NEWS-_MLK_DayIn the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, the Duxbury Interfaith Council and the No Place for Hate Committee appealed to residents, asking them to be good neighbors and help those who may be suffering from depression or who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts.

 

The Duxbury Interfaith Council held their annual Martin Luther King Jr. prayer breakfast on Monday morning at Holy Family Church, complete with a performance by the Duxbury High School Chamber Singers, under the direction of Robert Judge.

Harry Katz, chair of the No Place for Hate Committee, started the service off by recognizing Janine Neprud, a high school student who is working toward her Gold Award as a member of the Girls Scouts. Neprud has created a program called Everyone Deserves Diversity Now and will be working with the elementary, middle and religious schools in Duxbury to discuss diversity.

Katz continued the service by telling the story about a conversation he had with Duxbury Town Manager Renee Read this past September.

“In our conversation he asked for the help of the Council on an issue he was recently made aware of,” Katz said. “There had been five suicides in Duxbury in the five months since he had taken over his new position. To me, this is epidemic.”

Over the past five years, there have been 13 suicide and many attempted suicides in Duxbury.

“We need to reach out to those in our community who are hurting,” he said.

Katz went on to describe a program created by Dr. Paul Quinnet, which is called Q.P.R – Question, Persuade and Refer. Katz described Q.P.R. as a tool, similar to CPR, which could save someone’s life. The tool suggests questioning the person who may be suicidal with indirect questions such as, “Have you been unhappy lately?” or with direct questions such as, “Have you ever wanted to stop living?”

“Listen to their answers,” Katz said. “Sometimes just being present for someone in great distress is enough to get them through a rough patch.”

After listening to the answers, Katz suggested persuading the person to seek help and to get a commitment from them that they will seek out help. Additionally, Katz recommended knowing where to refer the person in question, such as to a clergy person, physician, mental health professional or school counselor.

“I remember once, many years ago, when I was going through a divorce, a stranger came up to me and asked why I looked so sad,” Katz said. “We talked for only a minute or two but she gave me encouragement and I have never forgotten that act of kindness.”

Katz urged residents to give the same encouragement to those who are struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts.

“This is our community and we must be proactive,” he said. “Please do not be afraid to approach someone that looks sad. I am sure this is what Martin Luther King, Jr. would have done.”