News Briefs

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and for many the subject of suicide is off limits. They believe the mere mention of suicide around friends and family can cause suicidal thoughts for them. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Approximately ­47,500 Americans died by their own hand in 2019, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death in this nation. Suicide rates in the US have climbed 33% in the last decade. One of the ways to reduce that number is by talking about suicide and suicidal ideation, which can spur meaningful conversations about mental health and potentially save lives.

Even more concerning is that suicide and suicide attempts among our nation’s youth (ages 10-24) are on the rise. According to information released last year by the CDC, 19% of youth had seriously considered attempting suicide, 16% had made a suicide plan, 9% had made a suicide attempt, and 2.5% had made a suicide attempt that was significant enough to require medical treatment.

Join the conversation, and reach out to those who have been personally affected by suicide, raise awareness, and connect those struggling with suicidal ideation to professional counselors and treatment services that can help them.

If your child or someone you love is struggling with depression or thinking about suicide, get help now. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), is a free resource, available 24 hours a day for anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. The Crisis Text Line is a free 24/7 text line where trained crisis counselors support individuals in crisis. Text “Jason” to 741741 to speak with a compassionate, trained Crisis Counselor. Confidential support 24/7, for free.

The Jason Foundation (JFI) is another available resource.  Although September is set aside as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, JFI works toward suicide prevention all year long. JFI is dedicated to the awareness and prevention of youth suicide through educational programs that equip youth, parents, educators, and the community with the tools and resources to identify and assist at-risk youth. Many times, young people exhibit clear warnings signs prior to an attempt. By knowing the warning signs and knowing how to help, you could save a life.  Visit The Jason Foundation’s website to learn more about youth suicide, the warning signs, and how you can help make a difference.  JFI has never charged a school, community, or individual for the use of their programs or resources.

SEIU Endorses Chavez for School Comm.

SEIU Local 509 is proud to endorse Jacqueline Chavez for Revere School Committee. Jacqueline has the invaluable, first hand experience of working in our public schools as an educator and an expertise on education policy through her work at DESE. She carries with her the lived experiences of many families in Revere and she will be an excellent leader and champion for students and families.

Metro Tech Awarded State Grant to WARD Health Assisting Programs

Superintendent David DiBarri is pleased to announce that Northeast Metro Tech has received a $61,000 Skills Capital Grant from the Baker-Polito Administration.

The grant was announced during a ceremony held at Peabody Veterans Memorial High School on Monday, Aug. 16, during which Gov. Charlie Baker handed out Skills Capital Grants to 47 educational organizations.

The School will use the grant to expand career and technical education opportunities in its Health Assisting and Dental Assisting programs, which serve more than 100 students. The District will purchase new medical equipment necessary to enable Northeast students to successfully compete for high-paying jobs in high-demand fields.

“Thank you to Gov. Baker and his administration for this support,’” Superintendent DiBarri said. “There will be a large demand for workers in the health-care industry in the next decade. This grant will allow our students to learn on state-of-the-art equipment, making their education relevant and their job prospects bright.”

Through its Skills Capital Grants, the Baker-Polito Administration has worked to increase the number of students enrolled in programs where they can learn and train for occupations in high-demand careers.

“The Skills Capital Grants have helped give thousands of young people opportunities in high-demand jobs, and the grants have had a tremendous impact on students, schools and local businesses,” Gov. Baker said. “These significant investments made over the past six years in this program with our partners in the Legislature will help train students to adapt to the changing needs of our economy.”

Skills Capital Grants are awarded to educational institutions that are able to showcase their partnerships with local businesses and whose curriculum and credentials seek to meet the demand of growing industries in the Commonwealth. More than 300 educational programs have received financial support from the Skills Capital Grant initiative, Gov. Baker announced that the Workforce Skills Cabinet funding has now exceeded $100 million.

“Massachusetts is ranked as one of the top economies for innovation. When you think about innovation, you think about the problems that exist in the world, and the people who have the skills and knowhow to fix them,” Lt. Gov. Polito said. “To continue to be competitive, we need to invest in skills development, and in educational opportunities.”

STATE Observes Overdose Awareness Day

Massachusetts recognized August 31 as Overdose Awareness Day – a day held to remember the lives lost to overdoses, to dispel stigma surrounding addictions and to offer hope and recognize individuals’ recovery from substance use disorder.

In observance of the day, and in memory of individuals lost due to substance use disorder, all four state-operated bridges – the Zakim, Longfellow, and Fore River bridges in Greater Boston and the Burns Bridge in Worcester – and Boston’s South Station and Government Center transit hubs were lit up in purple, the color associated with the awareness campaign. A number of landmark locations across the Commonwealth were also illuminated purple, including municipal buildings like Boston City Hall.

Between 1999 and 2019, the opioid overdose crisis claimed nearly 500,000 lives in the United States and each day an average of 136 Americans die from an overdose on prescription pain medication, heroin, or fentanyl.

To recognize the day, Go. Baker issued a proclamation declaring August 31 Overdose Awareness Day in Massachusetts, writing in part:

“As a national public health crisis, the opioid overdose epidemic continues to devastate our communities not only through the tremendous loss of life and associated trauma to families and loved ones, but also through a profound economic strain on individuals and families in health care costs, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement …[and]…we should be encouraged to continue in our efforts to provide our loved ones, friends, coworkers, and neighbors with the support they need to overcome addiction.”

The Fiscal Year 2022 budget signed by Governor Baker last month includes a provision codifying the practice of issuing a proclamation each year for Overdose Awareness Day.

The proclamation reinforces the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to combating substance use in Massachusetts, including the most recent announcement of over $30 million in state funding for regional/statewide services to provide pathways to stability and recovery for individuals facing homelessness and substance use disorders. These include $19 million for Housing First-model low-threshold permanent housing and support services in Brockton, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, Quincy, Springfield, and Worcester, $3.2 million for street outreach to people experiencing homelessness and substance use disorder, and a $10 million capital fund that will increase the amount of permanent supportive housing in the Commonwealth.

 To learn about addiction treatment and recovery services, visit the Massachusetts Department of Public Health website at

If you or a friend or family member is struggling with substance use, please call the Massachusetts Substance Use Helpline at 800-327-5050, or visit

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