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Event Works to Take Stigma from Suicide

Submitted by on September 25, 2019 – 12:33 pm

Graphic of Suicide Prevention AwarenessIn an attempt to help bring suicide and suicide prevention out of the shadows, Northern Essex Community College will cosponsor a public forum on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, in the Hartleb Technology Center on the Haverhill campus, 100 Elliott St.

“Community Conversation: Talking about Suicide and the Role of Prevention,” will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public. Other sponsors include the Department of Mental Health Essex North Siteboard, NAMI – Northeast Essex, the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

“Our goal is to bring this difficult subject of suicide into a public forum with a trained speaker to educate the public and provide resources for those who would like more help for themselves or for friends and family,” said Joanna Fortna, an NECC professor and curriculum coordinator of developmental English, who is helping to facilitate the forum.”

Waheeda Saif will be the keynote speaker at the public forum on suicide prevention.

Waheeda Saif, a Licensed Mental Health Clinician with Riverside Trauma Services, is an experienced presenter on trauma and suicide.

“The best way to help others to understand and cope with this difficult subject is to bring it out into the open,” said Fortna. “The goal is to be informative and supportive by providing connections to support services.”

She notes that so many individuals have been touched by suicide within their families or with friends and associates and yet stigma remains.

“We would like to break the stigma by helping people to feel connected to a larger community of individuals who have similar concerns and experiences,” Fortna said.

For additional information, contact Fortna at