There is a lot of help for people suffering as well as for people looking to help loved ones.
Kate Eisenberg, the Chair of the Massachusetts Chapter of The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, says the organization has four main areas: advocacy, education, survivor support, and research.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
The pandemic is taking a toll of people's mental health, in general. Is it leading to a higher rate of suicide?
"The numbers lag so behind the events that we don't actually know," says AFSP Board of Directors member Nancy Farrell. She says, "What we do know is that calls to the lifeline and other calls for help are showing that more than 50% of the callers are expressing depression, anxiety, concern, isolation. All of those feelings bring a higher risk of suicide. We won't know, unfortunately, for a while, if that brings about a higher rate."
"There's a benefit, though, to talking about it. So, the kind of silver lining to people calling and asking for help is that they are calling and asking for help," Farrell says.
Currently, the lifeline is 800-273-TALK or you can text the word "TALK" to 741741.
But, there is a brand new three-digit lifeline that is being rolled out over the next two years: 988.
"If you're in the midst of the crisis or your family member's in the midst of a crisis, you may not remember a ten-digit number. So, we worked with organizations across the country to come up with a three-digit number, and that law has just passed," says Farrell.
The AFSP spends a lot of its time and money on outreach and research. "We are one of the largest funders of research of suicide and suicide prevention," says Lyndsey Nunes, AFSP Secretary and Co-Fundraising Chair.
She adds, "We then put funds toward educating the public about mental health."
A lot of their outreach has moved to virtual video programs since the beginning of the pandemic, which has allowed them, Nunes says, to reach even more survivors of suicide and those helping loved ones who are hurting.
The AFSP has not been able to do their normal walks this year but they have been hosting "Out of the Darkness" virtual experiences where people can do their own walks and raise money for the AFSP.
You can go to AFSP.org/MAWalks to see what walks are going on near you.
See the entire This is New England interview with Colton Bradford above.
And this Sunday, November 1st, at 6:00pm, join us on the NECN Facebook page for a live celebration of all the work the AFSP has been doing and to learn how you can support the cause.