‘Be Kind’ mom who lost son to suicide partners with Sauk Prairie district on mental health push

SAUK CITY, Wis. – Good friends Jess Martin and Missy Kubly are partnering with the Sauk Prairie School District to take their “Be Kind” Campaign to the next level.

After Martin lost her 16-year-old son Sawyer to suicide almost two months ago, the two have been on a mission to bring attention to the issue of mental health.

“I would love to save every kid in this community if I could,” Martin said. “If I could give everybody my number I would do that.”

Last month, Martin’s simple but powerful words — “Be Kind” — quickly spread through businesses, schools and homes across Sauk City and Prairie Du Sac.

RELATED: ‘Be Kind’ campaign underway in Sauk City after teen dies by suicide: ‘We can’t have another one’

“Sawyer made a huge impact on a lot of people and I just wish he would have known that but we are honored to help as much as we can,” said Martin, “to have it so no other family has to go through this.”

Soon after “Be Kind” signs were popping up all over the community, Sauk Prairie’s superintendent Jeff Wright learned the pair of moms leading the campaign was interested in working with the district to further their cause.

“It is something that I know everyone is talking about,” Wright said. “I’m hoping that we’re providing tools as a district to keep this conversation from being a conversation into being something of action.”

So he made a phone call, then began meeting with the pair weekly, and learned the moms’ biggest concern was around bullying.

He said with Martin and Kubly’s help, the district has worked to ensure parents know how to access their bullying and harassment system, launched mental health first aid classes, and approved a new online service, Care Solace, to connect users with mental health and substance use care faster.

He also said he plans to keep working with the two mothers for the next few months. Together they also set up a scholarship fund in Sawyer’s name that will be available to students in 2024—the same year he would have been a senior.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues or considering suicide, there are resources available to help. Calling 988 nationwide will connect you to the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. In Dane County, Journey Mental Health Center has a 24/7 suicide prevention hotline at 608-280-2600.