Needham father channels grief into educating others about suicide prevention

Needham father channels grief into educating others about suicide prevention

NEEDHAM, Mass. — A Needham father is channeling his grief into educating others about suicide prevention after losing his daughter in 2015.

Artie Crocker has been grieving the loss of his youngest daughter, Christine, for the last four years.

She took her own life at age 27, just weeks before starting her dream job at the Pentagon.

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"To say it was difficult was putting it mildly. Literally, I would just break down," said Crocker, who has experienced years of grief and sadness.

He says he's now hoping to turn his grief into educating those in the community so no one else has to suffer.

"Take the average pain that people may suffer through their lives and multiply it by a hundred or 1,000 and that’s maybe what it feels like," said Crocker.

Four painful years later, he's bringing two things that Christine loved -- music and comedy - together for one night in Needham to raise money for Riverside Community Care, a behavioral care center.

The event is planned at the VFW Hall in Needham at 7 p.m. on Thursday to support resources to help the local community.

"There are signs and the more people to understand the signs, the more people we can save, the more people who are going through this and realize there are resources for them," Crocker said.

Suicide rates continue to soar in young people.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an increase in suicide among 15- to 24-year-olds, the highest rate since 2000.

"There’s a lot of pressure to succeed, to do well and for them to navigate through all that it’s very complicated," Crocker said.

Eileen Davis, vice president of the Mass 211 hotline, said those numbers aren't surprising to her. But in order to bring them down, the conversation needs to stay open.

"If it just touches one person, and it resonates with one person that it’s OK, there’s nothing really wrong with me, it’s OK, and this feeling hopefully will pass with the right support and right people in my corner and reaching out, it will be OK," Davis said.

If you or someone you know has suicidal thoughts, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK. It is staffed 24 hours per day.