Published: 9/28/2018 9:55:53 AM
Modified: 9/28/2018 9:56:31 AM
Don’t lose focus on suicide prevention

The recent deaths of high profile celebrities, along with the CDC’s report on rising suicide rates, provided harsh reminders that no one is immune from this public health crisis. These events also resulted in an increase in media attention with many stories of hope, healing and resilience coming to the forefront.

September 9 through 15 is National Suicide Prevention Week and presents a unique time to continue these critical conversations. According to the CDC, the majority of people who have died by suicide in recent years do not have a diagnosed mental health condition; showing that all demographics are impacted.

We know that talking openly with friends and family about mental health, depression and suicide can increase the chances that they seek help. We need to create a Commonwealth where everyone is involved in breaking the silence around suicide, and where resources are available for everyone who struggles with suicidal thoughts.

“We have received overwhelming support from our communities on our suicide prevention initiatives, most recently with over 300 riders at our 6th annual Ride of Your Life,” shared Barbara Nealon, Director of Social and MultiCultural Services for Heywood Healthcare. “With the proceeds from the Ride and the continued support of Heywood Healthcare, the Massachusetts Departments of Public and Mental Health, the Task Force is able to provide education and training opportunities like Signs of Suicide training in our schools and QPR training for our local businesses, all to better serve the needs of our population.”

“As the Director for Behavioral Health Services at Heywood Healthcare, I see the need for these educational programs daily,” states Nora Salovardos. “While we can provide care on an inpatient and outpatient basis, the key is reaching the at risk populations such as our first responders and our youth, to show them support is here and available. Education is the key in suicide prevention.”

For more information on local resources for suicide prevention and education, please visit Any community member is also welcome to attend our Task Force meetings, held on the first Monday of the month at 10 am in the Board Room at Heywood Hospital.

Barbara Nealon & Nora Salovardos

Co-chairs of the Montachusett Suicide Prevention Task Force, which is part of the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention

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