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Springfield Conference Addresses Suicide Problem

Suicide prevention

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Each day in the United States there are nearly 40,000 suicides.

That’s more than 100 a day and there’s one specific segment of the population at high risk.

“Most people don’t realize that the majority of people who die by suicide are a very specific population, white men of working age,” says Sally Spencer-Thomas, the CEO of the Carson J. Spencer Foundation.

And that’s why professionals in the field gathered at the Springfield College School of Social Work on Thursday to talk about suicide prevention and intervention .

The guest speaker, Sally Spencer-Thomas, lost her own brother to suicide.

“Carson was a 34-year old business leader and entrepreneur who happened to have bi-polar disorder. He struggled in silence. Sometimes, he would get help but ultimately that bi-polar disorder proved to be fatal,” says Sally Spencer-Thomas.

She says symptoms of suicidal problems can include agitation, trouble sleeping, appetite loss, aggressive behavior and substance abuse, but she says people should understand there is help available.

“Most of the conditions that lead to suicide are biologically based medical conditions like depression or bi-polar disorder and we know how to treat that,” says Sally Spencer-Thomas.

Medication and therapy can help, but men tend to keep their feelings inside.

“Men are a lot less likely to engage in help and support in their lives whether that’s through mental health counseling or therapy, there’s less of an engagement by men,”says Robert Reardon, Director of health Services for Tapestry Health.

The challenges in preventing suicides are to link treatment available to those at risk.

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