In January of 2006, in the midst of teenage depression, my 18-year-old son, Matthew took his own life. Matt chose a permanent solution to a temporary problem, and with it, his limitless potential, and his warm, kind, genuine, loving soul were lost to us.
Unfortunately, Matt’s decision to take his life does not represent an isolated or infrequent tragedy. Suicide afflicts young adults everywhere, in every socio-economic segment, and continues to be the second leading cause of death for those 15-24 years of age. In addition, each year, on average, 575,000 teens attempt suicide. According to a recent survey of high school students by the CDC, in the last 12 months twenty percent of the students said they often think about suicide, 14 percent say that they have made a plan for suicide, and nine percent reported that they have made one or more suicide attempts in the last year. Youth suicide and teen mental health has become a public health emergency, imperiling a whole generation of children.
To find meaning and purpose after Matt took his life, we formed the Matthew Silverman Memorial Foundation. Matt’s Foundation is dedicated to preventing teen suicide by underwriting lifeline prevention, awareness and mental health programs for schools, parents and teachers. We work with and support such charities as Teen Line, Active Minds, HealGrief, Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, and others. The teen suicide awareness video below was made for Teen Line with the generous support of our Matt’s Foundation’s donors and sponsors. The video is intentionally haunting and urgent — it is designed to have impact and to save lives.
In partnership with Active Minds, we sponsor in Los Angeles-area high schools and colleges the award-winning traveling exhibit entitled “Send Silence Packing.” This involves a gripping installation of 1100 backpacks arranged throughout campus, each one representing a young person lost to suicide that year with each backpack containing the personal story of the life lost. The exhibit also includes an astonishing speaker who is a nationally recognized youth mental health advocate. (See the “Send Silence Packing” section below ). School officials, students, parents, and teachers all comment on the profound impact the “Send Silence Packing” program has had on their school communities. The Matthew Silverman Memorial Foundation envisions this exhibit program as the beginning of much broader mental health programs of prevention and awareness for teens nationwide.
Matt’s Foundation has now sponsored five(5) Annual Golf Classics. More than 140 golfers participate each year. Our goal has been to create an exceptional golf experience and at the same time raise significant sums to fund our awareness and prevention mandate and mental health education efforts. With the extraordinary support of so many friends, colleagues and community supporters, and with the invaluable assistance of the Charity Angels, these goals have been exceeded each year. Those who have attended our unique tournaments re-commit to attend every year. (See the pictures and videos from the tournaments in the section below, “Past Events”).
In addition, Matt’s Foundation has hosted two “Light Up the Night” events, designed to reach a younger demographic, 21-35 years of age. Both nights were inspirational, informative, and emotionally riveting. The 250 or more attendees at each "Light Up the Night" event had unforgettable evening and enjoyed the recognition we gave to Lukas Nelson, and to Joan and Melissa Rivers, for their courage to speak openly about the subject of suicide. (See the pictures and video of these evenings, the section below, “Past Events”).
With your generosity and support, the Matthew Silverman Memorial Foundation will continue to implement compelling lifeline youth mental health programs, support partner charities, and host events which are designed to both raise funds and awareness. Thank you for helping us save the lives of young people.
Matthew Silverman Memorial Foundation
Matthew Silverman Memorial Video
This video is intentionally compelling; designed to have impact. It will hopefully help save lives.
If you would like to help us combat teen suicide and donate to the Matthew Silverman Memorial Foundation, please use the link below.
If you have any questions or comments regarding the foundation, donation, event, or website, please contact Candace via email or the form below.
Candace Yoder, Executive Director - email@example.com
Matthew Silverman Memorial Foundation
324 S. Beverly Drive #411
Beverly Hills, CA 90212