If you are in crisis, you can reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling 988.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — When Lisa Judi isn’t working her full-time job, she spends her time listening to local police scanners. What started as a passion project quickly turned into a way to help people struggling with mental health and substance abuse.
In June 2022, she created a Facebook group called “Greater Grand Rapids Scanner Calls” to share what she was hearing with the community. Judi said she spends around 18 hours a day listening to police, fire and medical scanners while also posting updates in her group.
“Some days are really hard. There’s some really tough calls to cover,” she said.
In just 10 months, her page has drawn more than 53,000 members.
“It became ‘weirdo nation’ just based off saying (that) you got to be a little bit weird to listen to the scanner and a big follower of true crime,” Judi said.
It’s also become much more than just a scanner listener page. Judi said it has evolved into what she calls a safe space for people struggling with mental health, shining a light on tough topics like suicide and drug addiction.
It’s personal for Judi, who lost sisters to suicide and an overdose.
”That’s really spawned or pushed me to continue to have those tough conversations and make it a safe place to not be OK and lean on each other to be OK,” she said. “It makes me feel like I’m honoring both of my sisters that I’ve lost, both Brenda and Holly. If I can spare another family the loss that mine goes through, that’s what pushes me to keep doing it.”
The page has reached cities all across West Michigan. Mosaic Counseling Executive Director Sarah Lewakowski said it has become a resource for the Ottawa County-based organization.
“It’s hard. It’s hard to look at the posts about suicide, about deaths, about the overdoses… but the thing is … if you don’t know, you don’t look for a solution,” Lewakowski said. “I think it’s helping people who are able to help, to step it up and help more.”
The influence of the Facebook group has gone beyond words. It’s helped places like Mosaic Counseling in real ways. Members’ of the group have raised over $4,000 by making and selling “Weirdo Wear” and “Just this set of 24” T-shirts. The money has gone towards different organizations such as Mosaic; be nice., Derek’s Place and The Red Project in metro Grand Rapids; and HealthWest in Muskegon.
”What I would say (is that) it’s just the rest of today that you’ve got to get through,” Judi said. “It’s just this set of 24 hours. … Your story is not over.”