Job loss and suicides, how one mom is making a difference

A mom in Michigan is trying to make a difference after two of her sons took their own lives.

It's a tough story to talk about, but families who have experienced a suicide will tell you: we need to talk about it. Perhaps it's uncomfortable for some people, but the facts are clear. According to a National Suicide prevention group, suicide has become the leading cause of death for men aged 45 to 54 in this country. And one of the contributing factors can be the loss of a job.

KTVO's sister station, WEYI-TV, in Flint, Michigan explored this issue in-depth, along the way, they found a mom who is trying to make a difference on a subject that many don't want to talk about.

A Mt. Pleasant mom, Alice Garon-Labonte, lost her 47-year-old son Norman, after he lost his job. Then about 11 months later, another son did the same thing. The local suicide prevention group, Survivors of Suicide, made a quilt with victims. Brian Wolfram of Saginaw is on it. So is Daniel Howey of Bridgeport and John Oslund of Bay City. All 3 lost their jobs then took their lives. But the founder of the group, Barb Smith, says unemployment doesn't cause suicide. But it's a factor. Many times the victims suffer from severe depression and feel helpless.

There is help available. People who want free 24/7 help can call 800-273-TALK (8255).

People can also contact Barb at

To view the entire story from WEYI-TV, click here.