Mary Beth Traynor, the executive secretary for Managed Care at McLean Hospital, was honored by the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention (MCSP) at the MCSP Leadership in Suicide Prevention Awards ceremony at the Massachusetts State House in March.
“I nominated Mary Beth for this award because I feel she has dedicated herself to this cause and is helping to reduce stigma,” said David Matteodo, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of Behavioral Health Systems. “Her efforts have been extraordinary.”
Traynor’s role as a suicide prevention advocate has been strengthened through her participation in leadership conferences, including two sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)—the Our Journey Continues conference for long-term survivors and safeTALK, a training program that helps participants learn how to identify and help persons at risk for suicide. She uses her experience and training to provide useful information and resources at schools, libraries, Merrimack College hockey games, motorcycle shows, and suicide prevention walks.
She has participated in the AFSP’s Out of the Darkness Walks for many years, both as a walk team leader and as a volunteer. She has captained the “My Brothers” team—in honor of the two brothers she lost to suicide—for the Merrimack Valley walks and has volunteered at the Boston walks for eight years. She also became co-chair of the Merrimack Valley walk four years ago. Along with helping to raise a lot of money for suicide prevention through these events, Traynor brings Survivor Charms to the walks to give people who are struggling with depression or mental illness a reminder that they are a survivor, speaks openly about her own experiences with losing someone to suicide, and provides resources for those who are seeking help.
Traynor’s suicide prevention work continues while she’s on campus in Belmont. This year, along with the AFSP, she co-hosted the International Suicide Survivor Day at McLean. Throughout the year, she distributes flyers around the hospital and hands out World Without Suicide pins.