Feldman, Doerfler to Telegram: there are ways to prevent suicide

Death of Robin Williams by suicide puts spotlight on mental health

By Sandra Gray

UMass Medical School Communications

August 15, 2014
  Leonard Doerfler, PhD
  Barry Feldman, PhD
  Barry Feldman, PhD

The death of beloved comedian and actor Robin Williams has prompted a public discussion about suicide, with people asking how to recognize the signs and how to prevent it. The Worcester Telegram & Gazette turned to Barry Feldman, PhD, and Leonard Doerfler, PhD, both UMass Medical School suicide experts, for answers.

“People struggle with these situations every day,” said Dr. Feldman, assistant professor of psychiatry and director of the Psychiatry Programs in Public Safety at UMMS. “It’s unfortunate that it takes the death of a celebrity to get this on our radar screens.”

A nationally-recognized researcher and educator in the field of suicide intervention and prevention, Feldman specializes in suicide-related training and stabilization services for schools, military personnel, first responders and health care providers.

“Suicide is a preventable public health problem,” he said.

Dr. Doerfler, associate professor of psychiatry, is a clinical psychologist who emphasizes that even those as successful as Williams are not immune to depression leading to suicide.

“It’s the way the person views the world, which can be very different from the real situation they find themselves in,” Doerfler said. “When people are depressed, what they see is a black cloud.”

But Feldman and Doerfler emphasize that there are ways to help prevent suicide in even the most depressed individuals. Read the full Telegram & Gazette article here

Related links on UMassMedNow:
Barry Feldman explains teen suicide risk factors
Newsmaker: As anniversaries pass, victims find meaning, less pain in memories
Expert’s Corner: Facing the facts on youth suicide
Collaboration announced to help prevent military suicide

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