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Suicide Prevention Leaders from Across Mass to be Honored at State House March 12
Leaders from Andover, Berkshires, South Shore, Nantucket and Newburyport to receive honors
BOSTON – On Monday, March 12, 2018, leaders from across Massachusetts will be recognized as part of the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention (MCSP) annual "Leadership in Suicide Prevention" event at the State House. This year'sawardees come from across the state, including Andover, the Berkshires, South Shore, Nantucket and Newburyport.
The Leadership in Suicide Prevention awards will be presented by legislators in the Great Hall at the State House starting at 9 a.m. The event is free and open to the public.
Leadership in Suicide Prevention awardees include:
Janice McCarthy – C.O.P.S.S., Andover
Janice McCarthy of Andover founded the non-profit Care of Police Suicide Survivors (C.O.P.S.S.), following the suicide death of her husband, a former captain in the Massachusetts State Police. Janice has since trained law enforcementofficers across the state and country, including at Quantico headquarters in Virginia. Janice initiated (H 2496), a bill in the Massachusetts State Legislature to require mental wellness, suicide prevention, and PTSD training for policeofficers. Nine legislators have signed onto the bill, which in now under review with the Joint Committee for Health Care Financing.
Marney Schorr - Arts in Recovery for Youth, The Berkshires
Marney Schorr of Pittsfield has worked with the Berkshire Coalition for Suicide Prevention to develop Arts in Recovery for Youth, a peer support group for youth ages 13-to-24 who suffer from suicidal thoughts and behaviors. The 12-weekprogram helps participants develop a sense of safety, a hope kit, and strategies for self-soothing with arts and meditation. Through the "caring contact" approach, the program seeks to increase social supports and resources for the youth.Each program culminates in an art show for youth, family, friends, clinicians and the entire community. The program launched in Pittsfield in 2017 and is now looking to expand in North and South Berkshire County.
WATD 95.9 FM Radio Station, South Shore
WATD's Rob Hakala, host of "The South Shore's Morning News"; and Gregg Brasso, host of "Veterans' Voice" spent numerous hours on-air over the past year discussing the public health issue of suicide; providing interviews with preventionexperts, and featuring the voices of impacted residents and veterans. WATD staff, station-wide stepped-up as well, contributing to suicide prevention fundraising efforts, and volunteering at events. The staff of WATD have continually broughtthe topic of suicide prevention to the forefront, sharing help line numbers and suicide statistics and providing interviews with legislators and people with personal and family experiences with suicide live on the air.
City of Newburyport
The City of Newburyport has worked for years to create a community-wide approach to suicide prevention. The city has traced depression and suicidal behaviors through a nationwide youth survey for 10 years. Newburyport youth developed the"It's Our 20" campaign, which revolves around the fact that 20 percent of students self-report feeling sad or hopeless. They have trained school staff and community members as well as students. Since implementation of the student screening,Newburyport has seen a 50 percent decrease in the number of self-reported suicide attempts. This community-wide approach is due to a collaboration and partnership with youth services, the school department, mental health providers, the youthcouncil, nurses, and other organizations, including the Samaritans of Merrimack Valley.
Sergeant Kevin Marshall - Nantucket Police Department
Over the past decade, Sergeant Marshall has brought suicide prevention efforts to all corners of Nantucket Island and across the Cape. Sergeant Marshall co-chairs the Cape and Islands Coalition for Suicide Prevention and the NantucketBehavioral Health task force. He serves as the Elder Affairs officer for Nantucket and is an annual supporter of the SOS program at the Nantucket middle and high schools. Sergeant Marshall organizes and leads the annual Ribbon of RemembranceCeremony. He started a middle school youth education and leadership program called "Yell" where students provide peer education. And throughout his work, Sergeant Marshall has provided over 22 QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) trainings tonearly 400 individuals on the island and the Cape. He is also a resource and support for the LGBT community.
"Speak up to Save Lives" State House Advocacy Day Event
Following the awards ceremony, suicide prevention advocates will visit legislators as part of the State House Advocacy Day "Speak up to Save Lives" to advocate for additional suicide prevention funding in the state budget. For the thirdyear, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is partnering with MCSP on the advocacy day event, which will be begin March 12 at 12 p.m. with lunch.
Lunch will be followed by a brief information session on effective advocacy and current policy issues. Registered participants will then participate in several in-person prearranged visits with state legislators. Interested participants canregister here: https://www.congressweb.com/signup/?id=68D54207-C03A-593A-E3B7C449A534FCC9
About the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention:
MCSP works to create a Commonwealth where everyone is involved in breaking the silence around suicide. Through statewide advocacy and collaboration, the Coalition is working hard to prevent suicide. Learn more at www.MassPreventsSuicide.org.
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Gregg Brasso, The Voice Of Veterans' Voice
As a member of a Gold Star family, Gregg Brasso realized at an early age that veterans and their family issues carry on long after the wars have ended. After a career in high tech sales and marketing, Gregg spent over 8 years helping veterans identify and apply for local, state, and federal programs and benefits they had earned. While working as an outreach specialist with the Veterans Upward Bound Program at UMASS Boston, Gregg helped veterans identify military transfer credits, GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon benefits, and help plan educational paths that will lead to post-secondary education and meaningful full-time careers. The Veterans' Voice radio show continues to address these and other veterans' issues and continues to provide direction to benefit applications.
US Family Health Plan & MassBay Community College