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

Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention

Rx for suicide prevention: Task force starts work
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 in 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.

Read more...

Mark Oravsky, right, and Brent Erwin tackle a project at Victory Farms, where veterans work side by side to regain their sense of purpose, build a solid sense of identity and develop strong community roots. (Jo Arlow Photography)

Forefront’s grassroots network of suicide prevention advocates includes military veterans who are helping their fellow vets, whose risk of suicide is significantly higher than the general public’s.  For example, Mark Oravsky is cultivating opportunity and hope at Victory Farms.  

By Lisa Wahbe

Read more...
“Our lives are built around stories. It’s the fabric of society,” says Tom Skerritt, whose Red Badge Project helps Wounded Warriors use storytelling to explore their emotions and heal invisible wounds. (Photo by Katie M. Simmons)

By Lisa Wahbe

We sit down on a comfy couch with a cup of tea. Tom’s cat slinks easily from his lap to mine and back again as we begin to talk about his work with military veterans. After a few poignant comments, the Forefront supporter quickly transitions to art, a subject where he clearly feels at home. He explains it’s all storytelling, whether it’s through Van Gogh’s painting of southern France or acting. He feels one can measure the success of an artist by how many people the artist has touched. 

While he doesn’t profess to indulge in the analysis, Tom Skerritt has thoughtfully reflected on his art and life: He speaks about taking risks, “making good and not-so-good” choices and learning from them. He speaks about being in this game of life together.

Read more...


Insights Blog

Insight Blog

Jul 06, 2016 -- Three recent encounters left me musing about the importance of empathy and emotional well-being in the lives of those we love and touch. We all meet proud parents. Parents whose joy in their children shines like an aura. In my travels, I crossed paths with such a parent recently. As we... more
Jun 30, 2016 -- Most of us know that State Rep. Tina Orwall has been a strong voice in Western Washington on suicide prevention.  Now The Seattle Times, the largest daily newspaper in Washington, is citing that advocacy in endorsing Orwall for re-election to her 33rd Legislative District seat. The... more
Jun 17, 2016 -- Upon returning from the Mental Health America annual convention in Washington, D.C., I am inspired by seeing and meeting and hearing from so many people working to change the conversation about mental illness and suicide.   I moderated a panel called "Reporting of Mental Illness —... 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