White Bear Lake student Mira Stearns decided to spend her summer on a community project to raise awareness about suicide prevention.
Stearns plans to pass out yard signs in White Bear Lake, Mahtomedi, Vadnais Heights and Hugo for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. She is hoping to raise $2,250 to purchase 750 signs and is organizing a bake sale at her church, St. Stephen Lutheran Church in White Bear Lake, to raise money.
“I really wanted to do a service project this summer,” said Stearns, who is a junior and will be attending Century College as a post-secondary enrollment option (PSEO) student this fall. “I really enjoy helping people.”
Mental health is a passion of hers. “I have known a lot of people who have suffered form depression or thoughts of suicide,” she said.
Although she hasn't personally experienced the struggle or grief of suicide, she has had friends who had family members take their own lives. “It is extremely heartbreaking to me,” she said. “It wrenches my heart to think that people can't get help or feel like they can't get help.”
In Minnesota, there were 13.8 suicides per 100,000 people in 2018, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Journal of the American Medical Association, recently analyzed by SeniorLiving. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.
Stearns thought signs around town in business lawns and resident yards would be an encouragement to those struggling that they are not alone. The
signs will have slogans on them like “You matter” or “You are loved,” Stearns noted.
You can sign up to place a sign in your yard at firstname.lastname@example.org or donate at a Gofundme page titled “Yard Signs For Suicide Awareness and Prevention.” If extra funds are raised, they will be given to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention-Greater Minnesota Chapter.
The signs are expected to be placed around the area in early August.