Suicide Prevention Focus of Week of Events

ER medical symbolBARNSTABLE – The Suicide Prevention Coalition of the Cape and Islands held its third annual ceremony today remembering those who have committed suicide in the area.

The event also offers support to the friends and family of the deceased.

Jessica McHugh of the Coalition says the event is one of reflection and remembrance.

“It’s a really nice way to raise awareness and also give support to those left behind,” she said.

The ceremony will be held Thursday morning at 11:15 on the front lawn of the Barnstable Superior Courthouse.

The ceremony is part of the coalition’s activities for 40th Annual National Suicide Prevention Week which takes place September 8 to 14..

Around the world, one person dies by suicide every 40 seconds, according to the World Health Organization.
“There are a lot of statistics which help us understand that suicideis a pressing public health concern in our region and across the world. But statistics don’t tell the whole story. They don’t tell us how our neighbor or co-worker, child or partner may be silently experiencing a tremendous amount of pain and might be thinking about suicide,” McHugh, Co-Chair of the Coalition.
“When we speak openly about suicide, we can help prevent suicide,” she said.
Awareness-raising events have been scheduled throughout the month and the Coalition has invited all towns across the Cape and Islands, as well as the Barnstable County Commissioners, to issue proclamations recognizing National Suicide Prevention Week.
“Our goal as a Coalition is to raise suicide awareness and prevention in our region, and to help everyone learn they can potentially save a life by knowing the signs of suicide,” Ron Holmes, Executive Director of NAMI Cape Cod and the Islands and Co-Chair of the Coalition, said.
“If you are worried about someone in your life, do not dismiss your worries. Listen to your instincts and reach out to your friend or loved one. Asking them if they are thinking about suicide will not give them the idea. So ask, and then truly listen to their answer and help them find the help they need,” he advised.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National SuicidePrevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or the Department of Mental Health Cape and Islands Crisis Hotline at 1-800-322-1356For more information about suicide prevention and how you can help, visit
Here are the events this month:
  • On September 13th, the Samaritans are hosting SafeTalk, a free half-day training program in Falmouth that increases suicide awareness and helps all of us to prevent suicides and promote life. To register, email ccsamaritans@verizon.netor call 508-548-7999.
  • On September 15th, the Community Health Center of Cape Cod is presenting an all-day training for clinicians in Hyannis: Bolstering Resilience in Veterans and GLBT Youth, presented by Dr. DonaldMeichenbaum. Cost is $79 per person. To register contact or call 508-477-7090 ext. 1192.
  • On September 30th from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., the Cape and IslandsSuicide Prevention Coalition is hosting a free QPR suicide prevention training. QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer – three simple steps anyone can learn to help prevent suicide. There is no fee, but registration is required. To register, email or call 508-566-3610.
  • Throughout September, the community is invited to visit the Falmouth Public Library (300 Main Street) to view the art installation, In Their Shoes, created by The Samaritans on Cape Cod and the Islands. Comprised of 249 pairs of shoes and three vignettes, the powerful piece symbolizes the number of people on the Cape and Islands lost tosuicide between 2000 – 2009 and encourages all of us to reach out to those in need.
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