BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A grassroots effort for suicide prevention is now in Maryland.
On Worldwide Suicide Prevention Day, we look at how one Towson neighborhood is trying to prevent these tragedies with the “Don’t Give Up” movement.
When WJZ’s Mike Schuh first spotted these yard signs, he thought they were to help kids running in a neighborhood triathlon. But it turns out, they’re here to help them finish a much more important journey.
Front yards in the Stoneleigh neighborhood of Towson have flamingos, yard chairs, soccer goals — but recently, these yard signs started showing up.
“At first we weren’t quite sure, because there was a neighborhood triathlon,” said the Rothwells, who pass by the signs on their way to school.
But, a little encouragement might stop suicide.
Words like: “you matter” or “one day at a time” and “you are worthy of love.”
Even a 5th grader knows one by heart: “The deeds you do don’t define you.”
Not normally a sign person, Tera Smith does have one sign in her front yard. Her dad took his own life.
The “Don’t Give Up” movement was started by an Oregon mom after she saw a spike in suicides in her neighborhood. She thought maybe some words of encouragement would help deter someone from taking their own life.
But, it was Stacey Feagans who brought the idea to Stoneleigh after seeing them in a small town in Ohio.
“I saw the signs and it just all clicks and I was a basket of tears basically,” Feagans said.
She called her friend, Mary Levinson.
“And I immediately jumped on board,” Levinson said.
There are 24 signs already in yards in Stoneleigh with more are on the way.
Get this, they will buy as many of these $9 signs as neighbors ask for.
“You never know the difference you’re making and as something as simple as a yard sign, that’s something we all can do,” Feagans said.
“I’m so touched by the people who are touched by it,” Levinson said.
People like Smith, who even after ten years, mourns every day.
“How much do I wish my own father had seen that one word,” she said, pointing at a sign with “Love.”
Like messages in a bottle, you don’t know when they’ll be seen or by who or what effect they’ll have on people.
If you’d like to order a sign, go to dontgiveupsigns.com