Cleveland’s Own: LifeAct

In this month’s edition of Fox 8’s Cleveland’s Own, Matt Kaulig talks with Loree Vick, LifeAct Board Member. We also hear from LifeAct Instructor Kristen Moldovan and Former President of the Youth Advisory Board Daniel Berlin.

LifeAct was founded in 1992 by Cleveland businessman Lyman (Tim) Treadway, who lost his son to suicide. (www.lifeact.org) Their mission is to prevent teen suicide by educating youth to recognize depression and the warning signs of suicide and access help for themselves and their peers.

LifeAct’s primary goal is to encourage and empower young people to reach out for help and ensure that they have the support they need. The organization serves as a gateway to better mental health and is saving lives and improving the quality of life for young people in Northeast Ohio through its evidence-based school program. 

Each year, LifeAct brings its program to 25,000 students in 200 schools in Northeast Ohio. Over the last 20 years, The LifeAct school program has been delivered to 280,000 students in public and private middle and high schools in Northeast Ohio. There is no cost to the schools because LifeAct believes that no child should have an economic barrier to learning about mental health and getting connected to professional services. 

Fox 8 Cleveland’s Own

Fox 8 Cleveland’s Own is about good people doing good work in Northeast Ohio. WJW Fox 8 and Kaulig Charitable Giving Programs team up to celebrate Cleveland’s Own by highlighting the best of our region in a big way! Each month, Fox 8’s Stefani Schaefer and Kaulig Companies and LeafFilter Executive Chairman Matt Kaulig, share a story about a person or organization from Northeast Ohio doing good work.

To see more Cleveland’s Own stories, or to nominate an organization to be featured, visit Kaulig Giving’s Cleveland’s Own page.

Read the Transcript

Stefani Schaefer

Each month, Kaulig giving and Fox 8 will highlight people, organizations and charities making a difference in northeast Ohio. It's time to celebrate Cleveland's Own.

Matt Kaulig

Hi, I'm Matt Kaulig. This month on Cleveland's own, we hear from LifeAct, a life-saving organization whose mission is to prevent teen suicide by educating Ohio youth to recognize depression, access mental health resources, and use their amazing free school programs to speak out. Let's chat with Loree Vick from LifeAct.

Matt Kaulig

I heard that Life Act deals with almost thirty thousand students in 200 schools right here in Northeast Ohio. So can you tell us a little bit about LifeAct in the partnerships and programs?

Loree Vick

20 years we've been providing our program to high school and middle schools in northeast Ohio to help educate young people to recognize the signs of depression in themselves and in their peers so that they can then access the help that they need and thereby prevent suicide. And we have some amazing partnerships. University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital has been a strong partner in helping us develop our curriculum and in treating kids. And I became involved with life at 16 years ago. Sadly, my husband of nearly twenty five years, John, lost his battle with depression and died by suicide. And the only way to get through that myself was to dedicate myself to advocating for depression awareness. So when I discovered Life Act and their mission to help young people, finally I was able to turn my pain into some kind of purpose.

Matt Kaulig

Helping.

Loree Vick

Yeah.

Kristen Moldovan

So Life Act is a two day prevention program. We go into middle school and high school classrooms, grades 6 through 12. It's about a 90 minute program total. When we wrap up the program, when we leave for the day after that second day, it's kind of up to the school mental health staff to take over what we've began. And we give them some extra activities and things like that to continue.

Matt Kaulig

Why is mental health practices so important for young kids?

Loree Vick

There is such a stigma that remains about mental health. It's important for these kids to understand that it is OK not to be OK. It's so important because the statistics around suicide are just alarming. The greatest increase is among young people ages 10 to 14, where the rate of suicide has increased 187 percent. And so LifeAct is trying to detect this early so that we can get kids the treatment that they deserve and that they need.

Daniel Berlin

Key things that I learned from being involved with LifeAct were first education is something that can resolve a lot of persistent problems in society. LifeAct programs can help individuals self diagnose and kind of come forth to a program or an individual that can help them. And then I think the second part is really drilling down to peers that mental health initiatives are something that can be openly talked about. And if you have a friend who may be dealing with something of that sort, that it's OK to talk to them about it. In fact, it's definitely helpful to have an open avenue of conversation.

Matt Kaulig

So it's amazing what you guys are doing right here in northeast Ohio. How can Fox 8 viewers get involved or learn more?

Loree Vick

The biggest thing that our Fox 8 viewers can do is to talk to the young people in their lives, start the conversation about their mental health. Our program is delivered to these 200 plus schools at no cost to the schools. And if any of our viewers are interested in being one of those generous supporters to help fund this program, which is growing and so needed now more than ever, that information is available on our website.

Matt Kaulig

To learn more about LifeAct and its life saving community impact, visit LifeAct.org. Want to nominate a personal organization for an upcoming episode of Cleveland's own visit KauligGiving.com/Clevelandsown

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