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Suicide Prevention

Every suicide is a tragedy that has a lifelong impact on friends and family and often ripples out into the broader community. Yet suicides can be prevented when people are aware of the warning signs and proactive in starting what may be a life-saving conversation... and when timely treatment and supports are available.

Positive Directions's role includes providing training to raise awareness of warning signs and how to respond, promoting mental health, providing counseling and peer support to those who are struggling with a behavioral health disorder, and helping communities respond in the wake of a suicide. 

Find facts, program resources, support groups related to suicide, and a list of trainings below:

Info & Resources

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Suicide Facts

Suicide is associated with mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, and addiction. Research indicates that probably 1/3 of overdose deaths are actually intentional suicides. These facts point to the best method of prevention: early identification and treatment of mental health and substance use disorders.

  • Typically, 1 in 5 Americans experiences a mental illness each year. ​During COVID, that statistic doubled to 2 in 5.

  • Usually, only about half of those estimated to require mental health treatment receive it. With the increase in need as a result of COVID, it may be even harder for people to access care.

  • According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and data from CDC:

    • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US, with 47,511 deaths in 2019.

    • For every suicide, many more people make an attempt. In 2019, an estimated 1.38 million people attempted suicide nationally. 

    • 69% of suicide deaths in 2019 were White males. The highest suicide rate is among middle-aged White men.

    • Half of all suicide deaths are due to firearms.

    • In CT, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for people ages 10-34 and the 4th cause of death for people ages 35-54. 


Suicide Prevention Training

Positive Directions can provide mental health and suicide related education to workplaces, community groups, and the general public. Contact Margaret to schedule a training, or watch our events page for upcoming programs. 

  • Mental Health First Aid (MHFA): a certification course good for 3 years. Course involves 2 hours of pre-work online, followed by a live training session of 4.5 hours.

  • Question-Persuade-Refer (QPR): A 1.5 hour skills training providing awareness, a 3-step process, and role play to practice the skills needed to recognize and reach out to someone in need. Limited to 30 participants at a time. Can be combined with an overdose/Narcan training (1/2 hour extra).

  • Talk Saves Lives (TSL): A 45-minute presentation providing information to raise awareness about suicide. Suitable for large groups. No role play. 

  • We can connect those interested to other suicide training programs, such as safeTALK (a half-day suicide prevention training) and ASIST (a 2-day suicide intervention training with lots of role play and simulation). 

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Support Options Related to Suicide

If you or someone you know is currently in an urgent suicidal crisis, call 988 to access mobile crisis or 911 for your local first responder team.

  • For people who experience frequent thoughts of suicide, we offer a free, weekly Alternatives to Suicide support group in Westport on Tuesdays at 7pm (starts 10/4/22). Toivo runs an online Alternatives to Suicide support group on Wednesdays from 3:30-4:30pm. 

  • RIPPLE offers a free, late-night peer-led support group on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday nights from 10pm-12am. Info here.

  • For those who have lost a loved one to suicide, suicide loss support groups are run locally in Westport, Trumbull, Darien, and Greenwich. Get & share info by posting this flyer.

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Program & Policy Resources

Policies, plans, and guidance documents for suicide prevention as well as suicide postvention (after a suicide) are available from many sources:

  • The Suicide Prevention Resource Center offers issues briefs, research, webinars, and recommendations. 

  • Find the CT Suicide Prevention Plan 2025 and links to suicide-related resources for different populations from the CT Suicide Advisory Board (CTSAB) at

  • CT has 5 Regional Suicide Advisory Boards (RSABs) that meet quarterly and are affiliated with the CTSAB. In Southwestern CT, The Hub manages the RSAB with Positive Directions as a founding member.

  • Positive Directions is a leading member of the community suicide postvention response teams in the local communities we serve.

  • The Jordan Matthew Porco Foundation in CT offers suicide prevention programs such as college Fresh Check Days and the 4 What's Next coping skills program for high schools.   

  • My Friend Abby, located in Trumbull, provides small grants to youth for mental health and suicide related initiatives. 

  • The JED Foundation focuses on promoting mental health and preventing suicide in the transition years between high school and post-graduate. 

  • Be sure you & everyone in your family has the Crisis Text Line (741741) and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (988) saved in your phone contacts!

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