World Suicide Prevention Day

Syracuse Agencies Partner to Prevent Suicide

Sep 11, 2017
afsp.org

The Onondaga County Suicide Prevention Coalition is using the occasion of Suicide Prevention Week to partner with the Syracuse VA to raise awareness about how the community can help save lives.  Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., and in Onondaga County, 58 people committed suicide in 2015.  Syracuse VA suicide prevention coordinator Sabah Ocasio says says suicidal thoughts may begin due to events in people’s lives.

Dan Hartman/Redcross.org

Volunteers and staff from the Central New York chapter of the American Red Cross and Contact Community Services hit the ground Wednesday to prevent suicide.

  The staff and volunteers who answer calls to the region’s suicide hotline are encouraged by the state’s comprehensive effort to reduce the suicide rate.  Cheryl Giarrusso is Director of Crisis Intervention Services at Contact Community Services.

"I think the push right now is to make the public aware that suicide is a public issue," Giarrusso said. "It is something that has to come out of the darkness and into the light. 

  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.