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Posted: 05/01/13

Suicide Prevention workshop organizers, in back from left, Macomb Family Services Prevention Specialist Joseph Thayer, director of, Dennis Liegghio; Northwest Macomb Prevention Coalition member Dawn Anderson and Natalie Davis from the Romeo Engineering and Technology Center. In front is MFS Prevention Director Jynil Schneider.

(Observer photo by Marianne Weiss) offers hope
in preventing suicide

Observer Special Writer
      Suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people ages 10-24 which is why the Northwest Macomb Prevention Coalition (NWMPC) and Macomb Family Services (MFS) offer a variety of resources so this serious problem can be deterred.
       The NWMPC held a free workshop last Wednesday evening at the Romeo Engineering and Technology Center (RETC) with a non-profit organization called
       Many misconceptions about suicide were addressed as well as warning signs. Dennis Liegghio started after his father tragically committed suicide. He spoke about how he learned to cope with his family's loss and has turned his pain into a mission to educate people.
       "I felt like no one would understand the guilt, anger, shame and sadness I was going through," said Liegghio. "I pretended to be okay, I worked, smiled and kept going but didn't feel connected to anybody."
       After years of suffering, he thought he had lost all hope.
       "One night I picked up my guitar and started writing a song about my Dad," said Liegghio. "It felt good to release feelings I was having and after I recorded it, I gave it to friends who encouraged me to perform it with my band."
       Now Liegghio goes into schools speaking to kids and parents. 
       "One thing I learned is you don't get over it, but you get through it," he said.
       He offers some coping skills, lists things to say and not to say to someone who may be contemplating suicide and offers resources.
       "One of the worst things anyone can do is isolate themselves, we all need each other," said Liegghio after singing a song. holds concert events and offers many other programs for kids. A "Call to Conversation: the connection between bullying and suicide" is a free community awareness event held each year in the Macomb Intermediate School District.
       One parent at the workshop in the RETC was Maleina Herron from Romeo.
       "It would be very good for others to hear this information," she said. "It definitely made me feel more comfortable talking about it and to know you're not alone."
       Herron found out about the event from an e-mail sent to parents from Croswell Elementary School.
       NWMPC will be sponsoring another event in May. A luncheon will be held Thursday, May 16, at the 42-1 District Court in Romeo. This lunch is for the community to address "Mental Wellness" and "Mobilizing Michigan: Protecting Kids from Marijuana."
       Jynil Schneider, M.B.A., is the prevention director from MFS. Schneider is putting the event together.
       "We teach communication skills, anger management and conflict resolution," said Schneider, who has worked for MFS for more than two years.
       Ann Shar is a clinical therapist at MFS.
       "If people educate themselves on signs and symptoms and also increase their understanding of mental illness and depression in particular, that would be helpful in preventing suicides," said Shar. "Sometimes people don't know when it is serious. When in doubt, intervene and get the person some help. Also, if the person specifies a particular plan or method rather than a vague statement, it is to be taken more seriously."
       MFS is in the historic Mellen House north of downtown Romeo.
       For more information about the luncheon or to connect for help, contact MFS at (586) 752-9696 or e-mail Schneider at The free, confidential National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255 and is available 24 hours a day.

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