University of Washington
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Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention

Promising steps for rural suicide prevention
Life in rural Washington has both challenges and opportunities for suicide prevention.  (Photo courtesy of Kathy Admire Photography)

In a small rural community you know everyone and their story, says Steve McCullough, who’s spent the past 15 years as an administrator for the sole pre-K-12 public school in the tiny northeast Washington town of Curlew. He’s seen students and their families struggle with poverty, unemployment, mental illness, substance abuse and other risk factors for suicide. As in most rural areas, it’s easy to access a gun but hard to get help for—or even talk about—issues related to suicide or mental illness.


Forefront's Stephen Miller is keenly aware of the challenges facing youth and young adults experiencing homelessness. — Photo by Sue Lockett John

Imagine, for a moment, not knowing where you will eat or sleep tonight. Imagine that winning the lottery doesn’t mean millions, but refers to being one of the lucky 45 youth and young adults who will be able to sleep in a church basement on a foam pad.  Being unwelcome in most businesses, and subject to arrest for trespassing and loitering for the simple act of using the restroom. Imagine having the ingenuity and guts to navigate these and other challenges every day because it’s better than going back to a family that’s abusive, unaccepting, unable or non-existent.

Matt Taylor looks forward to supporting and enhancing Forefront’s mission to advance policy, training, media and education for suicide prevention. — Photo by Enrique Garcia

By Lisa Wahbe

Matt Taylor greets me with a warm genuine smile the first time we meet. His demeanor is at once unassuming and engaged. I can tell quickly that I am going to like this English-born transplant. He starts asking me questions, though he is supposedly the one being interviewed, and he seems sincerely interested in my responses. Clearly, his fascination with people runs deep.


Insights Blog

Insight Blog

Jul 13, 2015 -- I had the privilege of traveling to the Dallas Morning News to attend a special two-and-a-half day workshop on “Coverage of Suicide and Mental Health,” sponsored by the highly-regarded journalism think tank – the Poynter Institute.    Some two dozen journalists attended,... more
Jul 07, 2015 -- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, written in the aftermath of World War II, outlines the unalienable rights and freedoms of all people. While this document is considered a progressive work, people suffering from conditions that lead to suicidal ideations and actions have consistently... more
Jun 18, 2015 -- Saturday, June 13, was a very special night at KING/NWCN in Seattle for mental health awareness and education. Seven storytellers, all battling one or more mental health conditions from depression to bipolar to anxiety disorder, came together from their leadership positions in the... more

First Person

First Person

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