Stop suicide

Any person’s risk of being affected by suicide is real. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, suicide is the leading cause of death in America; Miami is the seventh-highest ranking city for suicide. Miami Herald’s reporter Samantha Ehlinger’s September 19 article Diaz-Balart Talks About Son’s Suicide, Says Help Is Needed is a call to action for our community to address this significant public health concern. The deaths by suicide of Lincoln Gabriel Diaz-Balart and, more recently, comedian Robin Williams are a reminder that suicide and depression do not discriminate. Suicide is available to anyone, at any time, regardless of race or ethnicity, religion, age group, sexual orientation or gender identification, socio-economic status, etc. Suicide is complex and arrived at through multiple factors. A reduction of these factors, logically will lead to a decrease in risk for completed suicides. But, first, we have to replace the averted eyes, the shame of survivors and the uncomfortable discussions with real conversations, deliberate actions and understanding knowledge. For the loved ones, like Mr. Diaz-Balart, Susan Williams and others, who have all lost someone they love to suicide, the toll is personally enormous and excruciatingly painful –yet highly preventable.


For over 45 years, Switchboard of Miami has led the charge for suicide prevention and crisis intervention. As part of the South Florida Suicide Prevention Coalition, we are in collaboration with other organizations, mental health professionals, educators, the business community and general public to help Miami become A Suicide Free Community.Accredited by the American Association of Suicidology, our HELPline is staffed round the clock by highly trained staff and volunteer counselors who use advanced crisis intervention and psychological first aid techniques. We offer monthly training to help anyone learn about suicide and to recognize and address its warning signs. This training may also be provided in any business, social, civic or religious setting.


If you or someone you know is dealing with thoughts of suicide or experiencing sadness call us at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or 305-358-4357(HELP). Our services are free, confidential, nonjudgmental and available in any language. To schedule suicide awareness training, please contact our suicide prevention department at 305-358-1640 ext. 1162.


Switchboard is a private, nonprofit organization that provides the community with comprehensive crisis counseling suicide prevention and information and referral services via telephone, text and/or chat 24 hours-a-day, 7 days- a- week, 365 days-a-year. We also offer individual and family counseling services, developmental screenings for children and development programs for high-risk youth and their families based in local schools. In addition, Switchboard has a reassurance program for seniors and homebound individuals to prevent loneliness and reduce depression.