by Olivia Rohling

Who are your “FAVE FIVE”?

Loveland, Ohio – On Feb. 13, 2016, Loveland mom Gina Marek lost her son, Jacob to suicide. After his death, she asked her younger son who he would talk to if he was going through something or needed support; he couldn’t name anyone. At that moment, she knew she needed to do something to help her son and other teens learn to reach out for help.  Months later, the concept called “MY FAVE FIVE” was created with the goal of helping individuals identify, connect, and build relationships with trusted people already in their life who they can call to talk to about day-to-day challenges or in a time of need.

Over the past six years, MY FAVE FIVE has evolved from a simple worksheet in 2016 to a mobile app for teens in 2019 to today’s app which is for everyone. Marek noted that after seeing the impact COVID had – from loneliness to isolation – she felt she needed to enhance the app and launched the new app in July 2022 for everyone. “Everyone needs their personalized network of support to help them maneuver through life’s challenges,” Marek said. 

When you open the app there is a star that has five points. When setting up the app you tap the “+” on one of the points and type the name of someone you trust. You then have the option to email or text them the invite link to become one of your FAVE FIVE. At the bottom of the screen, there is the crisis hotline as well as the crisis text line. Your “Fave” does not need to have the app in order to be one of your “FAVES.” 

“Odds are you already have these people in your contacts, but the point is that you know they’re there for you and you know they care. It’s about having that personalized network of support there to help you work through day-to-day issues before you reach that breaking point,” Marek said. “It’s free, it’s easy, it can help,” Marek added.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 U.S. adults experiences mental illness each year, while suicide is the second leading cause of death for people aged 10-34.

While “MY FAVE FIVE” is not a suicide prevention app, but rather a mental wellness tool, Marek still thinks it can save lives. “My goal is to really help people during their time of struggle—whatever that struggle may be before they reach their breaking point,” Marek said. her goal for this coming fall is to reach out to universities, athletic departments, counseling centers, and veteran groups to promote awareness of this tool.

“MY FAVE FIVE” is available for free on Google Play and the App Store. You can learn more about this app and Marek’s mission by visiting her website:  MY FAVE FIVE is also on Facebook and Twitter.

Watch this 1-minute video describing MY FAVE 5 tool. The app is available on the App Store and Google Play. Now, more than ever, our teens need to know they have adults, in addition to their parents, to call in a time of need.

Make a Donation

Please consider a donation to further the advancement of MY FAVE FIVE in our communities. All funds go to support MY FAVE FIVE and are tax deductible. Make a donation HERE.

Olivia Rohling – Writer, student, introvert, Wordle player, and avid email checker.

Olivia is not a stranger to the world of journalism as she was Editor-in-Chief for The Milestone, McNicholas High School’s newspaper, and currently writes for Ohio University’s The Post & The Odyssey Online.

Olivia loves keeping busy, but when she does get free time she enjoys reading, running, baking and jamming out to Arcade Fire.

Olivia will be a second-year student in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.

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