At MHA, Suicide Prevention Takes Center Stage
Awareness Events Set for Week of September 8, 2019

SPRINGFIELD, MASS. – World Suicide Prevention Day for 2019 takes place September 10, during National Suicide Prevention Week, which runs from September 8 to 14. During these important awareness events, MHA wants everyone in the community to know that there is help—potentially lifesaving help—for individuals, families and people they care about. 

The Suicide Prevention Lifeline ( is a national network of local crisis centers that provide free and confidential emotional support, 24/7, to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. A toll-free call to 800-273-8255 routes callers to a trained crisis worker at a local center—someone who can provide help right now.

“While suicide prevention is important to address year-round, Suicide Prevention Week provides a dedicated time to unify efforts and bring education and support to a preventable public health problem,” said Sara Kendall, MHA’s Vice President of Clinical Operations. “We can all benefit from open dialogue about mental health and suicide, because just one conversation could save life “We are participating in this awareness effort to achieve a simple goal: to recognize the public health problem so people everywhere can talk about it. Through various media, we’ll be dispelling myths, discussing mental health and encouraging conversations that could be life-saving.”

Among the topics that MHA will be sharing is the agency’s commitment to Zero Suicide, a toolkit specifically designed for health and behavioral health care. “An MHA team applied to attend the Zero Suicide Academy and were accepted,” said Lee. “Our team was trained to implement the Zero Suicide at MHA, including the planning and steps to make this a successful initiative for every member of our staff and every person we serve across the agency.” 

The Zero Suicide kick-off event, “Recognizing Suicide Prevention: Allies in Arms,” will take place at MHA’s main office at 995 Worthington Street in Springfield at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday September 10, which is World Suicide Prevention Day. Local media are encouraged to cover the Zero Suicide launch event as a great example of how MHA is creating awareness, sharing resources and encouraging people to Start Talking About Mental Health.

Why is it so important to talk openly about suicide prevention? Because nearly 50,000 people die from suicide each year in the U.S. alone (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). That’s one death from suicide every 10.5 minutes. The CDC and the Veterans Administration offer some sobering statistics regarding death by suicide:

  • More people die by suicide than from automobile accidents
  • More people die by suicide than homicide 
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death among all Americans
  • Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for ages 15 to 24 years 
  • Veterans are 1.5 times more likely to commit suicide than nonveterans 
  • Veteran women are nearly 2 times more likely to commit suicide than nonveteran women

“During Suicide Prevention Week, MHA is calling attention to our work helping people who struggle with mental health issues, including thoughts of suicide,” said Lee. “We stand ready to provide services and supports focused on preventing a permanent reaction to a temporary problem. To learn more, call MHA’s BestLife Emotional Health and Wellness Center at 844-MHA-WELL.”