You may be familiar with the concept of “pay it forward” as it has been around for many years, gaining mainstream popularity after the 2000 movie by the same name. Essentially, it is performing an act or gesture for someone else with the expectation of nothing in return. What the giver desires is for the recipient to perform a good deed for someone else, big or small.
Mental Health Recovery Services of Warren and Clinton Counties (MHRS) and the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Warren and Clinton Counties (SPC) recently acknowledged some of these good deeds which promote mental wellness in our community.
According to Patti Ahting, MHRS associate director and SPC chair, “These folks have given of their time, energy and talents to prevent future problems, to be a good friend, to expand community awareness, to offer hope, and to be a helpful neighbor. There are many, many stories we could tell about great things happening in our community, but these are a few extraordinary ones.”
Kathy and Scott Michelich are survivors. Through the unexpected and tragic loss of their daughter, Apphia, they have channeled their grief into endeavors to positively impact the community.
The Michelichs established the Apphia Memorial Fund and have provided thousands of dollars to the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Warren and Clinton Counties to carry out awareness efforts and train individuals who work with those affected by suicide. This foundation also provides funding to the national Brain & Behavior Research Foundation.
The Michelichs have donated their talents and knowledge to many other community organizations including the Family and Children First Council, the Human Rights Committee for Warren County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Community Correctional Center governance board, Head Start and Early Learning Centers, and Warren County Community Services.
The Michelichs have resided in Morrow for 25 years. Kathy is employed at Warren County’s Ohio State University Extension and Scott is employed at Afidence IT Consulting in Mason. They are members of Antioch Church at Countryside YMCA.
The REDO Group at Waynesville High School was created after the school’s first “Respect Everyone Despite Odds” (REDO) day last school year.
This group of six enthusiastic and energetic teens led by guidance counselor Cathy Joefreda-Wells saw a need for increased awareness surrounding suicide in their school and community.
For September’s Suicide Prevention Week, the group carried out a series of school-wide awareness activities. These included large banners posted in the school and at the tennis courts, signage in the halls, and awareness exercises at lunch and throughout the day. For five days, the students led activities, unveiling a new approach each day. Suicide is not an easy topic to talk about but these youth took on the challenge offering up hope, friendship, kindness and help to fellow students in need.
The Michelichs and Waynesville High School’s REDO Group were given the Power of Prevention Award by the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Warren and Clinton counties. This award began in 2011 with the purpose of recognizing individuals and organizations who have shown leadership or opened doors above and beyond their job duties.
“Suicide prevention can be a difficult topic due to stigma and fear, however it is an issue many people are faced with – whether it be through an interaction with a family member, a co-worker, a friend, or even an acquaintance. It is important for everyone to feel comfortable having a conversation with individuals expressing suicidal thoughts and directing them to help. The Michelichs and Waynesville High School’s REDO Group have brought the topic to the forefront. We would like to publicly acknowledge them and express our genuine appreciation for their leadership and dedication to the prevention cause,” Ahting said.
To learn more about Mental Health Recovery Services, the Suicide Prevention Coalition and local resources, visit www.mhrsonline.org. For 24-hour assistance, call the Toll-Free Crisis Hotline for Warren & Clinton Counties at 1-877-695-6333 OR 1-877-695-NEED.
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