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Sunday, December 3, 2023

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On World AIDS Day, New Mexico activists say more money is needed for prevention; ND farmers still navigate corporate land-ownership policy maze; Unpaid caregivers in ME receive limited financial grants.

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken urges Israel to protect civilians amid Gaza truce talks, New York Rep. George Santos defends himself as his expected expulsion looms and CDC director warns about respiratory illness as flu season begins.

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Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

Suicide Prevention Focus of New ME Bridge Barriers

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Friday, September 1, 2023   

Recently approved legislation provides funding for barriers on the Penobscot Narrows Bridge - a scenic but unfortunate hot spot for suicide attempts. The bridge currently has posted signs and phones, which connect those in distress with a crisis clinician, but mental health advocates say it's not enough.

Greg Marley, senior clinical director of suicide prevention for the Maine chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Health, said the barriers are needed to help buy time.

"Time for that crisis to pass. Time for them to reconnect to help, to hope," he said. "Time to resolve that issue."

Marley said the barriers save lives. The Memorial Bridge in Augusta was the site of 14 suicides before a fence was erected to prevent people from jumping, and there have been no suicides on the bridge since.

The Maine Department of Transportation is currently building the new barriers on its own as there are no engineering standards for bridge design that consider suicide prevention. That's something Marley said he'd like to see change so it doesn't take legislative action to ensure the bridges are safe for people considering suicide.

"It doesn't mean that the suicides by other means in that region go up," he said, "but it does stop people from focusing on that one site about how they might end their pain."

Marley said anyone who needs to connect with a crisis clinician should dial 988. He recommended that people share their concerns with their primary-care provider, a trusted friend or pastor - anyone, he said, to break the isolation of suicidal thoughts.

Disclosure: NAMI Maine contributes to our fund for reporting on Mental Health, Social Justice, Youth Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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