The city of Milton will host a community conversation about suicide and suicide prevention at 6:30 p.m. in Milton City Hall Council Chambers on World Suicide Prevention Day, Sept. 10.
The community forum, hosted in partnership with The Summit Counseling Center, will include an expert panel of parents, counselors, medical experts, and youth leaders.
Overall, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States and the second-leading cause of death among people ages 15 to 24. On average, there are 129 suicides per day in the U.S. Despite these staggering statistics, there's still a myth that talking about suicide then causes suicide, but research shows the opposite — engaging someone in a deliberate, caring conversation about suicide is shown to be the first step toward preventing suicide.
The conversation is being held during National Suicide Prevention Week, an annual week-long campaign in the United States to inform and engage health professionals and the general public about suicide prevention and the warning signs of suicide.
"If Milton is to be the best place to call home, we must be willing to discuss difficult topics like suicide," Milton Mayor Joe Lockwood said. "We recognize that talking about suicide removes the stigma and is the first step toward prevention, and we want to give our residents a forum in which to do so."
The town-hall-style conversation will include two Milton mothers, Britt Beene and Lauralyn Mustaki, who lost their Cambridge High School teenagers to suicide. Each mom has a unique story to tell, but both will share powerful messages filled with important parenting insights, understanding, and hope.
"Through this open conversation, we're hoping to reduce the stigma and shame of mental health issues and suicide, and bring awareness to the community," Jason Howard, Care Pastor at Stonecreek Church, Associate Therapist with The Summit Counseling Center, and moderator for the forum said. "We want to help the community become more aware of the signs that someone is struggling, and how important it is to support them."
In addition to the town hall forum, the City will host The Summit Counseling Center in Community Place at Milton City Hall on Sept. 22, at 5 p.m. for a "Trusted Adult" training. The training is free and open to anyone who wants to learn how to identify, respond and react appropriately to warning signs and risk factors related to suicide. Questions regarding the panel discussion and training should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seating in Council Chambers is limited, and registration is required to attend this free event. Attendees can register for this event by the visiting Eventbrite page at miltonconversation.eventbrite.com.
Milton will livestream the forum that night from the city's website, cityofmiltonga.us, and make the recording available on the website for public viewing.