LAKEWOOD – September is national suicide prevention month, and several local organizations have partnered together to bring Chautauqua County Suicide Prevention Week (Sept. 18-23) to the community, starting Monday night at the Chautauqua Mall and continuing through Saturday.
The theme for the week is “Be the 1 to Reach Out a Hand” with a variety of local events planned by the Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention for families, youth, and the community to enjoy and to help spread suicide awareness throughout the Chautauqua Region.
“The Be The 1 To Reach Out a Hand Suicide Prevention Week will include activities and presentations to engage the community in continuing education and suicide prevention efforts in Chautauqua County,” said Patricia Brinkman, County Mental Hygiene Director. “Recognizing the warning signs of suicide and learning to take the important steps to start a conversation with a loved one who is at risk are some of the first steps in breaking down the stigma associated with talking about suicide and mental health. Please be the one to reach out a hand. Be brave and ask for help and when someone reaches out to you. Reach back offering your support and a connection.”
Highlighting the week is a kick-off event Monday at 6 p.m. inside the Chautauqua Mall, where local partners will discuss the importance of suicide awareness.
Also on Thursday, September 21, brain health and mental health advocate Kevin Hines will be sharing his story and message at events at the Williams Center at SUNY Fredonia in the morning and at the Scharmann Theatre at JCC in the evening. Hines is one of only 36 people to survive a jump from the Goden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. More than 17 years later, he tours the country to share his message of living mentally healthy and to help others dealing with the issue of suicide.
And on Saturday, the 6th annual Jamestown Out of the Darkness Walk will also take place at the Northwest Arena in Jamestown.
Other events throughout the week include a family and youth paint night, anti-bullying and wellness rock painting for kids, a safeTALK (suicide alertness for everyone) Training, a poetry slam, and several awareness tie-dye events.
All events are open to the public and free of charge.
“As an Alliance, we provide opportunities in which the community can come together to talk about mental health and what is available for support in our area. We strive to create a community culture in which we feel comfortable in talking about mental health openly and honestly in order to receive the support and resources necessary to work towards wellness,” said Victoria Patti, Alliance Coordinator. “We hope that this partnership for Chautauqua County Suicide Prevention Week serves as a way to reach those we might not have had the opportunity to in the past and to help decrease stigma while giving community members a positive outlet to get involved, remember those that have been lost to suicide, and create network of resources,” continued Victoria.
For more information about Chautauqua County Suicide Prevention Week, visit the Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention on Facebook or contact Victoria Patti at (716) 753-4519 or firstname.lastname@example.org.