Monday, October 26, 2015

SLEEP WHO CARES

Sleep is part of normal life and grieving people often find that sleep allows them to escape there nightmare reality. Most of the time I don't sleep enough to have a dream let alone on that isn’t attacking every ounce of my soul...however last night I had a dream last night where she came to me but I cannot remember what was said or done. All I remember is that my brother Tony was in the dream and she was talking to us. God I wish I could remember what she said. It was like she was telling me something important.  I am not sure what was said and it’s bugging me. I wish I could remember. I am sure it was just me wishing for her to come to me but I would take it at this point. I know that I only slept for a few hours and that once I woke up from the dream I instantly remembered that she was in my dream. I woke up feeling lost...searching for what I was dreaming about...most nights are filled with endless tossing and turning...there isn't a night these days that isn’t filled with regrets and prayers asking to wake up from this nightmare but every day...I wake up to the same nightmare that was the day before. It never fails...no one comes equipped to handle a loss such as this. I am certain that I would have bet my life that this would not be my reality. The reality is that it is and it will never change. I don't get to close my eyes and try to undo what was done the next day...there are no I'm sorry's to be said or let me help you with this to be done...The only that I have left is to try to make a difference in the world that she left behind. I struggle with that even. I used to dream of the future and what it would look like and now I can only handle the day to day moments. Each morning I have to force myself to get out of bed and face the horror. Each morning I have to make a choice to breathe and to live. Someone told me that 'She wouldn't want you to live like this or think like that." Well I agree that she didn't take this action to hurt me but the reality is that it did. Her actions tore my world upside down. I don't know how to live without her. It’s a matter of fact. I belong to groups of people who are like me and share in this horrific reality and there are some who still struggle after 25 years. It never goes away...never...Its a life sentence of pain, sadness, and levels of grief that no one comes equipped to handle. I have moments where thoughts enter my mind that are sad...I often wonder how long I will live with the heart break inside...I wonder if I became sick would I have the fight to go on...I wonder what tomorrow holds for me as I cannot see past today...sometimes I am afraid of the future because she is not in mine anymore. I struggle every day with thoughts. They say the 2nd year is worse than the first year and I can’t even imagine it being any worse than it is right now.  Every day I pray for the strength to endure, the courage to overcome and the heart to forgive myself. Every day I pray that I have the courage to go on and I pray that I have the strength to reach another life. Every day I pray that I find the heart of someone who is hurting and my words and her story talks them back to us. I search for ways to reach others and the words to actually do some good. Firecracker Allie doesn't always make friends. My strong personality can be well strong. My loss is great and my heart is broken...pieces of my former self are all that is left...yet I fight...fight to breathe fight to hold steady...fight to educate those who are not aware. Do not fear what you do not understand...If you find out that someone is suicidal...what would you do? What would you say? Do you know what to say? Are you afraid to ask those hard questions? I just want to get the word out...I am still really numb most days but slowly realizing that she is never coming home...It takes an intense amount of courage to keep going and it takes an intense amount of courage to face each day standing up against mental illness. I feel as though I have been robbed of moments and memories that were rightfully mine to see and enjoy. I feel as though I have to make sure that every life lost to suicide is heard and matters. Thank you for sharing and reading about my journey. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

UPDATE ON SHIRT Orders-We have some extras if you want to still get one-sizes vary



I will have the shirts/bands ready to pick up this Saturday(Tomorrow) at The Sports Cave in Overland Park. Address is 11440 W. 135th Street Overland Park, KS 66221 from 12-5pm only. Please try to make this work for you. Come see me and say hi. Grab a bite to eat or drink if you want. With 200 orders, I cannot drive all over town trying to deliver them so I really hope that this works for everyone. If you paid for shipping, those will be mailed on Monday. If you have not paid for your shirts yet, please send a payment via check now, use paypal or pay upon pick up. There is about 35 people on the list that I do not have as paid but placed the shirt order on good faith. I will sent a personal message to remind everyone on FB. 

Shipping can still be requested however you will need to pay for shipping beforehand. Great News is that we do have a few extras, that we purchased in case someone forgot to get one or wanted to buy an extra one. We have tons of bands left over to purchase. We are very excited for everyone to see the finished product and how special it was to make it.

Many many hours of tears went into making this shirt special in her honor. We used Sara’s original drawings and favorite colors as best we could. Thank you again for all your support through this very tough time in their lives.


About the company that made the shirts possible-

GO Exchange wholly-owned by Global Orphan Project, a Kansas City based non-profit dedicated to orphan care and orphan prevention through job creation. We are trying to change the way apparel is being produced. Our production starts in Haiti where we pay our workers living wages to help them provide for themselves and there families. Giving them the best working conditions is also important to GO Exchange so we provide them with top of the line facilities.

    GO Exchange is creating living wage jobs to lift the lives of workers, and producing exceptional quality apparel at a great price.  We offer stock custom printed T-shirts, and produce private label goods for our clients. 

    We are finding that there are a lot of customers that really care how their garments are made and we offer these customer a great product.  We know that when price and quality are the same or better, most customers definitely prefer ethically made product.


We offer 17 colors of 100% 34 ring spun combed and compacted shirts that would be perfect for this project. People supporting the cause will be excited about wearing the shirt because of the cause, graphic, and how the shirt feels.

Sara would love that this is helping others and love that it made a difference in the world!!! Just like she did all of ours.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Who is a grieving mother?

Who Is A Grieving Mother?

Does she look different from one who is not?
Is her pain visible in the smile she sometimes forces…
behind the eyes on the verge of tears?
Can you see the aging her body feels from the trauma of loss?
She’s one who still pictures herself from before the loss
and is sometimes caught off guard at the reflection looking back from the mirror.
Who is a grieving mother?
She’s one who ignores a baby shower or birthday invitation one day, because the pain is still too raw.
And the next, celebrates the small milestones, for she knows how precious they are.
She’s one who boxes up a lifetime of mementos in an afternoon to spare her husband the pain.
Yet years later still can’t dredge up the courage to go through them again.
Who is a grieving mother?
She’s one who holds it together in the big things and falls apart over spilled milk.
Who loves deeply those closest to her, but keeps her heart guarded for protection from others.
She’s one who grimaces at the first laughs after loss, but later laughs louder than most.
Who finds joy in the simple things and relishes every day moments.
Who is a grieving mother?
She’s one held hostage by dates on the calendar and unexpected triggers.
And one who will always pause for sunsets, butterflies, and sweet signs from above.
She’s one who lets go of friends unable to support her.
And one who treasures those who didn’t walk away.
Who is a grieving mother?
She’s one who can experience an array of emotions on any given day.
And one who wishes tears would come when numbness covers her.
She’s one who screams at God one moment and clings to him the next.
Who didn’t expect her faith to grow so much from the most important unanswered prayer she ever spoke.
Who is a grieving mother?
She is one as complicated as the grief she carries.
“Do not judge the Grieving Mother.  She comes in many forms. She is breathing, but she is dying. She may look young, but inside she has become ancient. She smiles, but her heart sobs. She walks, she talks, she cooks, she cleans, she works, she IS but she IS NOT, all at once.   She is here, but part of her is elsewhere for eternity.”
~ Author Unknown
This is a perfect was to explain how I feel...I couldn't say it better myself. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Suicide Shatters

It's over a week since I’ve really gotten into blogging and I have definitely missed it. I've been very busy and occupied with organizing and verifying T-shirt orders to honor Sara's memory and having up and downs of emotions. The waves of grief have been so out of my control. I am not used to out of control and I am there every day over and over. Swirling around in this place they call life. Last week I struggled to have a shirt that speaks to others, to have a shirt that brings awareness and raise money to make a difference in her honor. All the things in my life I've never wanted to do…I've never been so passionate about joining a cause… I've never been so passionate about making sure that Sara's story is heard.. I've never been so passionate about making a difference for two angels...Sara and Jason. I have been kind of join me or I will leave you behind kind of mood. Either you are in this fight with me or don't get in my way.   I am told that I am strong and that I help others but I faced demons every day. Nothing makes me different, I don't feel strong some days.  I make the choice to remind people that though I'm facing my darkest hour every minute of every day, I make the choice to hold on to hope and a hold steady. I make the choice to live. There are some who wish that I would just go away and stop standing up because it hard to talk about and its hard to see the pain.  When I first heard that I would not only face the loss of Sara but I would loss friends and family in this battle, I was shocked and thought not me. Not my family and friends. But I have lost friends/family in the short time since her death but gained a few family members admits this tragedy. I have learned it’s those who stand with you in the fire, not those who run from it that mean a lot to me. It’s the worst thing I have ever experienced. Someone told  me to sit around the house and just be sad…as you know everyone grieves in their own way and I cannot sit idle back. I will allow myself moments when I need to but I will not be silence to save them from feeling uncomfortable. I have fought my life for everything that I have. I have fought and protected it. I try to explain grief to people who have never lost somebody and they can’t understand and I don’t want them to.  Losing your child grief is a wicked bitch who takes everything from you when you have nothing left to give. If you ever seen the movie twilight where they for Bella becomes a vampire she has certain senses and after she becomes a vampire those senses are highlighted and amplified. That is how I can explain grief to somebody…take everything that I did prior and amplify it by hundred thousand million percent. Everything about me is different and more complex. My anxiety is off the charts, my anger is out of this world, my heart feels like its constantly open and breaking, and know that I am giving everything I can to be present every day. I had anxiety before but it's nothing like it is now. I was afraid of certain things before and now those things cripple me. Load noises send me into a panic situation. I used to be able to remember every moment of every day and everything somebody said and now I struggle to remember her voice….I struggle to remember her touch…I struggle to remember her. Every day is a constant battle of wanting to remember her or a moment or a memory and trying to make sure that her legacy is heard. I need to see that her life matters. Dealing with grief I have found that I like to read.  I read something the other day were somebody was having a hard time with the loss of a loved one and they kept telling the story over and over and over again and somebody asked the person but how did they live? How did their life impact those around them? And it's those questions that I hold onto when it feels like I'm the only one fighting and I'm the only one hurting which I know isn't true but grief makes you feel all alone in the world. You need a constant reminder that you are being thought of and that people are praying for you and that people care because losing a child or anyone you love to suicide feels like the ultimate rejection and betrayal. You start to worry that you will lose someone else you love. Anytime someone reaches out is somebody reaching out to you and say that they've got your back there holding you up if you need them. Sometimes you reply and sometimes you don't have the energy because you've spent the day battling and trying to get to the next moment. Grief is like being in a concentration camp it's a constant relentless horrific tragic and all-around the worst thing you could ever imagine to go through your head over and over and over again. It's the worst torture one human could go through and add to guilt to that already mix of emotions and that is a perfect combination for the fight of your life. While you fight every day you struggle sharing your nightmare and making that difference in a way that is received the proper way. But seriously if one more person says “oh that would not be my child” I may start wearing a big sign and ur an idiot and an ass, if you think of this can’t happen to you. That statement indicates to me that you think I deserved this in anyway shape or form. (Grief bitch that makes things sound horrible to the person hearing them FYI) Sara came from a good home, a loving home, nobody deserves this!!!! She deserves a life, she deserves to be protected, she deserves so much more... when you look at me in the face and you say those words, I want you to think really hard about those words because if you think you're exempt I sure hope and pray that you are right OR  you could have a conversation about it with someone just in case you can be the voice of reason to save someone...Adults and kids struggle. I struggle every day.  As Americans if we don’t talk about it openly, we are failing at bringing awareness and encouraging people to hide behind what’s ailing them. Just because we can't see it doesn't mean it isn't real. How would you like if someone challenged your beliefs in God or supernatural or whatever you believe in? Think about it…challenging somebody with a mental illness and telling them that it doesn't exist when you don't know.  You don't walk a mile in their shoes every day, and I don’t want anyone else to walk in these shoes of mine. I do walk miles and miles in my shoes every day. I didn’t know what it felt like to live with them until now. I do know what it is like to fight for every breath that I take, to feel helpless, to keep fighting, to keep pushing those people who try to hold me down.  If you learn anything from me it’s that we should talk about mental health and mental illness. You should continue to have those conversations until they are no longer feeling awkward or taboo. Also, please be kind to those around you. You never know what they are facing. So again and again, I ask you to speak up and talk to your kids, talk to people who are around you....you never know if your words can save one person! Suicide shattered our world...

Friday, October 16, 2015

Forever in the dark fighting to see the light

This week has been filled with such panic and stress I am not even sure how to put it into words but I will try. I have struggled more this week than in other weeks. Every breathe is a huge effort to keep going to keep present to keep going to keep fighting to feel. Everything sets me into an emotional overflow and panic attack. They talk about grief hitting you in different waves, this week I have been hit with wave after wave. I feel like I am drowning over and over. Every day I push to get to the next minute without having a melt down. Some times I don't know how to reach out for me. I speak for Sara but I find myself struggling with being my own voice.  I haven’t been blogging this week because I have been overwhelmed with life in general. On top of trying to learn a new job, grieving, being a wife, being a bonus mom, a friend, a sister, a daughter, the normal day to day things on top of  shirts/band orders and the memorial events. It’s been just too much for me to hold everything together. It's my own fault for doing what I do and take on too much. I always have been the person who never says its too much or enough is enough. I am not used to failing unless I decided OPT B wasn't failing, it was just picking a different outcome. This situation that I am in, I have no option to pick something else for her so I am often incapable of seeing other options of letting people help. It takes a lot for me to trust someone to help me these days to handle it the way I want; to no fault of theirs. Those are my insecurities. I have so many since she left. The fear of being abandoned by someone else I love. There is nothing that I can do to impact her choice. This time it’s final. Since she left me to fight the world alone and without her voice, I have to be her voice and my voice. I have to keep fighting to make a change in the world. So everything that is done in Sara's honor, I want it to be done in a way that she would want and no one knows better than me her mom. What I want is her here with me, though that will never happen but I will never stop wanting her here on Earth with me. No matter what good or difference I do in the world, she will never be here to see it and that was a hard thing to take in this week. I am used to fighting for others. I am used to this nightmare being someone else’s.  While I may save the lives of others and I may save others from knowing this depth of hell, let’s be real...I didn't save my daughter and I couldn't save me from being collateral damage but I WASN’T GIVEN THE CHANCE!


 As the days go on and the lives go on around me, I am thankful that what I am doing is making a difference but at the cost of something that I was not willing to give up. It cripples every ounce of who I am to know that no matter what good I do in the world won’t change all the horrifying things I have seen or the ultimate loss I have suffered. I have always been told that its my heart that attracted people to me, my giving nature to fix people and things, my rock I’ve got your back personality, my strength that I help people find, and those “parts” of who I was is trying to hold on for dear life but it feels like I will spend forever in the dark fighting to see the light. Blogging helps me to tell others about my nightmares and it helps them know that they need to talk about these things. I cannot tell you how many times I get told "Oh that would never be my child" First those words would have probably been my words too, if I wasn't where I am today and second I think, you’re an ASS for putting my beautiful smart happy adorable little girl into some category like her life and the lives of every child is something that you are exempt from. So I try to be understanding where you are coming from before I start the overreaction of my mouth.  But please do not be na├»ve to the realistic possibility that this could be your life. I would not wish this life on my worst enemy. Sara did not show me that she was struggling to the point of taking her life. She was terrified of pain. She was afraid of everything. She wouldn’t even kill a bug. Once she stood in her room for 2 hours until I came home to kill the spider. She wouldn’t move because she was afraid to lose sight of it, once I walked in the room she ran off screaming.  The day she ended her life, she felt that she had no other way out. She was struggling inside the one place I couldn’t see. I would have done anything to help her. I would have stopped breathing just to save her. I would do anything to change that day. So again I urge people to talk and ask those questions. Know the signs and symptoms and reach out when needed. Educate your children to know those signs and to speak up. If their friends are having those conversations, then they need to be reaching out to an adult…any conversation should be taken seriously. Your children regardless of if you decide to have the conversation will hear it some from someone. Hell suicide is in over 1600 movies. I would give anything to be able to ask Sara if she was suicidal or if she wanted to die...at least give me the chance to save her. I was not given the chance. She didn't share that part of her with me and she shared everything boys, girls, friends, homework stress, she shared. What I have learned is that she struggled with her depression and anxiety for years unknown to her family and friends. What I learned it that sharing her story will save others and sharing my story will help others to break the silence. Speak up and talk to people. Be kind to those around you. You never know what people are facing from day. I will spend forever in the dark fighting to see the light but I will continue to fight. 

SPEAK on behalf of all the children who have lost the battle they fought in their heads. If we stand together, we will be unbroken. We can not fight in silence anymore, we must stand together and speak up!!! I want to help bring awareness to give people a fighting chance. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Principal proud to be in first school teaching SafeTALK

Mercy College principal Jim Ford is in the process of getting the suicide prevention program SafeTALK into the school. Photo: Emily Smith / The Daily Mercury.
Mercy College principal Jim Ford is in the process of getting the suicide prevention program SafeTALK into the school. Photo: Emily Smith / The Daily Mercury.

In honor of Sara "Bob" Prideaux

Read to the bottom save the best for last!  We are happy to announce that we have done two things in Sara's honor so far. Cinderella the Gentou Penguin at the KC Zoo was adopted in her honor by a family friend.  She has yellow bands with light pink beads on her arms. She is a cold water penguin and hangs out on the left side of the tank when you walk in. They do penguin talks at 1 and 3pm I think. She is from Disney and of course named after a princess.  Also, we have purchased a Penguin Plaque in her honor. It’s a King Penguin! It’s already in in place on the Penguin Pal Kiosk when you exit the back of the penguin exhibit. Please check it out when you are at the zoo next.
We will be using the rest of the donations in Sara’s honor to raise awareness for suicide. The Tennessee aquarium that Sara visited every year since she was like 5 has agreed to go above and beyond for us. They want Sara’s story to be heard.  Sara planned on going to college in TN with her Aunt and Uncle so we feel as though this is a great place to honor her as well. A portion of the money being raised will go towards a bench in her honor inside with the penguins in TN as the KC Zoo doesn’t offer this. I really think she would love that!!! The other portion of the money raised will be used to bring suicide awareness and her silence to teenagers. The aquarium each year is willing to allow us to sponsors an event in her honor while also making it educational. This would be something Sara would be proud of. She loved helping others and so will we.

We have a goal of $4,500 to make this dream a reality and I know that we can get there. We have some really great ideas for raising awareness in her honor and collecting donations to make this dream come true for her family. It will be my mission in life to educate others and remove the stigma surrounding mental illness. We have a raffle coming up on this Saturday at Title Boxing in Belton. Show up and show support from 9am-it ends I think 11 or 12pm!! We would love to see you. Get out of bed and make a difference. We also will be selling wristbands in honor of Sara and all proceeds will go towards awareness in her honor. If you can’t be there and still want to help out, I have included below where you can mail donations. 

Donations can be mailed to:
Celebrate Sara -Sara Prideaux
In Care of Allie Doss
17205 S Prospect Ave Belton, MO 64012
(Checks can be made out to Either of Sara's parents: James Prideaux or Allie Doss)
Or made at: Any U.S. Bank location
Account number is 145573273615 for Sara Prideaux

The best!!!! The link below is a LIVE PENGUIN cam so we can watch her all day if we wanted. She is always on the left but in this view its the right side of the camera view where the white ice is. I circled it below.


http://www.kansascityzoo.org/penguincam

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Changing the world-Changing our words

Friends and family, strangers who want to make a difference...
How else are we going to change the world...By talking about suicide...
We are selling shirts for suicide awareness. The funds raised/donated will be used for in honor of Sara to raise awareness and break the silence. We are trying to break the stigma that surrounds mental illness.

Shirts are $20 adult small to adult 3X

Please select the link below if you want one and the size you would like along with your email address so we can send you an invoice.

https://www.facebook.com/events/769106436532758/772521669524568/

We are asking that people prepay for the shirts. If you live out of town, we can mail them to you for an additional cost.

We will also have a paypal account set up for you to make a payment for your convenience. All we need is your email address for the link to pay and we will send you an invoice.

You can also make a donation as well this way. Paypal does not take any funds donated like Gofundme does and paypal a secure site. That takes NONE of the donations.

Shirts do need to be paid for in advance by check or paypal.

We started out with needing 4500$ to make our dream come true for Sara. After the Title boxing event, we raised $1000. We are only $3500 from our dreams for her memory to come true.

If you don't want to do a shirt, we also have wristbands available for a donation as well.

LAST DAY TO PLACE ORDER AND PAY IS OCT 5th. Then we will have the shirts ordered and mailed out or delivered.

Any donations can be made through the link below or you can purchase a shirt or band as well. Just copy and paste below.
paypal.me/alliedoss


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Lets March


So its clear that we need something to change in all schools.  I learned of another life lost to suicide at SM South in 2012, yet nothing changed. Please read this story below. This mother has the same idea as Karen Arkin and I do about making changes in schools and breaking the stigma around mental illness..any lose of life is not ok...We must make a change in the schools. Read this article maybe it will give you some ideas that you can share with me....or maybe we can find 30 students and parents to march with me to make a change in the schools. March of the Penguins!!!




http://www.foxsports.com/other/story/university-of-pennsylvania-track-tim-hamlett-suicide-prevention-month-092315

In January 2014, the middle of Hamlett's sophomore year, teammate Madison Holleran died by suicide. A dark cloud hung over Penn's track program. Hamlett and his friends ran a race in her honor.
In retrospect, the Hamletts feel there were gaps in communication between the university and parents regarding mental health in the wake of Holleran's death. They say neither the track team nor the athletic department broke the news to parents of the team. Ron Ozio, Penn's director of media relations, said in a statement the university followed protocol.
"When a student dies, administrators work to coordinate an official university response," the statement said. "Great care is taken to identify and notify friends and other members of the campus community who may be impacted by the student's passing."
On campus, there was no lack of awareness about Holleran's death. It was inescapable for Hamlett and the rest of the track team. Hamlett's photo was even used as the cover image for a campus newspaper article about Holleran's suicide. Shortly thereafter, ESPN, People, Huffington Post, and other national media flocked to the story. 
The Hamlett family, though, says it didn't get any notice about Holleran, or any resources to educate in suicide prevention. "At the time, Tim was one of the students who was still alive," Katherine says. She feels there could have been a way to save her son with more information.
The effect Holleran's death had on Hamlett is inconclusive, but as the team mourned, his mental health deteriorated. 
His teammates suspected something was wrong. 
"A big moment for me was when I caught him on the bridge on campus," said Webster. "I said I hadn't seen him for a while, and he kind of responded, 'Yeah, I'll catch you later,' and that just wasn't Tim. He was always like, 'Let's go to dinner. Let's play Madden right now.' He would drop everything and say, 'Let's go.'"
HE WAS LOOPING. HE WOULD SAY THE SAME THINGS TO ME OVER AGAIN.
Archibald Hamlett, Tim's father
Hamlett's parents, meanwhile, were not immediately aware of the change in their son, but were tipped off at the end of his sophomore year. As they moved Hamlett out of his dorm room, his teammates hinted that Tim had been gone from his normal activities. He and his wife hoped it would be a phase. They trusted the coaches around their son were taking good care of him.
In September 2014, shortly after Hamlett returned to Penn for his junior year, his parents say his roommate raised serious concerns over his behavior. It was then the Hamlett family also learned their son had been removed from the track team because he was missing practices and was no longer in competitive shape.
That day, the Hamlett family made arrangements to pull their son out of school and take a leave of absence. While his parents carefully evaluated their medical options, Hamlett took a turn for the worse. They observed an alarming change in their son's personality.
"He was looping," Archibald Hamlett remembers. "He would say the same things to me over again. I would walk past his room and he would be listening to a song, and then I'd come back 10 minutes later and I'd ask him, 'Are you still listening to the same song?'"
Over the ensuing months before his disappearance, Tim spent most of his time locked in his room. He avoided talking to his parents even when conversation naturally presented itself. He became isolated from the outside world.
Then, suddenly, on the day after Christmas, Tim Hamlett left home and never returned.

Tim Hamlett in full stride for Penn.
* * * * * 
Upon hearing about Hamlett's death, Penn officials called his parents with an offer to hold a candlelight vigil for their son on campus. Though the Hamlett family appreciated the gesture, by then they had shifted their focus from bereavement to action.
Thus, the Hamlett family has worked with undergraduates to champion the Hamlett-Reed Initiative -- a sweeping proposal of university policy changes named after Tim Hamlett and Theodric Reed, another Penn student who died by suicide in August 2014. The proposal was hand-delivered to Penn President Dr. Amy Gutmann by a march of 30 students on Sept. 10.
"Penn is a great institution, but it needs to focus on the loss of life," Katherine says. "We want to make sure this never happens to another family again."
The document calls for sharper focus on high-risk groups like student-athletes, increased access to counselors, greater anonymity, proactive outreach to students, input from third-party experts, as well an all-inclusive mental health orientation for students and parents. The ambitious initiative also stipulates aggressive deadlines as soon as Oct. 1.
PENN IS A GREAT INSTITUTION, BUT IT NEEDS TO FOCUS ON THE LOSS OF LIFE. WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THIS NEVER HAPPENS TO ANOTHER FAMILY AGAIN.
Katherine Hamlett
"We don't want to nibble. We want to bite," Katherine says.
The university has responded quickly. On Sept. 18, Penn administrators met with student leaders to negotiate the terms of the Hamlett-Reed Initiative. While the policymakers did not commit to the initiative as a whole, they agreed to follow up in the coming months.
Dr. Rostain agrees with the spirit of efforts like the Hamlett-Reed Initiative while also tempering expectations. "Seven out of 100,000 will kill themselves among college students," he says. "That's a sad statistic. Penn, because of the size of its community, it's predictable this will happen. To try to suggest otherwise is to foster a myth."
Dr. Rostain's views reflect the pragmatic realities facing mental health professionals. He believes the goal of suicide prevention efforts should be to understand risk factors instead of playing a zero sum game.
Penn has tried to address the issue in its own ways. The school announced a partnership with the Jed Clinton Health Matters program and formed the Task Force on Student Psychological Health and Welfare, appointing Dr. Rostain as co-chair. The task force's eight-page report made little to no mention of student-athletes as an at-risk group. 
"We didn't identify it as a specific need," Dr. Rostain says.
Time will tell if either the Hamlett-Reed Initiative or Penn's institutional efforts will improve the situation on campus, but Dr. Rostain cautions that combatting the issue can be difficult.
"It's very hard to know sometimes," he says. "People don't want others to know how close to killing themselves they are, so that's the part of the human dimension policies or institutions can't really do anything about."
The Hamletts echo the difficulty in recognizing the warning signs. 
"We never thought it would have happened to us," Katherine says. "My son was my oxygen, who elevated me to a whole other dimension of what it means to be alive. 
"He's still my oxygen, but these days it's harder to breathe."