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May 13, 2024

Two Central Mass. organizations split $1.9 million for suicide prevention efforts

A beige building with a grey top and two entrances with steps leading up to them with an American flag between. Image I Courtesy of Google Maps United Way of Tri-County headquarters at 46 Park Street in Framingham

LUK Crisis Center of Fitchburg and United Way of Tri-County of Framingham are among 19 community organizations receiving a total of $1.9 million in funding over the next 11 years from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to support their suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention services.

The state funding is part of the DPH’s Suicide Prevention Program which works to reduce the incidence of suicidal ideation, behavior, and deaths in the state, according to a Monday press release from DPH. 

LUK Crisis Center and United Way of Tri-County received $99,648 and $74,030 in funding, respectively.  

“Every day, but especially as we honor Mental Health Awareness Month, we work to reduce stigma associated with mental health challenges and suicidal thoughts,” Health and Human Services Secretary, Kate Walsh, said in the release.  

LUK, founded in 1970, is a not-for-profit social service agency with locations throughout Massachusetts looking to inspire youth to maximize their full potential through services addressing issues including mental health, trauma, addiction and substance abuse prevention, and homelessness, according to LUK’s website. 

Through its several programs including counseling, health promotion services, foster and residential care, and family support initiatives, LUK reports servicing more than 3,000 children and adults. 

United Way of Tri-County, incorporated in 1997, is an independently-governed nonprofit organization serving the Middlesex, Norfolk, and Worcester counties to support youth and adults through initiatives focused on education, income, and health.

Among the United Way of Tri-County’s services is Call2Talk, a 24/7 confidential mental health and suicide prevention helpline which in 2023, received 110,498 calls, according to the organization’s website. Call2Talk also provides community services including Telecheck, providing elderly adults with phone check-in services and the MetroWest LOSSteam which works with local police departments to offer on-site peer support. 

“Our primary goal with this funding and our ongoing work is to reduce the incidence of suicidal ideation and behavior, and stop these preventable deaths across the Commonwealth,” Dr. Robbie Goldstein, commissioner of DPH, said in the release. “Too many people are struggling with behavioral health issues that can contribute to an increased risk of suicide for some. Suicide is preventable, and DPH has made it a priority to provide funding and reduce barriers to evidence-based interventions so residents can access the help they need when and where they need it.”

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