Though she experienced a staggering loss, Ann Bloye smiles easily when talking about her son, Tyler.
For all but a fraction of his 13 years, he was a typical kid.
He played sports and did well in school at Davidson Middle School in Southgate.
“Tyler had a great sense of humor. He liked to act goofy,” Bloye said.
But on March 21, 2013, the eight-grader took his own life at school.
The grieving mother is healing for forming a remarkable collaboration with Southgate Community Schools. She said she believes she can help spread a message that will save lives.
“I want more parents to be aware of signs they can look for in their kids,” Bloye said.
The mother said her son began showing signs about three months before he did, but she didn’t realize what they were pointing to.
“Tyler never took naps. All of a sudden, he was taking naps after school,” she said. “He was isolating himself. He turned off his cellphone and didn’t want to talk to his friends.”
Bloye said her son stopped playing his favorite video games and his eating habits changed drastically.
Bloye said she thought her son was just going through a phase of normal teenage changes.
“Some of his friends did talk to him. He had mentioned he wanted to commit suicide,” Bloye said. “None of them said a word to anyone.”
The teen’s death has led to a new Michigan program called “OK-2-SAY.”
“It’s an anonymous 1-800 hotline that any child, administrator, anyone really can call, but it’s mostly for children, to report anything that they think is a threat, someone talking about suicide or committing violence in school, maybe somebody that has drugs, or is maybe on drugs,” Bloye said.
The hotline is 1-800-273-TALK.
The mother said it makes her feel better knowing she’s doing something to help others.
“I don’t want anyone else to go through what our family has gone through,” Bloye said. “It just makes me feel good to do that, as opposed to being by myself, wallowing in my grief.”
Joining in her effort is Southgate schools superintendent Bill Grusecki.
After Tyler’s death, all school employees were trained in suicide prevention. Former Detroit Lion Eric Hipple, whose son took his own life, was brought in as a speaker. Additionally, Bloye is part of a school committee that deals with the issue.
“We want our teachers, if they notice a difference, they need to notify parents, too. That’s why we want to make their awareness greater,” Grusecki said.