During her son’s high school years, Judy Buonauro never suspected that what seemed like typical adolescent angst could one day be life-threatening for her child Michael.
That fated day came in 2004 when Michael took his life. He had just turned 25 years of age.
In hindsight, Judy and husband Frank saw that Michael’s struggles became evident during his college years.
And if a depression-awareness or suicide-prevention program had existed when Michael then or while in high school, perhaps he wouldn’t have died. Today the Buonauros are active advocates for helping youth strive for good emotional health, boost resiliency and enhance coping skills.
“Young people need to know it’s not just them, they’re not weird,” says Rick Frederick, Orange District Safe and Drug-Free Schools Coordinator. “This program helps them do that. By coming forward, they know that it’s okay to talk about it.”