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Metro Responds To Rise In Suicides

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By David Schultz

The number of people who committed suicide in a Metro station doubled last year, compared with 2008. Now Metro is implementing a new program to try to reverse this trend.

Preventing suicides on Metro can be difficult, but Lisa Cooper-Lucas, Metro's director of Medical Services, says it is possible.

Most people observe a station for days or weeks before their deaths -- something Cooper-Lucas learned from debriefing Metro workers after suicides.

"And one thing they always say," she says, "is, I saw them last week. I saw them two days ago."

Metro's board has given preliminary approval to a new $750,000 suicide prevention program.

Cooper-Lucas says the program is badly needed, because these incidents affect the entire Metro community.

"It's devastating, not just to the family of the deceased, but the people on the platform, the operators, the station manager, the electricians," she says.

The new program will train Metro workers on how to identify signs of an impending suicide.

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