Flags representing the more than 42,000 deaths annually from suicide in the United States will be displayed at UMass Medical School for National Suicide Prevention Awareness Week.
UMass Medical School is participating in National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month with resources, training and advocacy to address a significant but preventable national public health problem. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. In addition to the more than 42,000 suicide deaths a year in America, the ripple effect of suicide impacts the lives of millions of individuals, families and communities.
In Massachusetts, suicide rates have increased by 40 percent since 2004, and deaths by suicide now outnumber motor vehicle accident and homicide deaths combined.
“These are very alarming statistics,” said suicidologist Barry Feldman, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry and director of Psychiatry Programs in Public Safety at UMMS. “We are coordinating efforts to address this tragedy, which affects so many families in our region.”
UMMS has several activities and events planned during National Suicide Prevention Week, which runs from Sept. 10 to 16, to highlight the impact of suicide and ways to prevent it.
A display of more than 400 flags on the campus green will represent the more than 42,000 deaths from suicide that occur annually in the United States. Sixty will be American flags representing military suicides and the rest will be purple, which, along with turquoise, represent suicide and survivors of suicide.
The Central Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention and Western/Central Massachusetts VA Health System will have information tables set up in the Albert Sherman Center lobby on Monday and at the Remillard Pavilion at UMass Memorial Medical Center, university campus, from Monday through Thursday. Included will be information about the Central Massachusetts/Worcester American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Out of the Darkness Walk taking place at Institute Park in Worcester on Saturday, Sept. 16.
Dr. Feldman is also conducting suicide prevention training for mental health professionals in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in the coming weeks. Trainings taking place in Worcester on Wednesday, Sept. 13, and Monday, Sept. 25, will address safety planning interventions and core competencies for mental health professionals in assessing and managing suicide risk.
And on Tuesday, Sept. 19, UMMS will bring suicide prevention information to the public when Feldman is interviewed live on the medical school’s Facebook page. All members of the UMMS and wider community are encouraged to visit the UMMS Facebook page at 11:30 a.m.
Related links on UMassMedNow:
Feldman, Doerfler to Telegram: there are ways to prevent suicide
Barry Feldman explains teen suicide risk factors
Feldman to WBUR: Military suicides are preventable
Expert’s Corner: Facing the facts on youth suicide
Barry Feldman explains teen suicide risk factors in Boston Globe