Services prioritize bereaved older adults, survivors of suicide loss, and low-income older adults from historically marginalized communities

Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Boston (JF&CS) is among 19 community organizations named to receive annual state funding over the next 11 years to provide suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention services throughout the Commonwealth. The funding, totaling $1.9 million, is part of the Massachusetts Department of Health’s Suicide Prevention Program and is aimed to support populations at increased risk for and/or impacted by suicide, as well as underserved or historically marginalized communities.

At JF&CS, state funding will support the work of the agency’s work with bereaved older adults, survivors of suicide loss, and low-income older people of color to reduce their risk of suicide.

“We know that suicide is a serious issue in our community, and we also know that suicide can often be prevented when people receive the right support,” said JF&CS CEO Gail Schulman. “We are grateful for this state funding, which will help us to address the pain and stigma of suicide among suicide loss survivors as we extend our mental health and social service expertise to prevent suicides in our community.”

JF&CS's ongoing support for suicide loss survivors includes a dedicated support group, as well as an annual remembrance event (Yizkor) that offers spiritual support through a culturally sensitive Jewish lens while working to combat the stigma associated with suicide. The agency also offers bereavement support through multiple weekly support groups for those who have lost a partner or a parent.

In addition, JF&CS provides referrals to therapists and assistance with accessing resources via the agency's Mental Health Connect helpline.

JF&CS also offers education, training, and consultation to low-income older adults of color residing in senior housing and the staff who serve them, with the goal of both preventing and addressing mental health problems that put these older adults at risk for suicide.

Guides published by the agency for supporting mental health of residents in older adult communities are available for free download on the JF&CS website. The state funds will enable the translation of these materials into Spanish in the near future.

If you need immediate help, please call or text 988 to reach the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. If you are seeking grief counseling or group support, please reach out to JF&CS’s Mental Health Connect helpline at 781-693-5562 or mentalhealth@jfcsboston.org.