Library teens use phones to spread suicide prevention message

More than two dozen local teens have turned Farmington Community Library’s abandoned telephones into a artistic message of hope, now on display around the community.

Young Adult Librarian Jennie Willard said the project began after the library replaced its phone system. Because the phones were so outdated, they were headed to the trash heap.

Library teen phone art

“Teens painted 29 phones as symbols of hope, encouragement and communication so that people who do feel alone, feel like everything is dark, have something bright to look at, to say, hey, there is somebody looking out for you, somebody who wants you to stick around,” Willard said.

She and three members of the teen group accepted a proclamation at Monday’s Farmington Hills City Council meeting declaring September National Suicide Awareness Month. In addition to a City Hall display, phones can be seen at the Main Library, 32737 W. 12 Mile Rd.; the Farmington branch library, 23500 Liberty St.;  and the Costick Center, 28600 W. 11 Mile Rd., Farmington Hills.

Willard said at least half of the kids who participated in the project either lost someone to suicide, or knows someone who has. The project is their way of reaching out, showing people that help is just a phone call away.

“These are the kinds of teens we have here in Farmington and Farmington Hills,” Willard said.

If you or someone you know needs help with depressions, hopelessness, or thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, 800-273-8255, send a text to 741741, or visit You can also find resources and help through Farmington SAFE (Suicide Awareness for Everyone),, and Common Ground,