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Suicide: A Crisis In The Shadows

Justine Barnes holds a photo of her brother, Luke LaCaire, who died by suicide. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)closemore
Justine Barnes holds a photo of her brother, Luke LaCaire, who died by suicide. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Throughout 2015, WBUR's Lynn Jolicoeur reported a series on suicide, which we've termed "a crisis in the shadows."

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The series examined suicide prevention efforts and profiled Massachusetts residents whose lives have been affected by suicide. In the audio segment above, hear Lynn's reflections on the yearlong project, and below, find the complete series:


The 'Biggest Barrier' Is Not Talking About It

Justine Barnes holds a photo of her brother, Luke LaCaire, who died by suicide. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Justine Barnes holds a photo of her brother, Luke LaCaire, who died by suicide. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

“I don’t hold back anymore. My brother died by suicide. My brother struggled.”

Justine Barnes

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The Science Of Suicide

Harvard psychology professor Matt Nock and research assistant Nicole Murman demonstrate the Implicit Association Test related to suicide risk. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
Harvard psychology professor Matt Nock and research assistant Nicole Murman demonstrate the Implicit Association Test related to suicide risk. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

“We may not be able to control if they think about it, but we can help them control what they do about it."

Psychologist Jill Harkavy-Friedman

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Fighting College Suicides

A flyer pinned to a board in an MIT hallway asks: “Have you been feeling sad, blue or down?” (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
A flyer pinned to a board in an MIT hallway asks: “Have you been feeling sad, blue or down?” (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

“It’s a very, very disparate population. You have a large population of grad students, of international students. So I think one of the challenges there is creating a sense of connectedness and community.”

Victor Schwartz, medical director of the Jed Foundation, speaking about MIT

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Attempt Survivors' Hope

Craig Miller made several suicide attempts. But he recovered, turning his mental suffering into a force to help himself and others. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Craig Miller made several suicide attempts. But he recovered, turning his mental suffering into a force to help himself and others. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

"It’s no longer dark, and it no longer hurts. And it’s no longer painful, and it no longer has this power over me that it used to have."

Craig Miller

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Looking To Faith For Answers

Bishop John Borders of Morning Star Baptist Church in Mattapan feels the faith movement has glossed over the pain of those with suicidal feelings. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
Bishop John Borders of Morning Star Baptist Church in Mattapan feels the faith movement has glossed over the pain of those with suicidal feelings. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

“We’re doing a disservice to people who are sitting in the congregation and thinking that their world is a mess and they’re in pain, and instead of embracing them and walking them through it, telling them to dismiss it by using their faith."

Bishop John Borders, of Morning Star Baptist Church in Mattapan

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Steps For Prevention

Optimism is one of several apps that helps people with mental health problems. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Optimism is one of several apps that helps people with mental health problems. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

"I think the most effective [tool to prevent suicide] is educating the public that suicide is a public health issue, that it is largely preventable.

Alan Holmlund, director of the Suicide Prevention Program at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health

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Profiles: Lives Lost To Suicide

“She was a great friend. She had such passion,” Ellen Dalton says of her daughter, Nancy (“Nan”) Cavanaugh, who died by suicide in 2012. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
“She was a great friend. She had such passion,” Ellen Dalton says of her daughter, Nancy (“Nan”) Cavanaugh, who died by suicide in 2012. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

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Valerie Alfeo files through a table full of old family photos at her home in Waltham. Her father, Ted Washburn, took his own life in 2011. He was 54. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Valerie Alfeo files through a table full of old family photos at her home in Waltham. Her father, Ted Washburn, took his own life in 2011. He was 54. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

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Jamie Neal’s family — her father Bob, mother Debbie and brother Abe — at their church in Duxbury (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Jamie Neal’s family — her father Bob, mother Debbie and brother Abe — at their church in Duxbury (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

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Joseph Feaster Jr. with a portrait of his son Joseph Feaster III. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Joseph Feaster Jr. with a portrait of his son Joseph Feaster III. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

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Marlin Collingwood holds a frame containing his favorite photograph of his late husband, Gary Girton, who loved their corgis. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
Marlin Collingwood holds a frame containing his favorite photograph of his late husband, Gary Girton, who loved their corgis. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

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