SPEAK's New Video

SPEAK 2009 Video

SPEAK on Broadcast Radio

Press Release from Governor Martin O'Malley

Former Governor
Robert Ehrlich

The Maryland Youth
Crisis Hotline

National Suicide
Support Groups

The National Suicide Hotlines

Maryland Suicide Prevention Commission

SPEAK on Facebook

Bev Cobain/Jean Larch 'Dying To Be Free'

Linda Goldman
'Coming Out,
Coming In'

Goldman's Great Answers to Difficult Questions about Sex

Nancy Rappaport
'In Her Wake'



The faces on our logo all died of suicide. They wanted the pain to end, not their lives.
They entered a dark tunnel, unfortunately, not seeing the light at the end.

Seeing the face of John Tolzman associated with suicide elicits expressions of disbelief because he was so young. His image was placed first on the logo to emphasize that feelings of despair can strike any age, even 12 years old. John, one of five children, attended Ruxton Country School where he was popular with his classmates and teachers, was witty and compassionate and seemed to love life. However, his journal, read by his mother after his death, revealed hidden anxieties and depression. He expressed concern about going to middle school and was saddened by the recent deaths of his grandmother and favorite teacher. In addition, he had missed a month of school because of an illness and had an argument with his best friend.

Laura Hurka is the second face on the SPEAK logo. She was the most beautiful and caring of six children in her family. Laura was a gymnast, artist, secretary for the Baltimore County Liquor Board, Shock Trauma, Baltimore County Fire Department, and the single mother of a son. Laura battled an eating disorder and depression for many years. She will be remembered for her beauty, not only on the outside, but also from within, a person who truly cared and loved people, and whose memory will live on.

The face in the center is of Jeffrey Stratford, the son of Ellie Stratford who was with us in the beginning and was immeasurably helpful in putting the quilts together. Jeffrey died by gunshot at the age of 23 in February 1997. Jeffrey's dad also died by suicide at the age of 45 in February 1987.

Christopher McLaughlin is the third of four sons. He hung himself on January 2, 1992 in the basement of his brother's home where he was living at the time. He served with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves from 1988 until his death. In 1990, his Reserve Unit was activated and Christopher served on the front lines during the Persian Gulf War. He is remembered for his sense of humor, warm smile, and love of volleyball.

The final face on the logo belongs to Betty Schmedes's younger sister, Mary, who was also a nurse. Her personality was fun-loving, cheerful, caring & humorous although she suffered with intermittent episodes of depression which was not diagnosed until later in her illness. This coupled with a severe chemical imbalance caused Mary to struggle with all aspects of her life, including her spirituality and identity but the effects of her illness finally overcame her fight to maintain her spirit for living. She will always be remembered for her love & passion for helping others.