Suicide: A Crisis In The Shadows

An occasional WBUR series on the quiet crisis of suicide.

Suicide: A Crisis In The Shadows

December 03, 2015
Justine Barnes holds a photo of her brother, Luke LaCaire, who died by suicide. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

The 2015 series examined suicide prevention efforts and profiled Massachusetts residents whose lives have been affected by suicide.

Lessons Learned On The Issue Of Suicide: A Reporter’s Reflections

December 03, 2015

All this year, WBUR’s Lynn Jolicoeur has been reporting on a public health problem that’s pervasive yet seldom makes headlines: suicide.

Tools To Prevent Suicide Include Awareness — And Apps

December 02, 2015
Optimism is an app 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,” said Alan Holmlund, of the Massachusetts Suicide Prevention Program.

‘Stick Around One More Day’: Message Of Hope After Medford Man’s Suicide

October 26, 2015
Marlin Collingwood holds a frame containing his favorite photograph of his late husband, Gary Girton, who loved their corgis. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Marlin Collingwood is working to carry on the legacy of his late husband, who died by suicide last year, by teaching people how to be vocal, supportive caregivers for their depressed loved ones and how to talk openly about suicide.

‘Everything Is Grace’: Looking To Faith For Answers To Suicide

October 26, 2015
Hudson resident Kathleen Laplante wrote a book about how her renewed Catholic faith helped her heal from her father's suicide and her own struggle with being suicidal. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Major western religions’ ideas of suicide as sinful or shameful have evolved, and many religious leaders now stress new approaches to supporting those suffering from depression.

‘I Don’t See Any Stigma’: Father Fights Suicide In Black Community After Son’s Death

July 29, 2015
Joseph Feaster Jr. with a portrait of his son Joseph Feaster III. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

The death of Joseph Feaster Jr.’s son, who died by suicide in 2010, caused the Boston father to dedicate his time toward raising awareness of and fighting stigmas around mental illness.

‘It's No Longer Dark’: Suicide Attempt Survivors Share Messages Of Hope

July 29, 2015
Mary Esther Rohman tried to commit suicide many times when she was younger. But now, she's in a very different place. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Until the last year or so, the experiences of suicide attempt survivors were largely excluded from suicide prevention work.

A Life Filled With Promise Is Overpowered By A Complex Web Of Pain And Trauma

May 12, 2015

Jamie Neal, a stand-out student and athlete, was 21 when she took her own life. Suicide had become her desperate attempt to escape not only mental illness, but sexual assault and drug addiction.

Colleges Work To Prevent Suicide And Fight Stigma Around Mental Health On Campus

May 11, 2015
A training session for WPI’s Student Support Network. The group has more than 400 members, trained and known around campus for their ability to intervene and help students dealing with mental health issues. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

With suicide the second-leading cause of death for people of college age, many schools are trying to determine what additional steps they can take to try prevent suicide among students.

After Cluster Of Suicides, MIT Works To Relieve Student Pressure, Raise Awareness

May 11, 2015
Student climb the steps of the Rogers building at MIT. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

MIT is not the only higher education institution to struggle with suicide clusters. But the school and its students, widely considered among the world’s most elite, are taking some very open steps to confront the problem.

Federal Mental Health Chief Calls Rising Suicide Rate ‘Unacceptable’

March 20, 2015

We speak with Dr. Tom Insel about the state of research into and understanding of suicide.

The Science Of Suicide: Researchers Work To Determine Who’s Most At Risk

March 20, 2015
Harvard psychology professor Matt Nock and research assistant Nicole Murman demonstrate the Implicit Association Test related to suicide risk. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

In the latest story in our series, we examine what researchers are doing to try to prevent suicide.

Wishing They Asked Tough Questions: Reflecting On A Father’s Suicide

March 19, 2015
Valerie Alfeo files through a table full of family photos at her home in Waltham. Her father, Ted Washburn, took his own life in 2011. He was 54. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Ted Washburn, 54, took his own life in 2011. His children Valerie and TJ recall their father and his struggles.

‘She Was Able To Put On A Happy Face’: Big Personality Masked Pain That Led To Suicide

February 05, 2015
Nancy Cavanaugh (Courtesy of the family)

A performer “who made everybody laugh,” Nan Cavanaugh stood out. But maybe that was a way for her to mask her pain. Her family remembers her.

‘The Biggest Barrier’ To Preventing Suicide: Not Talking About It

February 05, 2015
Justine Barnes holds a photo of her brother, Lucas LaCaire. “I don’t hold back anymore. My brother died by suicide. My brother struggled,” Justine says. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

So often, suicide is hidden. We speak with those who’ve lost a loved one to suicide about their efforts to bring it out of the shadows.

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