Scott Willis / WAER News

It’s Veteran’s Day, and Senator Chuck Schumer is pushing a bill that would support military veterans with expanded mental health services in an effort to stem the growing suicide rate.  At a stop in Syracuse Monday, Schumer said 1,500 veterans in New York State have committed suicide in the past 10 years.  He says the measure is geared toward “state side” veterans…those who are not deployed and not eligible for some psychological support benefits.

Schumer also says the trauma suffered by veteran who are not deployed should not be underestimated.

  Syracuse-area family members touched by suicide and those who’ve attempted suicide will gather Wednesday evening for a memorial to observe World Suicide Prevention Day.  Organizers say the event is intended to show that resources are available to help survive a crisis, and to offer hope to those at risk.  Program Coordinator for Volunteer Services at Contact Community Services Laurie Best says it’s a myth that talking about suicide will cause vulnerable people to act on it. 

Perhaps the most recent and high-profile suicide was comedian and actor Robin Williams.  Best says his death did more than just raise awareness about suicide and mental illness.

Evan Agostini / AP, via

A Syracuse University clinical psychologist is urging people to be aware and up front with a friend or family member they suspect might be depressed or even suicidal.   

  Professor Afton Kapuscinski hopes the discussion goes beyond the renewed conversation sparked by the death of comedian and actor Robin Williams.  She understands why people might shy away from approaching those difficult topics.  But Kapucinski says it might be the difference between life and death for someone who needs support…

  One of the most prevalent health issues is literally killing people in New York at a rate that’s jumped in the last decade.  May is mental health awareness month…and experts say many either ignore or avoid getting diagnosed.  David Hullett is medical director for Optum, part of United Health Group to improve care and services.  He says disorders might hospitalize someone…but others are on the more mild side of the spectrum.

Central New Yorkers are not immune to the estimated 19 million adults that live with depression.  Thursday is National Depression Screening day. 

Shedding Light on Suicide

Sep 10, 2013

Suicide often lives in the shadows, even though it’s affected many Central New Yorkers.  But the issue is getting more attention today during International Suicide Awareness Week.