In late 2019, following the death by suicide of her 15-year-old son Nikolai, Waterford resident, marketing professional and in the midst of a two-term stint as the Waterford Area Chamber of Commerce Board President, Kris Miller started social media platforms and a grief journey blog housed on the website called On a Dragonfly’s Wings (www.onadragonflyswings.com).
The intent was to not only share her grief journey with other survivors of suicide, but to generate conversations, programs, and initiatives to start talking out loud and boldly about mental health issues. Miller says, “As parents, my husband Joe and I did all the things we thought we were supposed to do to help Nikolai. It is always after the fact that you realize you didn’t do nearly enough because you didn’t know enough. This began my mission of educating about mental health, mental illness, and suicide ideation. The more we know, the better chance we have of preventing suicide.”
Her maternal boldness and her gifted prose started an online movement… she connected to other survivors, families started calling her for resources and referrals, sponsors stepped up to support her marketing efforts, invitations came for her to speak at public events or suicide prevention trainings, and the late State Representative Andrea Schroeder stepped in and supported the Save our Students bill, which became a Michigan law on October 14, 2020.
Then Miller, boldly again and feeling a calling, hung up her professional marketing hat and filed for On a Dragonfly’s Wings to become a federally registered non-profit 501c3 after realizing the impact the movement was already making. The official paperwork was approved on ironically, Valentine’s Day 2022, and Miller is now On a Dragonfly’s Wings Founder and Executive Director. “It’s a calling I never expected,” says Miller, “yet I just can’t stop feeling intense compassion and love for the adolescents who are struggling with mental illness. We need to do better.”
Miller added, “I may never know if a death is prevented, but I will know that I have advanced the conversation, that my organization is advocating for those who struggle in silence, giving them a voice that will help us break the stigma of mental health and suicide.”
To get involved or to make a financial contribution, contact Kris at [email protected] or call (248) 978-4987.