The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention recognizes the Saturday before Thanksgiving each year as International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day. You can find support events organized across the country here.
The Samaritans offer local support for survivors of suicide loss year-round through their grief support services, including SafePlace meetings – which are free, ongoing, and drop-in. You can find more on these services here.
To prevent suicide, the Samaritans offer 24/7 crisis services at 877 870 4673. They operate the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1 800 273 8255) in our greater Boston area.
And everyone in the legal profession should understand the importance of being prepared to help. Practicing law in itself comprises a profile of risk factors, and there have been startling trends — highlighted by Foster Web Marketing in this way:
- Fifteen attorney suicides since 2010 in Kentucky
- Six attorney suicides in 18 months in South Carolina
- One suicide a month for an entire year in Oklahoma
A few years back, CNN posed the difficult (and problematically-worded) question with the headline “Why are lawyers killing themselves?” Appropriate language would ask why lawyers are dying by suicide, which “removes culpability from the person who lost their life and allows for a discussion about the disease or disorder they were suffering from.” (NBC News on Why Mental Health Advocates Use the Words ‘Died by Suicide’ — and apparently CNN knows better too, just can’t manage the volume they put out.)
Two of our clinicians here, Shawn Healy, PhD and Jeff Fortgang, PhD, coauthored The Full Weight of the Law, a book recently published by the ABA (and available in our lending library). It isn’t designed as a tool to prevent an instance of suicide, but it contains chapter on suicide and information that can empower individuals to prevent themselves or others from starting down the paths that lead there. As our marketing director I’ll admit bias here, but: Every lawyer, law student, and person just forming the desire to be a lawyer should read this book. If you’re a part the culture already, you can improve it in a small way, and small improvements can save lives. Very few in our profession, and even fewer that are about to join it, understand the full weight of the law, and the knowledge alone is so powerful — please acquire it.