorium, 709 N. Washington Ave.
- Doors Open: 6:00 p.m.
- Program: 6:30-8:30 p.m.