One Mississippi mother’s journey to provide suicide awareness

Published: Sep. 8, 2023 at 5:17 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - One Mississippi mother does not want anyone to go through the pain she feels everyday.

Mel Lanke says she will never get over losing her son Chase, but she can move forward.

She has created a “Chasing Awareness” event that will keep his memory alive but also help others who might be struggling.

Photos and memories are all that Lanke has left of her oldest son.

“He was born in Alabama,” Lanke said. “We moved here and he went to school here. Very, very smart child. You didn’t have to do much to get him to do anything. He was on top of everything.”

Chase died by suicide five years ago.

“I just lost it. I crawled up in this little area and I made that horrible sound that mothers do when they find out they’ve lost a child. I had to break the news to my boys. It was the hardest thing to come out of my mouth.”

While nothing will bring him back, Mel never wants her son to be forgotten. She has created an event called Chasing Awareness.

“It is to bring suicide awareness to people and try to prevent it by giving information. We have people speak and they bring a picture of their child or loved one.”

Lanke says it will be a fun time but also a time to come together, share any pain, and perhaps help others who are struggling with mental health. The Mississippi Alliance to End Suicide is a part of the Chasing Awareness event.

“I don’t want Chase to be remembered because of the last thing he did. I want him to be remembered for what a great, kind, wonderful, sweet, smart person he was.”

Chasing Awareness will be held Saturday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Jackson Futbal Club.

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