Preventing Suicide Through Awareness

September is Suicide Prevention Month, and several events are planned in Suffolk County to raise awareness and money to help prevent suicide. 

“Suicide is a major public health concern, and in order to address this issue we must focus on connecting our residents with mental health support services,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said. “In Suffolk County we are raising awareness around the issues of suicide and suicide prevention in the hopes of stopping a tragedy. We know that reaching out can save lives, and no role is too small. ”

The Suffolk County Department of Health Services is participating in a social media campaign, using the hashtag #BeThe1To to bring awareness to the issue. The campaign also hopes to provide resources to those in need, with links to organizations such as the Response Crisis Center and the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Long Island.

“If you know persons who are in distress, reach out. Be the one to ask if they plan on harming themselves and if they have a plan,” said Dr. James Tomarken, the Suffolk County health commissioner. “It is important to listen without judgment, remove access to anything they might use to hurt themselves, and ensure that they are placed in the care of professionals who are able to help them. You might save a life.”

In addition, the Response Crisis Center will offer training for new crisis counselors on Sept. 22, 23, 29, and 30, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Trainees must attend all four sessions, which will be held in the Stony Brook area. Volunteers will be given the location upon signing up. R.S.V.P.s, which are due by Sept. 15 because of limited availability, can be emailed to jgreco@responsehotline.org, or 631- 751-7620 can be called.

On Sept. 30, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's Out of the Darkness East End Walk will start from the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead at 11 a.m. The walk raises awareness and money to invest in new research, establish educational programs, advocate public policy, and support friends and family members of those who have died by suicide.