Metro panel OKs suicide-prevention plan

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Capital Land

Metro’s safety committee on Thursday voted unanimously in favor of a proposed $250,000 suicide prevention program.

The program, if approved later this month by Metro’s board of directors, would train Metro train operators, station managers and bus drivers to identify suicidal behaviors among passengers and to take steps to prevent suicides from occurring.

Metro project manager Lisa Cooper-Lucas said employees would not physically engage someone identified as potentially suicidal. But they would be trained to talk to people in an effort to prevent suicides.

The program also would eventually  include a public education and awareness campaign, although specifics of that campaign, or of the exact training Metro employees would receive to spot and stop suicides, are not available, according to Cooper-Lucas.

“We are not going to solve the problem of suicide,” said board member Chris Zimmerman. “But we could take steps that would contribute to the reduction of [suicides].”

At least 15 people have killed themselves on Metro property since the start of last year, or roughly five times the two-suicide-a-year average since 1976.

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