At-Large Boston City Councilor Felix Arroyo wants to break down the stigma attached to suicide and help prevent future deaths.
"More than 90% of people who commit suicide are suffering from a psychiatric disorder such as eating disorders or depression," said Arroyo, during the Council's weekly meeting (held on Thursday due to Columbus Day holiday).
Arroyo said the number of veterans committing suicide is going up, but he added, "Most issues that lead to suicide are recognizable and treatable."
With that notion, the Council's Committee on Labor, Youth Affairs, and Health, will hold a future hearing to further discuss the matter. Arroyo said the hearing will focus on how to prevent suicides, how to deal with the after effects of a suicide for friends, family and the community. "Someone choosing to take their own life has an impact on family... it can be a time of shame."
According to the Massachusetts Department of Health, 42 people committed suicide in Boston in 2009, a statistic Arroyo cited. He said 2009 was the most recent year of available information on suicide, which he felt illustrates how the topic is not being fully addressed.
"This is something that scars people, neighborhoods," said District 7 City Councilor Tito Jackson. "We speak about emotional support in schools – these are people not in schools." Jackson said the city needs to access the resources available in regards to suicide, and utilize Boston's world class hospitals and medical industry.
Jackson said the issue of suicide and depression spans across every Boston neighborhood, regardless of socio-economic class. Said Jackson, "This is something that we need to deal with."