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UCSF to Provide Support During National Survivors of Suicide Day

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is organizing an event to encourage healing and empowerment of those impacted by suicide loss. Now in its ninth year, the nationwide event includes a live broadcast via web and satellite to more than 100 local conferences nationwide. By allowing survivors to connect with others who have lost a loved one through suicide, AFSP hopes to support the healing process and educate survivors about suicide. UCSF is participating in the webcast by opening Langley Porter Auditorium to the campus and community on Saturday, Nov. 17, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. The webcast will run from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Following the webcast, faculty and residents from the UCSF Department of Psychiatry will moderate a discussion for attendees, in which they can share thoughts and ask questions. According to AFSP, suicide is the 11th leading cause of death and nearly 30,000 people die by it each year. The nonprofit organization is "dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research and education, and to reaching out to people with mood disorders and those affected by suicide." AFSP seeks to bring awareness of suicide to a wide audience through a variety of methods. Recently, it funded a one-hour documentary to air on PBS in spring 2008 about physician depression and suicide. The film, Struggling in Silence: Physician Depression and Suicide, will be combined with an outreach educational campaign aimed at medical students. "We believe that by better educating doctors, medical students and house staff about depression, they will not only see it in themselves, but will recognize it in their patients," said Paula Clayton, MD, medical director at AFSP. "When one person takes their life, many are affected and the loss is immeasurable," said Susan Smiga, MD, associate clinical professor of psychiatry and interim director of the UCSF Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinic. "The only hope is that we can learn how to prevent suicide and support those whose lives have been touched by this tragedy." Related Links: Langley Porter Depression Center American Foundation for Suicide Prevention