Art therapist honored at State House for work on suicide prevention

Suicide prevention advocates want to increase funding to fund more programs like it

BOSTON (WWLP) – On average, one person dies by suicide every 14 hours in Massachusetts. But one western Massachusetts organization is taking action to prevent suicide in the region.

The Berkshire Coalition for Suicide Prevention is using art as tool to support youth dealing with suicidal thoughts. Through painting, collages and building, young people are able to learn strategies for self soothing and expressing themselves.

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The 12 week art therapy program, called “Arts in Recovery for Youth,” helps support young people ages 13 to 24 who suffer from suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

Art Therapist Marney Schorr who developed the program was honored at the State House on Monday for her leadership in suicide prevention. “The art allows them another way to communicate,” she told 22News. “It also helps them express their feelings and have a discharge, a release of some of the urges that they have.”

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Schorr told 22News that through the program, there have been no further suicide attempts and participants are reaching out for help more when they need it.

Suicide prevention advocates are urging lawmakers to increase funding in the state budget to support more programs like Arts in Recovery for Youth.