SMILE is a program aimed at reducing suicide rates, depression, anxiety and mental health stigmas in our region. This research-based program addresses one simple question:

What if a simple act of kindness or expression of concern could save a life?

The four primary program components are described in more detail below.

Component 1: Caring Letters

Our desire is to implement a caring letters program in our community to improve feeling of well being in others and reduce the risk of suicide. We believe the simple act of sending out a caring letter will do this and there are studies that show that this can make a difference.

Research by both Dr. Jerry Motto in the early 70s and Dr. Ursula Whiteside in the early 2000s proves that a simple note to show that someone cares can make a huge impact.

Our first step in carrying out this portion of the program is to solicit artwork from local artists. Our very first CALL FOR ART is taking place now! See details on the right >>>>>

Component 2: Tool Kits

The contents of the SMILE Program toolkit varies based on the event and audience but can include the “three good things” journal, gratitude letter, and caring letter stationary.

Component 3: Community Education

Community education and awareness are a cornerstone of the program. A highlight of SMILE will be a free, keynote presentation for the community by a national speaker that would be held during Mental Health Awareness month in May 2022, at several locations in the region. More details will be coming soon!

Component 4: Outreach

Regional quarterly SMILE sessions will be held in the community to engage various demographics. For example, in January 2020 Dr. David A. Rothenberger, Professor of Surgery and Senior Advisor to the Dean of Physician Wellbeing at the University of Minnesota, made a presentation on physician burnout to 54 health care providers at CRMC. This group was targeted because 400 physicians die by suicide each year. Similar sessions to targeted groups of people will be held.

We will also use social media channels to continue to spread our messages of hope and positivity.

For more information about the SMILE Program download our SMILE Program Overview!

Get Involved!

The SMILE Program is always looking for fresh faces and fresh ideas in order to carry the program components. To get involved, send us a note! 

Smiles for Jake Values

Smiles for Jake is now accepting artwork for a special project!

What makes you smile? Whether it’s a pet, person, or park… we want to see the things that bring you joy. Share your art with us so we can share it with others!

As part of our SMILE Program, printed notecards will feature the work of local artists. These notecards will then be used by local mental health providers, school leaders, and “SMILE advocates” as they work with children, adults, and families throughout our area.

  • Art can use any medium (pencil, chalk, crayon, watercolor, acrylic, digital, etc.) but submissions will only be accepted in an electronic format (each attachment should be less than 5MB).
  • Limit of three submissions per person/email address.
  • Submissions are due by 10PM CST on Sunday, November 14.
  • All entries will be featured on Smiles for Jake social media and website.
  • Final printed notecards will feature artist’s name.

For full details download (and SHARE!) the call for art flyer

With gratitude… SMILE’s success can be attributed to a partnership with the team at Cuyuna Regional Medical Center and initial funding from Sourcewell. Thank you!