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PNS Daily Newscast - September 30, 2020 


Trump and Biden square off in a debate marked by interruptions; COVID-19 highlights neglect of undocumented residents.


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Last night was filled with interruptions at the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

Suicide Prevention Month: A Survivor Shares Her Story

Pata Suyemoto, Ph.D., shares her own experiences with depression as chair of the People of Color Caucus for the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention's Alliance for Equity. (Photo courtesy of Suyemoto)
Pata Suyemoto, Ph.D., shares her own experiences with depression as chair of the People of Color Caucus for the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention's Alliance for Equity. (Photo courtesy of Suyemoto)
September 11, 2020

BOSTON -- September is Suicide Prevention Month, and a Massachusetts woman who tried to take her own life now shares her story with others.

As a mental-health activist with the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention, Dr. Pata Suyemoto works in the area of racial equity, particularly with Asian-Americans. She speaks from the heart about her struggles with depression and PTSD, and her own suicide attempts.

Suyemoto said she had to figure out how she could be proud of herself, with all her complexity. She explained that finding her voice was pivotal.

"I found that there was power in talking about my experience, and that I was helping myself and others at the same time," she said. "Whenever I do a talk, I'll have people lined up, particularly young women, who come up to me and say, 'I feel the same way. I don't know what to do.'"

Suyemoto said many people seem tougher on the outside than they actually feel on the inside, and encouraged folks to check on their "strong" friends. If you or someone you know is struggling, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK, or text the word 'Connect' to reach the Crisis Text Line.

Suyemoto said it's taken many years of reflection, support and therapy, and she's now able to maintain her mental health. One key was developing strategies for all her challenges. At one point, she wrote these coping mechanisms down on paper.

"I actually carried it around with me," she said, "because when you're in distress, you can't remember what to do. 'I feel horrible, I'm in so much pain. I want to die.' And so, how do you get out of that pain loop? Figure out something you can do that interrupts that pain loop."

For her, it's riding a bike, or writing in her journal, or calling a friend, among other things. Suyemoto also has what she calls a "life box," full of pictures, notes and other objects that remind her why she wants to live. She said she hopes that by sharing her story, others will feel less shame -- particularly people from families or cultures where mental-health concerns are seen as a stigma.

More information is online at masspreventssuicide.org.

Laura Rosbrow-Telem, Public News Service - MA