University of Washington
Need help now?  Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255
Need Help Now? Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 1.800.273.8255

Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention

Forefront in the Schools teams enter second year
Schools’ team members, including these from Mercer Island High, discussed plans for the coming year during Forefront in the Schools’ 2016 Academy workshop.

Fourteen high schools from across King County are moving ahead with Forefront in the Schools to create suicide safer communities for their students. Cohort school teams composed of administrators, counselors, teachers and parent representatives spent a day at the University of Washington last month to share what they learned last year and prepare for their next steps.

The two-year program, funded by the Jolene McCaw Family Foundation, takes a sustainable, all-inclusive approach in which everyone has a role in suicide prevention. In addition to its team-based approach and evidence-based protocols, the program emphasizes peer power to make suicide prevention and behavioral health a permanent part of the school landscape, says Sue Eastgard, interim director of training and school programs at Forefront.


Debbie Reisert’s countless hours of advance work culminate in many moments of engagement and education in her Packwood community. — Photos by David Friedle

By Marny Lombard

Forefront staff and volunteers took suicide prevention education on the road this Labor Day weekend. They engaged hundreds of Washington residents in conversation, sweeping out the myths of suicide and introducing up-to-date knowledge and messages of hope.

David Yamashita’s mother died by suicide with a prescription drug overdose in 2014. Behind him are 207 yellow markers that symbolize the lives ended that year by poisoning, often with prescription drugs. In all, 1,111 markers make up Forefront’s traveling memorial to the 2014 lives lost to suicide in our state. Yamashita now serves on the Safer Homes Task Force, seeking ways to help prevent similar tragedies.

If someone in your home were struggling with thoughts of suicide, how would you keep your medications from deadly misuse? How could your pharmacist help? Those are the kind of questions that pharmacists on the new Safer Homes Task Force are tackling. “Washington’s rate of prescription drug misuse is one of the highest in the nation. This is fertile ground,” said task force co-chair and Forefront executive director Jennifer Stuber.

The goal is to seek ways in which pharmacists can educate their customers about suicide prevention, especially around the need for safe storage of prescription medications.


Insights Blog

Insight Blog

Sep 19, 2016 -- It's rare to find a person who can accurately and meaningfully describe the unique agony of someone who has lost a loved one to suicide. In fact, it takes someone who has known that pain first-hand. Kristen Spexarth knows it from the loss of her son, Colby, and she has bravely and lovingly found... more
Sep 14, 2016 -- President Obama’s 2016 World Suicide Prevention Day proclamation called upon Americans “to join with neighbors across the globe … [and] get people critical help when they are in crisis and raise awareness of the importance of preventing suicide in every community.” We saw that kind of... more
Aug 26, 2016 -- Gabrielle Glaser’s recent New York Times article, A Suicidologist’s New Challenge: The George Washington Bridge, about the 30-plus years of work of Maddy Gould, Professor at Columbia University, provides a great summary of some of the challenges and groundbreaking work in suicide prevention.... more

First Person

First Person

We need better mental health resources for our kids
By Matthew Thompson, M.D. A teenage boy has had a fight with his sibling that included choking and threats. The teen tells his parent that he felt bad about the fight, but everything lately has been building up. He feels like he wants to kill himself and shares some disturbingly... more
Understanding why adoptees are at higher risk for suicide
By Maureen McCauley Evans, M.A. Most people view adoption as a happy, even blessed, event. A child finds a new family: nothing but joy, right? Adoption can be happy, a blessing, joyful. For some adoptees, though, adoption is complex, and can be filled with as much loss as love.... more
78 years after Hans Maier’s death, his legacy is recalled, renewed & honored
I never met my grandfather, Hans Maier, who died before I was born as a result of suicide in 1937 when he was 49 years old.  I was surprised and amazed when I learned that so many years after he “gave up on his life,” his legacy was being honored in Frankfurt where he had lived and worked... more

Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention