by Anne Basye
Sherry Bryant had already been a social worker for 10 years when her son, Todd, took his life in 1993. Her graduate and professional education had prepared her to face many human struggles, but not this one.
In a survivor’s group, she heard the word prevention for the first time. “All we knew how to do was react after a suicide happens,” she remembers. “Everybody assumed that you couldn’t prevent something like suicide and that we should not raise the subject with someone at risk because that might put ideas in their head.”
Avoiding the subject was not an option for Sherry. With other activists and U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher, she devoted the next 10 years to developing and nurturing a national strategy for suicide prevention.