Parents, caregivers, and area residents are welcome to attend “Seize the Awkward,” a community discussion on mental health planned for Monday, May 16, at 6 p.m. in the Mayberry Auditorium at Crosby Ironton High School.
Experts will explain how to recognize the risk factors of suicide and how to watch for warning signs in youth. An open discussion about how to openly talk about suicide and when to take action will be held. After a brief presentation, participants will have the opportunity to ask questions of the mental health professionals.
Presenters include Cuyuna Regional Medical Center Family Physician Kara Maucieri, M.D.; Psychiatrists Darshana Bhattacharyya and Lauren Phillips, M.D.; Psychologist Kristin Furan, Psy.D.; and Psychotherapist Katie Nystrom, M.S.W.
“Seize the Awkward” is sponsored through a partnership of CRMC and Smiles for Jake, which share the common goal of bringing the community together to normalize the conversation on mental health. The groups are working toward encouraging the community to talk about mental health as comfortably as they speak about physical health.
Other local mental health experts will be in attendance and resources will be available. The program is free, and registration is available at
(Those attending should use the school’s north entrance and park their vehicle in the student parking lot.)

We’re excited to partner with our friends at Maluna on a special project…

A portion of the proceeds of all Smiles for Jake Maluna Coolers that are purchased during the month of May will be donated back to our organization!

>> Check them out. <<

Kids Struggle Too

There’s no denying that the past couple years have brought some significant challenges to families, businesses, and entire communities… and our youngest citizens are not immune to these trials and tribulations. If you are a parent, grandparent, or caregiver to a child, please consider their well being and mental health. Just as adults face uncertainty and anxiety, so do our kids.

Based on suggestions from mental health professionals at Cornell University, we’ve put together a list of five things that you can do to support healthy habits – both for you AND the kids in your life.

>> download a PDF version <<

We consulted with the team of mental health professionals at Cuyuna Regional Medical Center and here’s what they shared:

Not all children and teens respond to stress in the same way. Some common changes to watch for include:

  • Excessive crying or irritation in younger children.
  • Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (for example, toileting accidents or bedwetting).
  • Excessive worry or sadness.
  • Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits.
  • Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens.
  • Poor school performance or avoiding school.
  • Difficulties with attention and concentration.
  • Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past.
  • Unexplained headaches or body pain.
  • Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.

It is important to check in with your child’s healthcare provider should you observe any of these signs or symptoms. Particularly if they are severe, or persist beyond a couple of days.

If your situation is more urgent, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Bridges of Hope, Crisis Line and Referral, or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

Get Involved




Smiles for Jake Mission

Smiles for Jake is a suicide prevention movement that spreads positivity through life-affirming actions, listening ears, and the message that everyone should have hope. Born in and spreading from a community that experienced the suicide of a beloved son, our short-term goal is to reduce the suicide rate and our long-term vision is to stomp out suicide worldwide.

Everyone should have hope.

By spreading proactive positivity while lending listening ears, helping hands, and open hearts, we spread the message that no one should have to live in despair and hopelessness.
Every person is loved, valued, and important.