Mayor Svante Myrick: Support Suicide Prevention

Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick issued a proclamation Wednesday in support of The Watershed Declaration, a commitment by local mental health stakeholders to intensify efforts to prevent suicide in the community.

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“I call upon our citizens, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, health care providers, and educational institutions to raise awareness of Ithaca’s mental health support services, encourage those in need to seek treatment, honor those in our community we have lost too soon, and commit to an all-out effort to prevent suicide,” Svante said in issuing the proclamation at the start of the Ithaca Common Council meeting Wednesday evening.

The Watershed Declaration was adopted by acclamation at the close of a meeting held on April 17 of leaders from Tompkins County, the City of Ithaca, non-profit organizations, and the campuses of Cornell University, Ithaca College, and Tompkins Cortland Community College. The declaration termed suicide a “serious public health concern” and pledged to intensify suicide prevention efforts in Ithaca and Tompkins County.

Myrick said there is strong evidence that a comprehensive public health approach is effective in preventing suicide, and called on the community’s health and behavioral health systems to prevent suicide deaths using the best available information and practices.

Moreover, Myrick said, “every member of our community can play a role in protecting their friends, family members, and colleagues from suicide. Our community needs to advance suicide prevention by fighting the stigma around mental health and seeking treatment for mental disorders.”

Lee-Ellen Marvin, executive director of the Suicide Prevention and Crisis Service in Ithaca, expressed her gratitude for “the mayor’s support for reinvigorating our community’s commitment to suicide prevention. The need has never been greater. Unfortunately, suicide rates have been increasing in the last 15 to 20 years.”

“This proclamation is highlighting the need to address suicide prevention,” said Sharon MacDougall, deputy commissioner of Mental Health Services in Tompkins County. MacDougall added that her agency is working with the New York State Office of Mental Health to create a Tompkins County Suicide Prevention Coalition. “Selected key stakeholders will be invited to a planning meeting to start the Tompkins Suicide Prevention Coalition this summer,” she said. “This coalition will help coordinate the efforts of multiple agencies, providers and others to improve suicide prevention across Tompkins.”

Proclamation

The Watershed Declaration was adopted by acclamation at a meeting of 18 organizations hosted by The Sophie Fund, which was established in memory of Cornell University art student Sophie Hack MacLeod to promote improved mental health for young people in the greater Ithaca area.

The Watershed Declaration stated:

“We the assembled mental health stakeholders of the greater Ithaca community and Tompkins County recognize suicide as a serious public health concern. Today we renew our commitment to suicide prevention and pledge to intensify efforts toward saving lives and bringing hope to those struggling with suicide thoughts or affected by suicide loss.”

Photo caption: Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick, The Sophie Fund Co-Donor Advisor Scott MacLeod, and Suicide Prevention & Crisis Service Executive Director Lee-Ellen Marvin

Ithaca’s Cupcake Bake Off!

The 1st Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest will be held in the Ithaca Commons on Saturday October 15. Contestants of all ages will seek to impress a panel of VIP judges with their tastiest creations, which will be eligible for numerous awards including a Grand Prize with a $250 value.

The contest is organized by The Sophie Fund, which was established earlier this year in memory of Cornell University art student Sophie Hack MacLeod. The Sophie Fund works under the umbrella of the Community Foundation of Tompkins County to support suicide prevention and other mental health initiatives aiding young people in the Ithaca community.

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The 1st Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest is sponsored by the GreenStar Cooperative Market and supported by Cornell Minds Matter and Active Minds of Ithaca College.

To enter the cupcake contest, entrants are invited to bring their submissions to the Bernie Milton Pavilion in the Ithaca Commons from 10–11:30 a.m. on Saturday October 15. The winners will be announced and prizes awarded at a ceremony in the Pavilion later the same day at 3 p.m.

For more information on how to enter the 1st Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest, go to www.thesophiefund.org to download the Registration Form and Procedures and Rules.