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

Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention

Reaching out and reaching in
Folksinger Mari Earl long ago turned to music to convey her deep feelings. — Photo by Enrique Garcia

Music is a universal language.  It draws you in, and as the composers and rockstars know, it can draw you out. It is a safety zone for emotion and a safe haven to express yourself, to feel an emotion, to protest, to say or relate to something meaningful; and most often, music offers a place to be filled with joy, passion and love.  Both Mari Earl and Gina Salá know this deeply, and will sing from their hearts at Forefront’s second annual fall event on Sept. 30.

Thomas Soukakos will cater Forefront’s September celebration and fundraiser again this year. — photo by Sue Lockett John

Everyone has a role in suicide prevention, and Thomas Soukakos participates with all his generous heart. The Seattle restaurateur regularly reaches out to new mothers and fathers facing postpartum depression (PPD), the condition that claimed his wife Carol’s life 12 years ago. His two Vios cafes are known for embracing families and welcoming young children. And, again this year, he will support Forefront’s suicide-prevention mission by serving his Greek specialties at its fall fundraising event.

Training Director Sue Eastgard carries out Forefront's commitment to first-rate implementation of the state's new training requirements. — Photo by Katie M. Simmons

It can be hard to ask someone if he’s thinking of killing himself—especially if you don’t realize that asking is the right thing to do. It’s not easy to put your own fears or cultural biases aside and respond with the calm and compassion a suicidal person so desperately needs. Most front-line professionals will tell you it’s something they didn’t learn in school. So they’re learning and practicing in workshops like one I recently visited at the University of Washington.