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February 26, 2014

SAFE announces suicide research collaboration with Beaumont

By Robert Guttersohn
C & G Staff Writer

ROYAL OAK — City Commissioner Peggy Goodwin announced during the Feb. 13 Board of Education meeting that the suicide-prevention committee Suicide Awareness is For Everyone is teaming up with Beaumont Health Systems to research the leading causes of suicide.

Goodwin, a SAFE organizer, said the research project is hoping to hone in on key demographic characteristics that put people at risk for committing suicide. Among several factors, they will be looking to see if alcohol is often involved or if domestic violence had occurred before the suicide.

“We know we won’t have everything answered, but we want to have a broader look at our community and what is going on with suicide — especially through Beaumont,” Goodwin said.

Maureen Elliott, the community affairs liaison from Beaumont Health System, said at the meeting that she has been working with the health system’s nursing department and the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine to provide data for the research.

“They think it’s as important as we do,” she said.

She also will be working with several Oakland County-based suicide awareness and prevention organizations to collect data.

“I will be watching to see what they come up with it,” Elliott said.

Goodwin said she plans to present the results of the research in September during SAFE’s second annual community discussion event at the Royal Oak Middle School.

SAFE was organized last year after a spate of high-profile suicides rocked the city.

Goodwin said SAFE will be working with the school district in its upcoming suicide-awareness events, including one March 19.

Kathy Knapp, a counselor for the middle school, said the middle school will host the Bullycide Project.

The project is a live production that tells the true stories of 10 individuals who committed suicide after being bullied and is based on the book “Bullycide in America.”

The event will begin at the middle school at 6:30 p.m.

Superintendent Shawn Lewis-Lakin said that bringing the production to Royal Oak was made possible via a $3,000 donation that the Royal Oak Optimist Club made to the middle school’s anti-bullying program last month.

“So here’s a case where, at one meeting, we receive a gift, and the next meeting, we’re hearing about the program that’s become possible because of that gift,” said Lewis-Lakin.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Robert Guttersohn at rguttersohn@candgnews.com or at (586)218-5006.