Common Ground will hold its annual Ride 2 End Suicide May 18 at Stony Creek Metropark to raise money for suicide awareness, prevention, education and counseling. Visit

Common Ground will hold its annual Ride 2 End Suicide May 18 at Stony Creek Metropark to raise money for suicide awareness, prevention, education and counseling. Visit

Photo provided by Ride 2 End Suicide

Building awareness about suicide prevention locally

By: Mary Genson | Metro | Published May 7, 2024


METRO DETROIT — Nationally and locally, suicide is an issue that takes the lives of too many people of all ages.

In 2021, the CDC reported 1,485 deaths in Michigan due to suicide. Making the age-adjusted death rate, the number of deaths per 100,000 total population, 14.3.

According to, suicide deaths in 2023 have risen by 12% in Oakland County.

Mary Robertson, from Huntington Woods, lost her daughter to suicide when she was a senior at Kalamazoo College in 2022.

“It was just a complete shock to everyone, to her professors, to her roommates, to me, to her close friends. No one knew she was suffering,” Robertson said.

Robertson said it is important for people to know that it can happen to anyone. She described her daughter as a “bright, funny, accomplished, world-traveling, just full of life young woman, but she was a deeply private person and pretty extreme introvert and just didn’t share with anyone that she was suffering.”

After her daughter’s passing, Robertson went to her daughter’s college and asked that the counseling staff be more visible and go to classes to share with students who to go to if they are struggling and that there are people they could go to should they find themselves in distress.

She adds that it is important for young people to remember that “whatever you’re going through at the moment, it’s temporary.”

“You just don’t know what good things could be around the corner, and when you’re in the depths of despair, you probably don’t see it that way, but just know that whatever it is, there are people that care, there are people that will help you through it and there’s something brighter on the other side,” Robertson said.

Jewish Family Service of metro Detroit has an initiative called A Single Soul that works to prevent suicide in the community. The program was started by Rabbi Daniel Syme, who lost his brother to suicide. Through A Single Soul, Jewish Family Service does focused counseling, consultations with clinicians, trainings, outreach to connect people to resources and policy development around suicide prevention.

“​​It is a really robust offering that we have for the Jewish community, but also for the tri-county community at large,” Mayim Meyers, a suicide prevention coordinator for Jewish Family Service of Metropolitan Detroit, said.

Meyers said many people suffer from suicidal thoughts at any given time, which can manifest in a range of different ways, from passive suicidal ideation to suicide attempts.

“I think if we, as a community, embrace the fact that this is a real thing and that there are things that we can do to help to prevent it and help to support people through difficult times, then we can really make a difference,” Meyers said.

Meyers said an important aspect of suicide prevention is the community taking the time for trainings and “taking time to normalize the fact that the word suicide isn’t a four letter word.”

Normalization of suicidal thoughts and making people aware of the many resources that are available to help are a major part of suicide prevention.

“I think the presence of 988 and people’s relative comfort referring people to talk to 988, I think is really a wonderful step in the direction of suicide prevention,” Meyers said, referring to a suicide and crisis hotline that is available 24/7 and is confidential.

Jewish Family Service of Metro Detroit’s A Single Soul works with a variety of local organizations by training and helping create internal policies for their organization to make it more suicide safe.

A Single Soul’s trainings can be found at

“I find it to be a really nice resource if someone’s looking for a starting point,” Meyers said.

Jewish Family Services of Metropolitan Detroit and A Single Soul are having a fundraiser May 22 to spotlight mental health and suicide prevention, and it will feature comedian Gary Gulman.

More information on A Single Soul can be found at If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 988.

Another upcoming event which is raising money for suicide prevention is Common Ground’s Ride 2 End Suicide. This event was started by Terri and Lou Jozefiak in honor of their daughter Marie. The event will take place 8 a.m.-noon May 18 at Stony Creek Metropark. The cost is $40, and money raised goes towards mental health crisis intervention. For more information, visit