University of Washington
Need help now?  Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255
Need Help Now? Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 1.800.273.8255

Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention

Two years later, a look at suicide prevention in three rural Washington counties
Deception Pass at Whidbey Island of Island County. Photo by Rain Rannu.

After making inroads in areas with the state’s highest suicide rates, Forefront’s rural initiative has closed one chapter – while continuing another.

Coalitions have been forged and thousands have received suicide prevention training and resources since the 2015 launch of a rural initiative funded by a pooled grant with Washington Women’s Foundation and the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). In the first year, the grant focused on three counties with the state’s highest suicide rates: Island, Okanogan, and Stevens County.

The Washington Women Foundation (WWF) grant, which provided $50,000 in each of two consecutive years, ended June 31. But this month, a renewed grant from the OSPI begins its third fiscal year.

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Pharmacy professionals engage in a suicide prevention role-play exercise. Photo courtesy Lejla Mlivic. 

A message of proactive suicide prevention – and hope – reached a critical audience last weekend: A packed house of about pharmacy professionals at the Northwest Pharmacy Convention.

Jennifer Stuber, faculty director of Forefront, a social impact center at the University of Washington School of Social Work, co-delivered a seminal three-hour training with Brandy Singer, Pharm. D., BCPP: “Suicide Awareness & Referral for Pharmacy Professionals.”

“Talk to every patient about secure storage and disposal of medications,” they urged. “If we do this routinely, it will save lives.”

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By Lisa Wahbe

On a rainy Saturday in April, they came together at the University of Washington to showcase projects and share ideas for a Day of Hope: Young Leaders Suicide Prevention Conference.

Hands shot up in the air, with Forefront in the Schools teams – ranging from three to 12 students with one to two adult advisors or sponsors – eager to share strategies and showcase projects their high schools had implemented over the past year to address mental health and suicide awareness.

Many students had been personally touched by anxiety, depression, or the loss of a friend. School counselors and mentors had come in support of their students, and with their own stories to tell. 

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Insights Blog

Insight Blog

Aug 10, 2017 -- Generally, all suicide prevention advocates want to normalize the subject of suicide so that people who are feeling suicidal or have lost a loved one to suicide feel safe talking about it with others. Mass media and entertainment (like television shows and movies) can be... more
Jul 20, 2017 -- We just heard the devastating news that Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington took his own life today. A father of six and an immensely talented musician, Chester’s suicide is a blow to millions - including suicide prevention advocates who are also music aficionados (and vice versa... more
Jul 13, 2017 -- We all empathize with our friends and family, when they are going through a rough time. All we want to do is help take their pain away—and there are a variety of paths we can take to help them with that pain. For loved ones struggling with their mental health, there are also multiple ways to try... more

First Person

First Person

We need better mental health resources for our kids
By Matthew Thompson, M.D. A teenage boy has had a fight with his sibling that included choking and threats. The teen tells his parent that he felt bad about the fight, but everything lately has been building up. He feels like he wants to kill himself and shares some disturbingly... more
Understanding why adoptees are at higher risk for suicide
By Maureen McCauley Evans, M.A. Most people view adoption as a happy, even blessed, event. A child finds a new family: nothing but joy, right? Adoption can be happy, a blessing, joyful. For some adoptees, though, adoption is complex, and can be filled with as much loss as love.... more
78 years after Hans Maier’s death, his legacy is recalled, renewed & honored
I never met my grandfather, Hans Maier, who died before I was born as a result of suicide in 1937 when he was 49 years old.  I was surprised and amazed when I learned that so many years after he “gave up on his life,” his legacy was being honored in Frankfurt where he had lived and worked... more

Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention