Suicide Is one of our greatest public health problems. Suicide in Massachusetts takes nearly three times as many lives as homicide. Between 2003 and 2011, nearly 4,500 residents in the state committed suicide. The anguish and despair endured by these people before suicide, not to imagine the grief and heartbreak of families, friends, and loved ones afterward, is unimaginable.
Against this painful backdrop, a tiny segment of the Samaritans community — the lone nonprofit organization in Eastern Massachusetts dedicated to suicide prevention — has chosen to place personal grievances and agendas above the mission to serve those in need (“Framingham Samaritans lament closed office, layoffs,” Metro, June 12). This is truly unfortunate. The location of a call center is irrelevant in the face of ever-increasing demand for suicide prevention services, especially in the digital age, where communication happens by text and e-mail.
Samaritans has vastly expanded its reach and services in Massachusetts over the past decade, but much more needs to be done. Thankfully, the overwhelming majority of the Samaritans community is focused on what’s most important — saving lives in every corner of the state.
The writer is a former member of the Samaritans board.