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  • Writer's pictureMallory Fuller

I Won't Be Silent: Mikaela Stamper

If you would have asked me 7 years ago, I was passionate about, I really don’t think I would have been able to answer. For 14 years I never knew what I really cared about deeply. It was always things that were happening in the moment or things I was looking forward to doing. I was a cheerleader, I showed livestock, and I enjoyed hanging out with my friends.

But on August 27, 2013, that all changed. I was in Spanish when our school counselor came to the door and asked me to come into the hall with her. She walked me to her office and told me my mom would be meeting us there soon. My mom walked in and I could tell by the look on her face something bad had happened, but I had no idea what was coming. She sat me down and said “baby I do not know how to tell you this, but we lost Blake this morning. He has taken his own life.” Blake was my stepbrother, but we had been together since I was 11 months old so if you ask me, he was and will always be my big brother.

When those words came out of my mom’s mouth, I felt broken. Two weeks before, a coach at my high school lost his son to the same silent epidemic. He came to me and said “I know you are hurting, but I want you to help me with something. It is going to help us move forward and we will be able to help other people.” I will be honest, at first, I didn’t want to help anyone. I was hurting so bad that I was being selfish. But then I realized that I did not want anyone else to go through the pain that I was experiencing. Kevin Childers became my rock and because of him, I found my passion for suicide prevention.

In the weeks to come, I learned about the Jason Flatt Act, a suicide prevention law that requires teachers to go through training before school every year. We implemented the program at my small high school and had 13 interventions right away. This is when I knew how important suicide prevention was. I realized that no one is ever ready to talk about suicide. It is something that people sweep under the rug because it is hard to talk about. And I agree it is hard, but it is serious, and we need to talk about it. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among teens and if that doesn’t prove that we need to be having these conversations I don’t know what will.

In June of 2015, The Jason Flatt Act was passed in the state of Texas. To know that I was a part of something that would help save lives made me want to never stop fighting for this cause. I graduated high school in 2017 and decided to continue my education at Oklahoma State University. I knew before I ever started school, my one goal was to pass this bill in Oklahoma before I graduated.

Four years later I am finally in the works of reaching my goal. This year there have been two students on our campus who take their own lives. I knew that I had the resources to make a change in the people around me. I started with wanting there to be more done on our campus for mental health and ending the stigma around it. I talked to the President of our University, and later the head of student affairs. As we talked The Jason Flatt Act got brought up. I was then told that they really wanted me to pass this in Oklahoma. They recommended that I reached out to State Representative John Talley. I was telling the professor I TA for about my meeting and before I could even tell him about the state rep, he stopped me and said “I know who you need to talk to. His name is John Talley, he was my youth pastor.” My jaw dropped and my eyes filled with tears because I knew this was a sign from God. Professor Rackley gave me John’s phone number, I called him and told him my mission, and now we are in the works of passing The Jason Flatt Act in Memory of Dustyn Blake Sandefer.

I knew that I had the resources to make a change in the people around me

I miss my big brother more every day. His life meant so much more to me than any statistic could ever represent. But I know I will never be able to bring him back, which is why I will use my voice for as long as I live to speak up for those who don’t think they can.

If you or someone you know is struggling let me tell you this, that permanent solution you think you might want to make is not what is best. I know right now you may believe that’s the only way out, but it is not. You are loved. You are cared about. You are someone’s everything. Ask for help. I love you and I am here for you.

I challenge everyone to Speak Up and Speak Out. Let the people in your life know you love them. Check on your friends who struggle with mental health, because they need you now more than ever. Don’t ever take a single moment for granted. Be the friend that people can always count on to listen. And lastly be kind, because you never know what battles someone is facing.

My name is Mikaela, and I won’t be silent.

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1 Comment

Mk Edwards
Mk Edwards
Apr 04, 2021

So proud of you! I wont be silent either. ❤️

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