Suicide is a serious public health issue. Every minute someone attempts suicide and every 15 minutes someone dies by suicide. In the United States, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death. It affects all ages, and according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people ages 10-24. In addition, our country’s middle aged (45-64) and elderly (65+) populations also suffer from high rates of suicide.
A mission of the Community Affairs Unit is to prevent suicide in Bristol County by raising awareness. Studies indicate that the best methods for prevention come from early recognition and treatment of depression and other psychiatric illnesses. The unit also aims to provide access to education and resources that relate to suicide prevention. As a result, the office works closely with local suicide prevention groups, our regional prevention coalition and with numerous other partners toward our shared goal of preventing suicide in Bristol County.
The Community Affairs Unit engages in prevention efforts year-round. This includes:
Partnering with the Bristol County Regional Coalition for Suicide Prevention, the Greater New Bedford Suicide Prevention Coalition, the Taunton MA Suicide Prevention Task Force, and other partners with a shared goal of preventing suicide in Bristol County.
Training on suicide and/or depression in order to respond and guide a person at risk to help. Community Affairs manager Eric Poulin received training in July via safeTALK, a half-day alertness workshop that prepares attendees to become a suicide-alert helper.
Participating in community events, including both annual Suicide Prevention and Awareness walks in Taunton and New Bedford, as well as fundraisers such as the Samaritans’ event, Strikes Against Suicide.
Creating a new Suicide Prevention Brochure and distributing it to all public high schools, charter schools and alternative high schools in Bristol County.
Distributing SAMSHA’s Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for High Schools to all public high schools, charter schools and alternative schools in Bristol County. This is a direct response to recent gun legislation that includes a provision for educators to be trained in suicide prevention every three years. This guide contains important information about the type of curriculum and screening tools that school districts may employ to meet this expectation.
Reworking and developing a streamlined process to report data on suicide completions to our partners in the suicide prevention community. This is an effort to update present data which reflects information from 2012.
SAMARITANS 24-Hour Helpline
VETERANS CRISIS LINE
1-800-273-8255 & Press “1”
TREVOR PROJECT for LGBTQ youth ages 13-24
Additional Online Resources
Learn about SAMHSA’s Suicide Safe App!