Pathways for Hope: Navigating Suicide Prevention Together

September 26, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

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Watertown panel flyer

Last year, almost 50,000 American died by suicide – more than the entire population of Watertown, MA. September is Suicide Prevention Month, and we invite you to join us at the Watertown Public Library to learn how you can take action to prevent suicide. Debra Smith, Watertown resident, lawyer, and author will share her story as a suicide loss survivor and the services that helped her navigate her grief. Sarah Eknaian, MSCJ, LCSW, of the Newton Police Department, will share crisis resources that are available in communities throughout Massachusetts. James McCauley, LICSW, of Riverside Trauma Center, will give an overview of mental health support services for communities and individuals impacted by traumatic events. Max Copans of Samaritans, a Massachusetts-based suicide prevention organization, will review warning signs of suicide and teach attendees how to approach conversations with loved ones who might be struggling. 

This program is free and open to the public. The panel is organized and hosted by Debbie Smith. Refreshments will be provided by Watertown Savings Bank.


If you are struggling, worried about a loved one, or would like emotional support, call or text 988, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Samaritans will answer the call.  


Debra L. Smith, J.D., is an attorney with nearly four decades of experience practicing law and a Justice of the Peace from Watertown, MA. Ms. Smith, a loss survivor, is the author of My John, I Was His Sunshine, about the loss of her significant other of 10 years, with the objective to save the lives of others.  Ten percent of the sales of each book will be donated to Samaritans and other suicide prevention nonprofits. 

Sarah Eknaian, MSCJ, LCSW, is a co-response clinician with the Newton Police Department. Sarah has been working as a clinician with law enforcement for 7 years. In her role, Sarah co-responds with police to mental health crises and completes post-overdose follow ups. Sarah is part of a larger group of clinicians that work embedded in police departments throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as an additional resource for law enforcement’s response to behavioral health and substance use related calls for service.

James McCauley, LICSW, is the Co-Founder and Assistant Program Director of Riverside Trauma Center at Riverside Community Care. Jim provides mental health support for schools, workplaces, and communities affected by traumatic events. He has consulted with numerous schools and communities in Massachusetts and New England on trauma responses.

Max Copans is the Coordinator for Community Education and Outreach at Samaritans, a Massachusetts-based suicide prevention organization. Through its community education programming, Samaritans offers free suicide prevention workshops to schools, workplaces, and community organizations so that anyone can learn how to support those who are struggling. Samaritans also operates a 24/7 Helpline for those in crisis, a text line for teens and young adults, and grief support for those who have lost a loved one to suicide. For nearly 50 years, Samaritans has offered its services free of charge to all who need them.


September 26, 2023
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Event Category:


Venue Name
Watertown Public Library
123 Main St
Watertown, MA 02472
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