On December 8, 2019, local resident Naomi Tucker became the 21,000th member of Suicide Prevention Rocks. Suicide Prevention Rocks is an international rock painting group started by The Joshua York Legacy Foundation in September 2018. The goal of the group is to provide art therapy for those who have been touched by suicide or suicidal thoughts, while raising awareness and preventing suicide through rocks with positive messages. Dawn York, a co-founder of the non-profit foundation, had the idea while painting rocks with her young children after the loss of their older brother Joshua. Her husband and co-founder, William, set up the group on Facebook. The group began resonating with people immediately and has since grown to include members in all US States and in 83 foreign countries.
Naomi is a member of the local rock painting group Watertown Rocks. Watertown Rocks, administered by Kasey O’Keefe another Watertown resident, was founded in October 2018. This local group encourages members to paint, hide and find rocks as a fun activity for all ages. Members hide the rocks and post a clue to where it can be found. Those finding rocks are encouraged to post a picture and re-hide the rock for someone else to find. On December 1st, Naomi posted “Logan and I painted 14 rocks today! Will be hiding them throughout the week!”
The Joshua York Legacy Foundation was created after the loss of 20 year old Joshua York to suicide. It was unexpected and it deeply affected his family. In the aftermath, the three co-founders chose to make a difference in the world around them. The Foundation is dedicated to suicide prevention and awareness through outreach, education, and improving mental healthcare accessibility. The founders have worked vigorously to build a friendly, mission focused, organization with effective programs. Today, the Foundation’s programs and projects include:
- A Memorial Scholarship Program – providing educational scholarships to high school youth
- Suicide Prevention Rocks – an outreach program for communities and a Facebook group painting and hiding rocks with positive messages throughout the United States and in 82 foreign countries
- Speaker Program – available to provide motivational and informational presentations to educational institutions, first responders, businesses, and communities
- Angel Project – a memorial roll call of lost loved ones which will be developed into a mobile awareness platform
- Take The Pledge: To Erase the Stigma Surrounding Mental Health
In the words of William York, “Far too often people do not realize how deeply they can touch a life. Your words and actions may leave an indelible mark on those you touch. Everyone can make a difference to those they love and to the strangers they meet. We encourage everyone to begin ‘Strengthening Lives With Love’ – one rock at a time.
In military terms, I’m known as a “Maverick,” meaning I began my career as enlisted and finished as an officer. Six years of my enlisted service were spent investigating major crimes committed by and against USAF personnel. During that time, I investigated many violet acts, including child physical and sexual abuse, rape, murder, and suicide. As a commissioned officer responsible for those in my command, my experience with suicide continued to grow. I was able to help save lives by recognizing signs and ensuring they received mental health assessments and the help they needed.