Our Mission – Suicide Prevention

Elyssa’s Mission® provides resources to help prevent teen suicide. The community-based organization was founded in 2006 in honor of Elyssa, a bright, gifted and outgoing Chicagoland girl who bravely but unsuccessfully battled post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. Elyssa’s Mission® provides hands-on support to area public and private schools and community organizations in order to educate students, staff and parents on how to recognize and assist those teens most at-risk. We have helped educate over 50,000 students since inception.

Elyssa’s Mission® funds and implements the evidence-based SOS Signs of Suicide® program in approximately 50 middle and high schools in Illinois through our partnership with Screening for Mental Health®, a Massachusetts-based organization that pioneered the concept of large-scale mental health screening and education programs. We assist with all components of the SOS program including planning, teaching and training for staff and parents.

Upcoming Events

The Pederson-McCormick Boys and Girls Club has asked Elyssa’s Mission to educate their youth leaders on the warning signs of depression and suicide. Jodie Segal, Director of Education, Elyssa’s Mission and Katie Mason, Program Director of of Public Education, Mental Health of America of Illinois will co-facilitate a workshop for the leadership club on May 15th.

The Pedersen-McCormick Boys & Girls Club has been an anchor of hope, fun and stability in the lives of Chicago’s Uptown Community youth since 1958. The Club today serves 1,000 members annually and 250 members age 6-18 daily. The facility is one of the largest Clubs and features four exceptional programs not offered at any other Club location.

Elyssa’s Mission A Proud Sponsor of Naomi Ruth Cohen Institute’s  Annual Community Mental Health Conference, SUICIDE: RESPONDING AND CREATING HOPE                        

The conference will take place Sunday, June 1st, 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Beth Emet Synagogue (1224 Dempster) in Evanston, Illinois. There will be 18 discussion groups led by experts in this field.  Jodie Segal, Director of Education for Elyssa’s Mission, and Katie Mason, Program Director of Public Education & Disaster Mental Health for Mental Health America of Illinois, will be co-facilitating one of these discussion groups, entitled “Recognizing Signs of Someone in Crisis.” For more information and to register click here

In the News

With gratitude and thanks Elyssa’s Mission would like to acknowledge the Northbrook Woman’s Club for their generous support of our work and to help fund the Elyssa’s Mission SOS Signs of Suicide® program in Northbrook schools (Field Middle School, Northbrook Junior High, Wood Oaks Junior High, Glenbrook South High School and Glenbrook North High School) during this upcoming 2014-2015 school year.

The Northbrook Women’s Club/Foundation in Northbrook is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting the community through philanthropy and service, while fostering personal fulfillment through shared interests. Since the inception of the Northbrook Woman’s Club in 1955, the Club and later the Foundation have raised and donated more than $800,000 for college scholarships and grants to local service organizations.


On an average day, 105 Americans lose their lives to suicide. And counter intuitively, more of these lives are lost when the weather is warm and the sun shines bright. To read the full article “Springtime Suicide Peak Still Puzzles Scientists” click here




 NEW YORKER MAGAZINE ”The Neglected  Suicide Epidemic”

“On a January morning six years ago, Jonny  Benjamin walked halfway across the Waterloo  Bridge, in London, stepped to the edge and prepared  to jump. As he was about to leap from the bridges  walkway, a stranger approached him…” For the full article click here



The Karen Colina Wilson Foundation recently granted funds to Elyssa’s Mission in support of the  EveryBody Matters program. The EveryBody  Matters program is designed to build resiliency in  teens, giving them the tools they need to face life’s  adversities.

The Karen Colina Foundation grant will allow Elyssa’s Mission to implement the EveryBody Matters program at Field Middle School in Northbrook Illinois in the winter and spring of 2014.

Started in 2006, the Karen Colina Wilson Foundation has as its mission statement “Making a positive difference in the lives of woman and children.” The foundation provides grants and programs to children, youth and women to enhance their health, safety, and well-being and provide development opportunities in the areas of education, art, literature and music to improve their quality of life.


Windy City Live After Dark Features Elyssa’s Mission
In todays WCL After Dark segment about mental health awareness and suicide prevention, Joanne Meyers, founder of Elyssa’s Mission, talks about her daughter Elyssa and why she started Elyssa’s Mission to Save Young Lives. To view click here

National Screening Day, October 10, 2013 CBS Channel 2 News highlighted the importance of National Screening Day by featuring Elyssa’s Mission, Alan Meyers and Cornerstone Counseling Center in Chicago discussing the importance of screening and the signs of suicide. Click here for full live segment



The Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) Foundation recently granted funds to Elyssa’s Mission in support of our mission to provide resources to support at-risk teens and prevent suicide. We would like to acknowledge their support and generous grant that will fund the complete SOS Signs of Suicide® program (SOS) in two new middle and/or high schools.

CBOT provides a valuable service to a number of not-for-profit agencies serving the Chicagoland area through their grant program. The CBOT Foundation is specifically interested in “organizations and projects that support children in need, education, seniors, wildlife, social and human services within the global communities where we live and do business.”


May 22, 2013-Rebecca’s Dream granted funds to Elyssa’s Mission in support of their mission to provide resources to support at-risk teens and prevent suicide. As a result of Rebecca’s Dream’s generous endowment, five new schools will be supported by Elyssa’s Mission through the SOS Signs of Suicide® program, which teaches teens that depression is a treatable illness. The Rebecca’s Dream mission is to promote awareness and compassionate understanding of depression and bipolar disorder as real diseases.

Rebecca’s Dream was established in 2005 in celebration of the life of Rebecca Lynn Cutler, a journalist who succumbed to depression and bipolar disorder at age 30. Rebecca’s family and friends continue her personal mission to help others receive proper treatment and needed support. To learn more about Rebecca’s Dream,click here


Sponsors for Elyssa’s Mission Race to Save Young Lives:

The Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT)