Metro's New Endeavor: Suicide Prevention

WMATA partnering with CrisisLink

Metro is partnering with suicide prevention group CrisisLink in an attempt to quell the spate of recent suicides using Metro trains, reports WTOP this morning.

"We are aware of the suicides that have taken place on Metro and want to do something," CrisisLink's Director of Development Marshall Ellis told WTOP. "We are working to come up with what we hope to be a three-pronged approach."

Efforts will include educating Metro workers to notice someone who may be suicidal and how to speak with them.

Two of the fatalities have happened just in the past week: Yesterday, a 15-year-old boy from Bell Multicultural High School killed himself at the Columbia Heights Metro station. On Sunday morning, Joshua Fueston, 19, of Bellingham, Wa., killed himself at the Gallery Place station. 

The rise in Metro-related suicides may coincide with an overall uptick in suicides.

WTOP reports:

...From June 2008 to June 2009, CrisiLink reports a 60 percent increase in the number of suicide calls received.

One potential reason, the struggling economy.

"We are definitely hearing that as a theme throughout a lot of the calls we are taking. People who have lost their jobs or are suddenly unable to care for their families," says Ellis.

Seven people have committed suicide by jumping in front of Metro trains so far in 2009, with two others making attempts. Seven of those nine incidents have happened just since June.

For comparison, there were two fatalities each in 2007 and 2008. There were four non-fatal incidents in 2007, three in 2008.

For those who want to help, CrisisLink is looking for volunteers, hotline listeners and donations. Go here for more information.

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