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Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention

Campuses will share strategies for suicide prevention
Seattle Central College mental health counselor Lori Ann Miller and other conference speakers see the need for strategic institution-wide suicide prevention. (Marny Lombard photo)

By Marny Lombard

Many individual paths to concern about campus suicide will converge next month in a historic first: a suicide prevention conference for higher education in Washington state.

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Life in rural Washington has both challenges and opportunities for suicide prevention.  (Photo courtesy of Kathy Admire Photography)

In a small rural community you know everyone and their story, says Steve McCullough, who’s spent the past 15 years as an administrator for the sole pre-K-12 public school in the tiny northeast Washington town of Curlew. He’s seen students and their families struggle with poverty, unemployment, mental illness, substance abuse and other risk factors for suicide. As in most rural areas, it’s easy to access a gun but hard to get help for—or even talk about—issues related to suicide or mental illness.

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Forefront's Stephen Miller is keenly aware of the challenges facing youth and young adults experiencing homelessness. — Photo by Sue Lockett John

Imagine, for a moment, not knowing where you will eat or sleep tonight. Imagine that winning the lottery doesn’t mean millions, but refers to being one of the lucky 45 youth and young adults who will be able to sleep in a church basement on a foam pad.  Being unwelcome in most businesses, and subject to arrest for trespassing and loitering for the simple act of using the restroom. Imagine having the ingenuity and guts to navigate these and other challenges every day because it’s better than going back to a family that’s abusive, unaccepting, unable or non-existent.

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Insights Blog

Insight Blog

Aug 25, 2015 -- Kudos to The Seattle Times for its thoughtful Sunday editorial calling on lawmakers to fix the root causes of gun violence. Pointing out that “more people are killed every year by guns than car crashes,” it calls for building public policy around key health data for Seattle and King County. I was... more
Aug 10, 2015 -- Dear Robin McLaurin Williams, Robin, we miss you and we’re sure you miss us. Although your latest film, Boulevard, paints a quieter picture, we're sure you are coming around the corner any moment, riding a rocket, singing, wearing a sequined suit of lights. In truth, we aren’t sure of... more
Aug 06, 2015 -- I read the recent New York Times story on college suicides with such gratitude. First, for the story itself—for the courageous young woman who stepped forward to share her hope. Thank you to the New York Times for this investment. We need more news stories like this one about the public health... more

First Person

First Person

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