EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — In the wake of a tragic double-murder suicide involving a West Roxbury mother and her two young children, mental health advocates are urging those who are struggling to seek help.
Erin Pascal, 40, of West Roxbury, was found unconscious alongside her two children, Allison, 4, and Andrew, 15 months, on the sidewalk outside the Renaissance Parking Garage on Christmas Day. All three were later pronounced dead at the hospital.
The parking garage, owned by Northeastern University, is the same location where two separate suicides occurred earlier this year.
After the incident, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins urged anyone who is struggling to seek help immediately, saying it could prevent a similar tragedy from happening again.
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“It is my duty to say this: If you are someone you know is thinking about suicide, there are services available to help you,” Rollins said. “This Christmas Day tragedy demonstrates the urgency of addressing mental health, suicide and homicide.”
In Rhode Island, CEO of Horizon Healthcare Jim Ryczek said their call center receives between 75-100 calls each week.
Ryczek said anyone who feels like they have nowhere else to turn should reach out for help.
One year after, BH Link, a 24/7 mental health and substance use hotline and triage center, was approved through an executive order by Gov. Gina Raimondo, thousands of people have utilized at least one of their five treatment bays.
“We’ve taken well over 6,000 calls and about 2,000 assessments on people since that time,” Ryczek said. “We’re trying to normalize behavioral health like we normalize health issues so that people talk about what’s going on with each other and with their loved ones and friends.”
Ryczek also urges family and friends to take action when someone’s behavior seems out of the norm. He said providing well-advertised resources for help will end the stigma that ends lives.
“Not talking about it is the number one thing that leads to some more problems in the future,” Ryczek said.
The phone number to the 24/7 Mental Health Hotline at BH Link is (401) 414-LINK (5465).