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Haas, Duquette elected to AFSP


Jan. 23, 2013
GREATER SPRINGFIELD – Matthew Haas, director of behavioral health, Baystate Medical Center and Kathleen Duquette of the Massachusetts Trial Court were elected to the Western Massachusetts Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) at the last board meeting.

Haas is director, behavior health at Baystate Medical Center. Prior to his association with Baystate, he was Director of Behavioral Health at Holyoke Medical Center. He obtained his masters degree in social work from Smith College School for Social Work, and his bachelor's degree from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn.

He was part of the crisis team at the Westfield Center for Adults and Families. He has also worked at the Franklin/Hampshire Community Mental Health Center in Northampton, the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and Child and Family Services of Connecticut.

Duquette's commitment to AFSP's mission began when her beloved parish assistant pastor died by a suicide.

"At the time our parish reached out to the Western Massachusetts chapter for support and assistance in dealing with the devastation of our loss, " she said. " I learned first hand the impact the local chapter made to the quality of life in our communities. I knew I wanted to work side by side with the chapter forwarding AFSP's mission."

The impact Walking Tall with Father Paul has made on the community walk has become legendary. Duquette's creativity as a fundraiser has highlighted this important skill necessary for implementing the Chapter's missions.

"The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is the leading not for profit organization whose mission includes education, advocacy, prevention and reaching out to the survivors left to deal with the aftermath of a suicide. This year 36,000 people nationally and more than 600 in Massachusetts will take their own lives," Paula Clayton, M.D. AFSP Medical Director, said. "Depression, mood disorders are treatable illnesses and we can do a better job in doing so if we can reduce stigma and increase education."

Other members of the Western Massachusetts AFSP chapter's board include Loren Forastiere, Diana Lewis, Neena Grover, Mary Pat McMahon, Connie Mahoney, and Senator James Welch. Linda J. Shippie is the area coordinator. On Feb. 1, the chapter, in collaboration with Berkshire Medical Center and the Berkshire Coalition for Suicide Prevention on hosts a conference, "Building Resilience and Protective Factors for the Youth in our Community," at the Berkshire Hills Country Club. Dr. Christopher Overtree of the University of Massachusetts is one of the keynote presenters. For more information on this and other AFSP programs, visit www.afsp.org or contact Shippie by email at westernma@afsp.org.



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