Feb 07
BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) - The tragic suicide of 15-year-old Phoebe Prince in January 2010 awakened a national movement against bullying, but for Robert Judge of South Hadley, it awakened something else. “My mother’s brother committed suicide, my father’s uncle committed suicide,” said Judge.  “The suicide of a beautiful teenager in South Hadley just, I guess, brought it forward into my mind and just made me feel this is something I want to spend some time with.” Judge went on to become coordinator of the South Hadley Community Coalition to Prevent Suicide, a group that trains people to listen for suicide, talk to people and debunk some of the common myths. “I think the biggest myth might be is that it’s not preventable,” said Judge.  “South Hadley and the surrounding townspeople can call the Behavioral Health Network Crisis number, you can call your local police department …I know of a situation recently where help was on the door steps of a person minutes after the phone call had been made.” For his work, Representative John Scibak (D-South Hadley) presented Judge with an award recognizing his leadership in suicide prevention. “There is no better testimony to the memory of Phoebe Prince than the activities of Bob Judge’s take on behalf of the Town of South Hadley,” said Scibak.  “If one person, who is contemplating suicide, stops to realize there are other alternatives, then all of these efforts are well worth it, and I think Bob has certainly done that.” According to Judge, another common myth is that suicide is mostly common among young people – It’s actually more common among middle-aged men and it’s important to recognize the signs.  For more information, check out: In a report released last Fall, the Department of Public Health said there were 531 suicides among Massachusetts residents in 2009, nearly 3 times higher than homicides.