Local efforts offer new hope on World Suicide Prevention Day

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Are you or someone you know experiencing suicidal thoughts? Call 800-273-8255, the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which will connect you with local phone support.

While the suicide deaths of beloved celebrities such as Robin Williams hit hard at our collective emotional psyche, most people who attempt or succeed at taking their lives are not famous. Very likely some of them live (or have lived) right in your own community. World Suicide Prevention Day, Sept. 10, offers an opportunity to look at some recent local developments.

Two years ago, Washington became the first state in the U.S. to enact legislation requiring that mental health professionals be trained in suicide prevention. The effort was spearheaded by Jennifer Stuber, co-founder of the nonprofit Forefront:Innovations in Suicide Prevention, and state Rep. Tina Orwall (D-33rd district). Stuber lost her spouse, Matt Adler, an international attorney and father of their two young children, to suicide.

Last year, Forefront helped advocate for passage of another piece of legislation, which improves the capacity of schools to identify and intervene with students who struggle with emotional issues and suicidal thoughts. Forefront is also involved in training school personnel to develop school crisis plans that include responding to suicidal behavior. More information here

And in March of this year, Gov. Jay Inslee signed HB 2315, which makes Washington the first state to require suicide-prevention training for doctors and nurses. Stuber calls the bill “perhaps the more forward thinking response to the problem of suicide in the country.”

Sue Eastgard, MSW, training director and other co-founder of Forefront, founded the Youth Suicide Prevention Program of Washington State in 1999 and served as director for a dozen years. She has trained more than 1,000 professionals and grad students over the past year, and develops and customizes assessment and treatment programs as well. For more information, visit Sue Eastgard, MSW.

Here are some statistics about suicide from Forefront’s website:
  • In Washington, about 1,000 residents die of suicide each year; the suicide rate here is 15 percent higher than the national average. Nationally, suicide rates are highest in the West, followed by the South, the Midwest and the Northeast; 39,518 people took their lives in the U.S. in 2011, or 12.7 deaths per 100,000 population.
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth age 15-24. Male-identified individuals are almost four times as likely to complete suicide as female-identified people, although the latter attempt suicide at higher rates. Across the population at large, suicide is the 10th cause of death. 
  • Groups with higher than average suicide rates include members of the military, Native Americans and Alaska Natives, those suffering from mental illness or substance abuse (or both), and people identifying with the LGBTQ community. 
In the News 

After actor Robin William’s death by suicide, Seattle media called on Forefront directors Jennifer Stuber and Sue Eastgard for expert perspectives. If you missed seeing them live, check out these links: 

Stories of hope: Event will bring together suicide-prevention advocates

Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention will hold its annual celebration on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at The Mountaineers Club, 7700 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle WA 98115. 


Post a Comment

We encourage the thoughtful sharing of information and ideas. We expect comments to be civil and respectful, with no personal attacks or offensive language. We reserve the right to delete any comment.

Facebook: Shoreline Area News
Twitter: @ShorelineArea
Daily Email edition (don't forget to respond to the Follow.it email)

  © Blogger template The Professional Template II by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP