Letter: Suicide Prevention Walk Set in Adams

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To the Editor:

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people between the ages of 10 and 34; it is the only leading cause of death to have increased every year of the past decade. (Statistics provided by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention).

Members of the Berkshire Coalition for Suicide Prevention Board (BCSP) recently met with a group of youths to talk about the risks to the emotional and mental health of young people exposed to deliberately cruel posts on social media. We discussed how forums intended to foster communication can be used to bully others, and how victims of cyber bullying can feel increased isolation and anxiety and experience low self-esteem--especially those already struggling with mental illness or experiencing suicidal thoughts.

Many of the young individuals we spoke with did not know how to help a friend who had suicidal ideation. It is an important reminder that people young and not so young need education, support and intervention skills to decrease our suicide rates. We can all do something to make a difference.

If you think someone is thinking of suicide:

  • Ask them directly: "Are you thinking of suicide?"
  • Listen to them
  • Refuse to keep secret the possibility that someone is contemplating suicide
  • Immediately inform parents and/or call 911
  • Don't leave someone talking about suicide alone. Stay with them until you can get them help.

On Sunday, Oct. 15, the third Berkshire County Out of the Darkness Community Walk will take place in Adams at the Adams Visitor Center, on the beautiful new section of the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail. The event is a celebration of hope. Everyone is welcome and there is no fee to attend. However, this event is a major fundraiser for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Funds are used to support education in the community about suicide, provide trainings for first responders and teachers, and provide events and materials to schools and community groups across Berkshire County that combat stigma and increase awareness. These dollars also ensure that those who have survived suicide attempts or the death of someone close to them from suicide have support available through support groups and individual outreach.

We invite you to join us, or to make a contribution to this life-saving effort. More information is available at www.afsp.org/BerkshireCounty.

Judith A.Nardacci
Lee, Mass. 

Nardacci is member of the board of the Berkshire Coalition for Suicide Prevention



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Berkshire Theatre Group to Present 'Godspell' Outdoors

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Theatre Group will produce "Godspell" this summer – the first musical in the United States to be approved by Actors' Equity Association in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The show will be presented outdoors in an open-air tent adjacent to The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, and is scheduled to run Aug. 6 through Sept. 4. Tickets will be available for purchase Tuesday, July 7, at noon. 

"We could not bear the thought of a Berkshire summer without live theater to support our community, so we jumped through every hoop to create a safe way to make this happen," said BTG Board of Trustees Co-President Lee Perlman. "I hope our production gives hope to the tens of thousands of theater professionals who are on the sidelines this summer. Theater is unstoppable and will be back”

Artistic director and CEO Kate Maguire said "Godspell" got the green light after BTG established a strict protocol to protect the health and safety of the audience, the performers and others involved in the show. 

"We have been working daily and in the true spirit of care and collaboration with Actors’ Equity Association for the past several weeks," she said. "Guided by Executive Director of Actors’ Equity Association Mary McColl and her extraordinary team, I have learned much about how to lead a theater in the new world. Our industry, which has been devastated by this global pandemic, will be served by their seriousness, data driven wisdom, and profound understanding of the need for artists to rebuild. 

"I am so proud that Berkshire Theatre Group, in its 92nd season will be authorized and granted the responsibility to produce the musical 'Godspell.'”

After careful consideration with the local and state government, Mayor Linda Tyer of Pittsfield and Actors’ Equity Association, BTG relocated "Godspell" from its original site at The Fitzpatrick Main Stage in Stockbridge to outside under a tent at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield.

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