HCN News & Notes

Baystate Franklin Medical Center to Host Suicide-awareness Presentation

GREENFIELD — On Monday, Sept. 24, in honor of National Suicide Prevention Month, Baystate Franklin Medical Center is hosting a presentation by the NAN Project titled “Comeback Stories.” The presentation is a first-hand account from young adults, sharing stories of their struggles and the ways in which they gained the strength to ask for help. They are fighting stigma with the truth about recovering from mental-health challenges.

The NAN Project is a comprehensive model delivering innovative mental-health education, as well as suicide prevention and intervention strategies using a safe and supportive forum, mainly school-based.

The Nan Project was created in memory of Nancy Cavanaugh, a young woman who took her life at age 24, just weeks before she was set to receive her master’s degree in Western Mass. Nan’s mother, Ellen Dalton, and brother, Jake Cavanaugh, founded the organization in an effort to increase understanding, support, and treatment of depression.

“At the NAN Project, we work to break down the stigma that all too often surrounds mental health and suicide,” Cavanaugh said. “Our goal is to ensure that young people have a safe place to talk about their struggles and feel comfortable asking for help, both for themselves and their peers.”

The Lexington-based organization is trying to expand its reach and share the message that there is hope and help for those who need it. “We look forward to bringing our mental-health-awareness and suicide-prevention initiative to Franklin County in hopes of promoting an ongoing conversation within the community about how to ensure emotional well-being,” Dalton said.

The presentation will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the conference rooms at Baystate Franklin Medical Center. Admission is free, and refreshments will be served. Space is limited, so RSVP is required by calling (413) 773-2204.

“We are committed not only to the treatment of mental health, but community education as well,” said Stacey Johnson, director of Behavioral Health Services at Baystate Franklin Medical Center. “It’s important to start these conversations, and we are happy to partner with the NAN Project in this endeavor.”

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