Woman posting positive messages to combat suicide

IONIA, Mich. — People have been noticing signs with positive messages on the sides of the road while driving all over Ionia.

They say things like “you matter” and “you are worthy of love.” While they are bringing a smile to people passing by, the woman behind those messages says the signs are about more than that — it’s about saving lives.

Joanna Wohlfert is the person responsible for the signs and is hoping they will spark some change.

"This is important to me to get across to everybody, to make sure that everybody understand that it's just one word. It just takes a couple of nice words to help people," she said.

Wohlfert got involved with the “Don’t Give Up Signs” campaign for her 13-year-old son, Michael Martin, who died by suicide in January.

"It was due to kids being mean bullying and I felt like I wanted people to change," she said. “… He was always smiling and laughing and I want to keep that going.”

Wohlfert is already making a positive impact.

“When I seen the signs it just made me switch my thought process completely from negative to positive," Polly Misner said.

After weeks of stressing over medical concerns, Misner said the signs were exactly what she needed.

“Everybody has something that they're dealing with and when you see something positive like this it can just take you out of that frame of mind so by watching the communities reaction to these signs from my post I just think that are more people out there that just need to be encouraged," Misner said.

The signs are also posted all over Lowell and Lansing.

More mental health resources are available online and by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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  • Evan Kearney

    Let’s use Translational Neuroscience and Psychology to solve the problem instead. I am appreciative of the warm-hearted gestures of the story’s protagonist, naturally, though. Most people just tell those of use who aren’t afraid to talk about suicidal attempts or the like as deserving of punitive action. In fact, that is, in essence what the 72 hour civil commitment amounts to – criminalizing a person’s ilness. And yes, evidence is growing, even in the Appendices of the DSM-V (which is a joke IMO), that there is a distinct cluster of behavioral predilections that warrant Suicidal Crisis Syndrome being separate but not a differential from the usual suspects of Bipolar I, MDD, Bipolar I + OUD, and OUD itself. And of course the Personality Disorders that are treated so unfairly. I feel so much sadness at how Borderline Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder are seen as “evil”. Its not. Its a poor corticostriatal functionality in the face of surgency of the mVTA::Th+/Vglut2+ neurons.

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