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In This Issue:
Share the Lovelove
In a few days, many of us will celebrate romantic love and the affection that exists between family members or friends. At Samaritans, Valentine's Day is also a day for displaying extra love and compassion to those who are strong enough to reach out for help. We want to remind as many as we can that "you are not alone." People may be estranged from their families, have recently left a relationship, moved to a new location or are suffering from conditions or feelings that keep them from connecting with others. Samaritans is always here. With an open heart, great care and attention, listening to the stories shared. We listen for and assess the risk for suicide of those who are troubled. We create a safe place for the voices that describe sometimes painful circumstances. Hope is found in the connection that is made and the planning that is done to help someone through a difficult time. We feel great appreciation to all of you who help us do this work each and every day. Thank you.  
Tonight: The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act Becomes a Lawclay

We are so excited to announce that President Obama will sign the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act into law tonight!


This law will provide mental health professionals and organizations with financial incentives to work with the VA and will require the Pentagon and VA suicide prevention programs to undergo third-party reviews. It also further assists military veterans in their transition from active duty to civilian life.


The bill is named for Marine Corps veteran and sniper who took his own life in 2011 after having served tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He was just one of the estimated 8,000 veterans who die by suicide each year at the shocking rate of 22 deaths by suicide per day. The rates of veteran suicide far surpass those of the general population. According to the Veterans Affairs Department (VA) Suicide Prevention Report from 2014, veterans are facing increasing rates of suicide every year, particularly male vets under 30.


At the signing ceremony, President Obama will be joined by Hunt's parents, veteran advocate and close friend of Hunt, Jake Wood, First Lady Michelle Obama, and VA Secretary Robert McDonald as well as members of military and Congress, veterans and veteran advocates.

Our 2015 Boston Marathon Team!MarathonTeam

In just three months, 14 dedicated people will run 26.2 miles for suicide prevention in the Boston Marathon. Some are survivors, running to remember siblings, parents and friends lost to suicide. Others are running to celebrate their success in a personal struggle with depression and bi-polar disorder.


As they run the country's most prestigious marathon on April 20, 22 people will die by suicide in the United States. Another 550 people will attempt to take their own lives. Help the team reach their collective goal of $130,000 for our life saving services.

Thanks to the John Hancock Boston Marathon Non-Profit, this is the 8th consecutive year that Samaritans will have a team running 26.2 miles in the most prestigious marathon in the country. Each month through April, we will be introducing you to a few members of our outstanding team:


  • Kim Gagnon: this is Kim's seventh consecutive year running the Boston Marathon for Samaritans in memory of her sister, Jodi Ann. An accountant, mother of four, and member of Samaritans' board, Kim is excited to run the marathon for Jodi Ann and for everyone suffering from mental illness. To make a donation toward Kim's goal of $10,000 for suicide prevention or learn more about her, visit her CrowdRise page 
  • Ray Neves: Ray is running the marathon in memory of his long-time friend and roommate, Christian. Though this is Ray's first marathon, he has participated in several Ironman competitions. He and his wife, Lisa, have been a member of Christian's Team at the 5K for the past 10 years, and looks forward to running the Boston Marathon in Christian's memory. To make a donation toward Ray's goal of $5,000 for suicide prevention or learn more about him, visit his CrowdRise page.
  • Bryanna Reddy: Bryanna recently started her career as a speech language pathologist and looks forward to running her first marathon in memory of her friend Mark. She is honored to be running for everyone who has lost a loved one to suicide. To make a donation toward Bryanna's goal of $5,000 for suicide prevention or to learn more about her, visit her CrowdRise page

Help the team reach their collective goal of $130,000 for our life saving services:

Team member Mo on her weekend run

Contact Team Manager Eve about supporting or joining the team! 

  • Participating in a physical challenge of your choosing and want to raise awareness and funds for suicide prevention at the same time? Contact Eve Rabinowitz for more information about joining Samaritans' Running Community - even if it's not a running event, we're always open to new ideas and would love to find a way to work with you! 
Volunteer Spotlight: Meet JuliaJulia
Samaritans Volunteer Julia
In 2013, Julia received an orange during Happier Boston, a campaign to make Boston a happier and healthier place, and soon attended an info session at Samaritans to learn more about becoming a volunteer. "I wanted to be a befriender because it's important for folks to have a listening ear; someone to be there for them without judging or trying to fix things. I think its important to let people know that someone will listen when they need help or are suffering, or both.

My favorite thing about being a befriender is getting to know all the people who call us. Sometimes we're literally the only people that know what's going on in their lives, or the only people who care. I also love my shift-mates! Samaritans is an unusual collection of people, from all sort of backgrounds, that share a similar worldview. It's been great forming friendships with all the folks that volunteer with me. 

My experience as a volunteer has been much better than I imagined it would be. I don't think I realized the impact that even one befriender like me could have, in such small ways. A caller recently told me that Samaritans was the highlight of his day, every day.

When I tell people I volunteer at Samaritans, I explain that though there are intense moments, they are worth it. I think a lot of people do not understand that a large part of suicide prevention doesn't happen at the height of a life-threatening crisis. A lot of it is being the support, in the small moments where maybe you're the ONLY person who asks and genuinely cares how someone's day is. Or you're the only person that believes their side of the story and validates how they feel. If someone tells me they are interested in becoming a befriender, I tell them that if you approach a situation from a place of empathy and compassion, it can make such a difference, in ways large and small, and it can absolutely be worth the time and effort." 

Thanks for sharing, Julia! Befriending is a crucial service - and we need volunteers in order to provide it to all of those in need. If you think you would make a good befriender, contact us about attending an information session.
WBUR's New Series on Suicidewbur
"The numbers are stunning" begins WBUR's well-named new series on suicide called "Suicide: A Crisis in the Shadows." The first edition of the series came out last week, with interviews from our Director of Grief Support Services, Debbie DiMasi, and Clinical Consultant Jack Jordan in addition to other experts in the suicide prevention community and survivors of suicide. 

News coverage like this are vital to spreading awareness about suicide prevention. We are so pleased to be a part of this series - read and listen here
Comfort Zone Campczc

When a loved one is lost to suicide, grieving families and friends often find support by connecting with others who have been through something similar and are able to understand the profound grief and complexities that accompany such a loss. Children who have lost a loved one to suicide are no different and can also find comfort in being with others who understand the loss. For the fifth consecutive year, in collaboration with Comfort Zone Camp and the MA

Department of Public Health, we are offering a specialized one day camp for children who have lost an immediate or extended family member to suicide. In addition to traditional camp activities, the program is designed to break the isolation that families of suicide loss often feel, introduce peers who can personally relate to the loss, provide mentorship and professional therapeutic services, and identify healthy coping skills for managing grief.


While the children partake in camp, another

session will be offered simultaneously for parents and caregivers where they are invited to share their experiences among peers who can relate to their loss, receive support, and learn how they can best support their children's efforts to manage their grief in healthy ways.


The camp will be held on Saturday, June 27, at Camp Harbor View in Boston and is open to children ages 5-17 who live in Massachusetts (18 if still in high school). Click here for more information and to register a camper. You may also contact Grief Support Services Manager, Emily Britt, with camp inquiries at

Save the Date: The 2015 Breakfast for Hope!bfhsavethedate
Samaritans' annual Breakfast for Hope fundraiser showcases our life saving work and services through videos and testimonials. For guests of the event, there is no better way to fully appreciate the impact Samaritans has on the lives of others and the hope and happiness we bring to our community.

We hope you can join us for this year's Breakfast for Hope on May 13th at the Sheraton in Boston! This year's theme, "The difference you make," promises another informative Samaritans event in our community.  

Click here to RSVP as an individual or reserve a table.

Click here to learn more about sponsoring the Breakfast as an individual or business. With 450 guests, the Breakfast is a great opportunity for visibility! 
Out and AboutOutandabout

On January 26th, Ron White, Chief Program Officer, and Lauren Gablinske, Manager of Community Education and Outreach went to the Edinburg Center in Lexington. They conducted a training to in-home therapists for the Children's Behavioral Health Initiative "How to support those at risk for suicide". This one and a half hour training instructed participants on recent data from the 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS); Risk Factors; Warning Signs; Tips on how to support a youth who is at risk for suicide; what is befriending; open ended questions to steer towards the pain; and what the difference is between non suicidal self injury and actual  suicide attempts. All participants received information on our IM_Hear online program, helpline number and other valuable resources to support the youth they work with. The in-home therapists commented on how important this was in their jobs and that they will use the Samaritans as a resource from now on. 


Suicide prevention training is an essential need. If your school, company or community organization is interest in arranging a training, contact Lauren.

Welcome Sunny!Sunny

Please welcome our new Special Events Coordinator, Sunny Shannonhouse! Sunny is originally from Orlando, Florida and has been a resident of Beacon Hill since 2011. She is graduating from Suffolk University in May with a dual Bachelor's Degree in Marketing and Management with concentrations in nonprofits and social media.


Her passion and involvement for both suicide prevention and awareness arose from her experiences of being a survivor of suicide after losing several friends and family members to suicide, as well as supporting loved ones through the aftermath of uncompleted suicide attempts. Sunny has been an advocate of a wide variety of mental health related issues for nearly nine years now after she experienced the loss, guilt, emptiness, shame, confusion, and grieving process after each loved ones' deaths.


"I joined Samaritans this past fall as the Marketing and Development intern and when the opportunity arose to apply for the full-time position, I knew that it was the perfect fit for me." said Sunny. She lives by the motto "just keep swimming" and is passionate about helping others, especially those who have been affected by suicide. Outside of work she loves to surf, go to concerts, read, snowboard, workout, and spend as much time with her nephew as possible. 

Upcoming EventsUpcomingEvents
  • Don a hat and your favorite costume for the Frosty 5K Virtual Race to benefit marathon team member Deanna - $26.20 to join, January 15 - February 15
  • Prom Season is coming - mention Samaritans at Party Dress Express February 20 - 22 and you'll receive a 10% discount plus a portion of your purchase will benefit Samaritans - 657 Quarry Street in Fall River
  • Want to learn more about Samaritans, or introduce your friends and family to the organization you've come to know and love? Join us at the Breakfast for Hope - May 13th at 9AM at the Sheraton in Boston
  • Comfort Zone Camp will be held on June 27 - contact us today to volunteer or have your child participate in this one-day camp for youth survivors of suicide
  • Mark your calendars, the 2015 5K Run/Walk and Family Fun Festival will be held on September 26th in Artesani Park - more details to come
  • Interested in becoming a Grief Support Services volunteer? Contact Grief Support Services Manager Emily Britt for spring training dates
  • Now through April 20, visit Nadine at Contemporary Trends and 50% of your salon service will be donated directly to marathon team member Mo's fundraising goal - 501 Daniel Webster Hwy in Merrimack, NH