#Help PREVENT SUICIDE

Our Organization

We are a non-profit organization servicing the great state of Michigan. Our mission is to prevent suicide loss through education, advocacy, and support, for survivors of suicide loss, individuals with lived experience of suicide, and those who love and care for someone with mental health struggles.

We are passionate about our goals and our mission, and this is why we minimize overhead to just enough to sustain our daily operations. While we fundraise and accept donations for a variety of uses, all of which are dedicated to our mission, we allocate the vast majority of funds raised for direct financial assistance for survivors of suicide loss, helping defray and alleviate the unexpected cost burdens associated with their loss.

To accomplish our goals, we fundraise through participation in many community events, including festivals, concerts, fundraisers, memorials, and remembrances, as well as providing event sponsorships and speakers when such events align with our mission.

Suck It! Suicide

Suck It! Suicide is the outreach program of Six Feet Over, which also does the bulk of the fundraising for Six Feet Over through merchandise sales and in person donations. Suck It! Suicide (SIS) specializes in community outreach, doing so in unconventional ways and places.

We have chosen to focus our outreach in places that generally aren't often at the top of other mental health and suicide prevention organizations lists to do so. SIS is often seen at community festivals, Pride events, concerts, local shows and sometimes just hanging out at a bar. Our founder, Kate Hardy, never felt comfortable in the mainstream...of anything really, so when she created this program she made it for communities that wouldn't seek the information on their own because of: stigma, comfort levels, knowing what to search, who to ask, shame, etc.

Kate also felt that there needed to be something that was less "pastel and kittens hanging from a branch poster", and something people would identify with, find cool, and be comfortable approaching because it didn't appear or present as a conventional mental health and suicide prevention non profit. Over time, we have found that folks from all walks of lives identify with SIS and its culture, and we will love them all!

We see mental health and suicide prevention as something you CAN ask questions about, you CAN admit to dealing with, and you should be able to do so without judgment from others or fear of being labeled dangerous, 'crazy', unlovable, a burden, ignorant, or weird. SIS takes pride in supporting every person who needs it, no matter what they look like, what they believe, who they love, or how they identify. We also believe that laughter heals, and we make sure our outreach table is filled with laughs along with the hugs and occasional tears.

SIS is real people, giving real space, real time, real love and real knowledge to other very real people, while having a great time, selling merch and raising money to help people in need.

Vision

Six Feet Over envisions a world free of suicide loss – one where people from diverse backgrounds have access to the resources and tools they need to live peacefully and support their family and peers around issues of mental health.

Goals
  • Educate

    We educate, train, and equip individuals with helpful and relevant resources, to encourage awareness, understanding, and conversation about suicide.

  • Cultivate

    We cultivate a visible presence in the community through collaboration with artists and local businesses, to make our work and our passion better known.

  • Distribute

    We distribute our branded products and awareness materials, to both further our visible presence and help fund our programming.

  • Assist

    We assist individuals with lived experience and their families to ease the difficulty and pain of their grieving and healing processes.

Founders Story

Katie Hardy is the Founder and CEO of Six Feet Over. Katie founded the Detroit-based nonprofit in 2013 to serve the survivors of suicide loss in her community, aiming to provide financial assistance for costs associated such as funerals, clean up and memorials, as well as to provide outreach, awareness, and resources to her community. Six Feet Over, and its program Suck It! Suicide, are now focused on helping all survivors, with a special interest in the non-mainstream communities of music, art and youth demographics.

After surviving 8 losses by suicide, beginning with the loss of her mother in 2003, Katie found that support groups and functions catered too much to the norms of society, avoiding and minimizing the needs of authenticity and honesty in the grieving process. She saw a profound need within her community for information, conversation, and postvention after loss.

Since then, Katie has spoken at and participated in facilitating many events including Survivors’ Day conferences, school and community events, memorials, and has continued to tell her story to both public and private companies, providing a better understanding and more insight into the life of a survivor.

Katie was recently nominated and voted in to serve on the Consumer/Survivor Subcommittee of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and she has been featured in several articles and blogs including Hour Detroit, The Oakland Press, BLocal Detroit, and Hip In Detroit, as well as mentions in The Metro Times and discussions in the podcast A History of the Ridiculous.

Board Members
Amelia Lehto - President

Amelia is the survivor of the suicide death of her best friend in her early teens, and has been exceptionally active in crisis support, suicide prevention and survivors of suicide support. She currently works for Crisis Text Line as a volunteer crisis chat supervisor, a full time social work student, a former board member for the American Association of Suicidology, and ASIST trainer amongst many other activities and accolades. Fun fact, Amelia somehow manages to do more than two things at once and stays on track, it’s alien like. She also knows almost everyone associated with this field and is like their best friend. Amelia currently lives in Berkley, MI with her husband and two sons.

Carlos Padilla - Treasurer

Carlos is the survivor of the loss of his God Mother and family friend Kathy Simpson, Kate’s mom. Carlos currently works in accounting with his family through their company, Carlex, based out of Detroit, MI. Carlos currently lives in the Detroit Metro area with his Wife and fellow board member Kristen (who is way out of his league) and his dog Bullet (the unofficial mascot of SFO).

Liz Thon - Secretary

Liz has loved ones who have mental health concerns, as well as having many other experiences that have driven her to participating on our board. Liz has literally only this one picture that resembles a professional portrait. She is a recent graduate from Eastern Michigan University with a major in Public Administration and minor in Children's Literature, and plans on working in and running libraries. Living in Lincoln Park, MI with her husband, herd of cats and many, many, many books.

Jen James - Vice President

Jen is a Founding Supervisor for The Crisis Text Line, a blogger, a published writer and a suicide attempt survivor. Jen was one of the founding board members and left for a short period of time while battling breast cancer. Jen’s quirky no sh*ts given attitude and all of her strength make for an amazing board member. Jen lives in Commerce, MI and is married with two boys, one in college one still at home.

Kristen Golembiewski - Board Member/Content Manager

Kristen contributes her knowledge in code and software development to assist us with keeping things running and organized. She also writes and sends out our newsletter. Kristen lives in Metro Detroit with her husband, Carlos, and our unofficial mascot Bullet.

David S. Parnell, Esq - Board Member / Lawyer

David acts as the counsel for Six Feet Over and advises us on all things legal. He concentrates his professional practice in deceptive business practices, debt collection harassment, class actions and representative actions, business organization and litigation, civil rights, criminal defense, and credit report errors. He has worked as part of the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office and Washtenaw County as a public defender, as well as working for a private defense firm before joining The Parnell Firm. We affectionately refer to David as The King of Ireland, just go with it but if you have questions about this, ask Liz.

Ian Boyle - Board Member/Events and Booking Coordinator

Ian is an experienced SIS volunteer for events and has experience in the music industry. Ian lost one of his best friends in 2012, Jason Lockwood, which propelled him into his loss survivorship. Ian has a great many connections to artists, venues and booking agents after having been involved in the music industry for most of his adult life. He believes that SFO/SIS can create long lasting partnerships that can increase our presence through the community and help bring the conversation to new places and people. Ian currently lives in Metro Detroit with his girlfriend Kaitlyn and their dogs, Raven and Bandit.

Dr. Leela Chandrasekar, MD - Board Member/Physician and Medical Advisor

Leela Chandrasekar is a recent graduate from Central Michigan University College of Medicine. She completed her senior year rotations at St. John Hospital in Detroit in 2018/2019 and is now doing her pediatric residency program in Chicago. Passionate about working with children, she has learned a great deal about mental health from the adolescent population in the Detroit area.

Lisa Klein - Board Member/Visual Media

An award-winning director and writer dedicated to crafting groundbreaking documentary features. Her current project, THE S WORD, is a documentary that tackles one of the most cloistered issues of our time through the emotional stories of suicide attempt and loss survivors. She tours the country speaking and using her films to raise awareness of mental health issues. She is co-founder, with her husband Doug Blush, of MadPix Inc., an LA-based production company dedicated to producing character-driven stories that create global impact and social change. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and received an M.F.A. from the University of Southern California.

Brooke Brewster - Board Member/Volunteer Coordinator

Brooke is from Clio, just outside of Flint. She is a jack of many trades, having been a teacher in a variety of high school art classes and worked at a greenhouse part time because teachers don’t get paid enough. Brooke is now working in the field of moped repair in Detroit. Brooke lost a student to suicide and became active as a volunteer with SIS. She has become an integral part of many of our events. Along with being in charge of the volunteers, Brooke will also be doing most of the local photography that Lisa will then use to create media for content. Brooke lives in Detroit with her girlfriend and a menagerie of animals including her dog Doodle.

Kirsten Bondalapati - MPH - Board Member

Kirsten Bondalapati lives in Detroit and works as a Service Designer at Civilla, where she helps redesign public benefits application systems for the State of Michigan. She has worked in the nonprofit sector for most of her professional life and has collected a variety of professional experiences, like facilitating training programs based in design thinking, starting a photobooth company, managing community health programs, and conducting research on healthcare policy and mental health. Kirsten earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and Psychology from the University of Michigan and a Master of Public Health in Behavioral Sciences and Mental Health from Emory University.

Dr. Nicole Law, PsyD LP - Board Member

Nicole graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelors of Arts in English literature describing a deep desire to understand “the artistic version of the human experience.” Nicole went on to work several careers including working to help bridge cultural differences while living in Brazil, as a consultant in global intelligence/protection of global assets, and marketing. After the loss of her eldest son due to a genetic disorder, Nicole reached the darkest point of her life. Connections with others along with an incredibly talented therapist helped to turn life around. Nicole decided to return to school and earn a Masters and subsequent doctoral degree in Humanistic, clinical, psychology.

ARE YOU IN CRISIS?

If you or someone you know is in crisis, you have options. Please text "SIS" to 741741 to speak with a trained counselor; call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline; call 911; or visit your nearest Emergency Room.