This is the latest in a series of posts highlighting a chapter from the "Health of Massachusetts", a comprehensive new report from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH).
Suicide is a significant, and preventable, public health issue. While the term “suicide” refers to completed suicides, it is also important that we recognize the impact of nonfatal self-inflicted injuries such as suicide attempts or intentionally cutting or burning oneself.
The MDPH Suicide Prevention Program works to reduce the number of suicides and suicide attempts in the Commonwealth. The program employs prevention strategies recommended by the National Suicide Prevention Plan, which include increasing public awareness of suicide as a public health problem, reducing the stigma of help-seeking, depression screening, skills training for mental health, substance abuse and healthcare professionals, gatekeeper training for the general public and services for families and communities after a suicide occurs.
The impact of suicide is enormous. Experts estimate, very conservatively, that for every suicide there are six loved ones left behind to experience the complicated grief that follows. Along with the sadness that attends any death, most of these survivors also suffer from guilt, feeling that they could have “done something” to prevent the suicide.