Old News Archive

Blaine House Event Held to Raise Awareness of Youth Suicide Prevention

September 13, 2006 - TRC


In recognition of National Suicide Prevention Week, September 10-16, the Maine Youth Suicide Prevention Program unveiled two new websites and released the results of a comprehensive school-based suicide prevention program that has just been completed in 12 Maine high schools at a Blaine House Tea on Wednesday, September 13.


AUGUSTA - In recognition of National Suicide Prevention Week, September 10-16, the Maine Youth Suicide Prevention Program unveiled two new websites and released the results of a comprehensive school-based suicide prevention program that has just been completed in 12 Maine high schools at a Blaine House Tea on Wednesday, September 13.

First Lady Karen Baldacci hosted the event and read a proclamation issued by Governor Baldacci citing suicide as "one of the most disruptive and tragic events a family and community can experience." Mrs. Baldacci acknowledged contributions to youth suicide prevention in Maine made in response to the Governor's Executive Order to strengthen he program plan. Sue O'Halloran received an achievement award for her leadership and outstanding service to the program. DHHS Deputy Commissioner for Integrated Services Sabra Burdick said "With the help of many dedicated individuals from around the state, Maine has developed stronger connections between state agencies and with local schools and communities," as she highlighted program accomplishments during the past year.

Each year in the United States, more than 30,000 people die by suicide and more than 535,000 are seen in emergency rooms for self-inflicted injuries. In Maine, an average of 150 suicides occur annually, approximately 20 of whom are teens and young adults. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death in Maine for youth ages 15-24 and a leading cause of self-inflicted injury hospitalizations and emergency room visits.

Cheryl DiCara, Coordinator of the Department of Health and Human Services' Maine Youth Suicide Prevention Program said "Under the leadership of the Governor, the First Lady and the Children's Cabinet, the Maine Youth Suicide Prevention Program delivers training programs, educational resources and other assistance to Maine schools and communities to equip staff to identify young people at risk and get them to helping resources. Multiple enhancements to the program were achieved this year."

"Many individuals worked with the program towards its goals of increasing public awareness about youth suicide prevention and improving youth access to prevention and intervention services," DiCara said.

Suicide prevention involves identifying and addressing risk factors with effective interventions. Just as suicide results from a complex set of factors, suicide prevention requires a multi-faceted approach involving professionals, families, government, friends, educators, public safety, religious leaders and the media.

Effective strategies include increasing awareness of risk factors and warning signs, removing lethal means of suicide from the individual's environment, treating behavioral health issues and strengthening family and community supports.

"We believe that working together, we can save lives," DiCara said.

The program plan is consistent with the recommendations of the National Suicide Prevention Strategy. The Statewide Program is led by the Department of Health and Human Services and is a collaborative effort among the agencies of the Governor's Children's Cabinet, chaired by First Lady Karen Baldacci.

The program posts helpful information on its new website, including links to many helpful resources. It can be found at: http://www.mainesuicideprevention.org

If you are concerned about someone, or have questions regarding suicide, please contact the statewide toll-free crisis number, 1-888-568-1112. It is available 24 hours a day and will connect the caller directly to the crisis provider in his/her community.


NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.