FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) -- Mel Ferguson lost her son Isaiah in 2016.
In October 2019, Ferguson took to social media to share her experiences and to spread positive messages to her followers.
However, it wasn’t until the following month that she was first able to say out loud what had happened to her son.
“The Isaiah Initiative is something that is very important to me, and something to honor my son,” Ferguson said. “It comes down to the mental imposition about anxiety and depression that can lead to addiction and sadly suicide.”
Ferguson started the Isaiah Initiative to let others who have experienced loss know that they are not alone.
“There are a lot of us who have lost our children,” Ferguson said. “There are a lot of us whose kids are battling.”
The vision of the initiative is to unite the community’s church leaders to provide a safe place for youth who may be experiencing mental health issues.
“I came to my pastor and said I need you,” Ferguson said. “I need this to start here with the churches.”
Ferguson has been encouraged by the response from church leaders in the community.
“It was very edifying, life-giving to have someone from my pews to have the courage to come to me and say, ‘I need you to talk about this. We need to hear this’,” said Father Andrew Budzinski, St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.
Father Andrew Budzinski said that he feels called to learn more about mental health issues in our community.
"When we see people suffering we need to get in the trenches with them," Budzinski said. "We can’t stay locked up and to ourselves."
Ferguson hopes that the relationship being built with churches in Fort Wayne will expand towards collaborations with other community organizations moving forward.
“This isn't about how you pray to god, or what you do at your church,” Ferguson said. “This is about how we have to start helping each other help these kids.”