Parents Honored for their Work in Preventing Suicide
Michael Emme’s parents spent the 21st anniversary of his suicide working to prevent the kind of tragedy that happened to them from scarring another family.
It’s emotionally draining work, but Dale and Dar Emme continue to push on with their message: “It’s OK to ask 4 help.”
The Emme’s spent last Tuesday helping a rural high school community confront teen suicide and then appeared that night before the District 50 Board of Education. It was part of a busy week; last week was Yellow Ribbon Suicide Awareness and Prevention Week and Thursday was World Suicide Awareness Day.
It all started with the commitment of two grieving parents and support from a community that was deeply saddened and shocked by the death of a Westminster High School student.
“We had no idea when we lost Mike what a blessing we had in District 50,” Dar told the Board. “You were courageous.”
Courageous because in the days after Michael killed himself, the District threw its support behind the Emme’s campaign to raise awareness about suicide. It came at a time when many communities and educators were afraid to even talk about suicide out of fear that it would trigger new cases. In fact, Dar says that resistance continues to this day. “People don’t talk about it because of fear,” she told the board. “They are scared.”
Still, even though the topic makes people uncomfortable, their Yellow Ribbon Campaign has taken hold in every state in America and in countries around the world. Congress officially recognized Suicide Prevention Week in 1999, and their web site continues to inform and educate the public.
District 50 continues to provide office space for the program and is proud of its commitment to the cause. Board President Ruben Pacheco was a Westminster High School at the time Michael killed himself. “The impact you have on us is continual,” said Pacheco. “It can’t be easy to come here and share your story year after year. It takes amazing strength. We appreciate you.”
Posted September 14, 2015