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

The Sophie Fund’s Advisory Group

The Sophie Fund is proud to announce the formation of its Community Advisory Group, consisting of four individuals with strong experience in health services, civil society, social advocacy, and college campus life in the Greater Ithaca area.

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The Sophie Fund was established in April 2016 in memory of Sophie Hack MacLeod, a Cornell University art student who succumbed to her battle with depression in Ithaca on March 26, 2016. The focus for the fund’s work is supporting mental health initiatives aiding young people.

The members of the Community Advisory Group, which will provide guidance for The Sophie Fund’s financial grants and advocacy initiatives, are:

David Evelyn, MD, is vice president for Medical Affairs at Cayuga Medical Center in Ithaca, New York. He previously served as vice president for Medical Affairs at A. O. Fox Memorial Hospital in Oneonta, New York. He earned his medical degree from the Robert Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont, and a master of public health degree from Columbia University. He is a member of the American Association of Family Physicians, American College of Physician Executives, and the Statewide Steering Committee on Quality Initiatives of the Healthcare Association of New York State.

Aliana Heffernan is a New York City-based marketing associate for Condeco Software, an international workspace technology company, and a freelance writer and social media consultant. She is the Class of 2014 Facebook manager for the Cornell Alumni Association, a member of the NYC Cornellians Board, and a Cornell Alumni Admissions Ambassador.

James (“Jim”) Johnston served for 40 years as president and chief executive officer of Family & Children’s Service of Ithaca, which supports, promotes, and strengthens the wellbeing of individuals and families by providing high-quality, accessible mental health care and related social services with a particular sensitivity toward the needs of children.

Nicole LaFave is the program coordinator for Community Service and Leadership Development at the Cornell University Public Service Center. She is a member of the Ithaca Board of Education and the Ithaca City Community Police Review Board. She holds a BA degree from Ithaca College in Sociology with a concentration in juvenile criminal studies and race and ethnic relations.

The Sophie Fund’s mission is to make a tangible impact on the wellbeing of young people facing mental health challenges in the Greater Ithaca community, by providing funding for effective initiatives, being a catalyst to raise awareness about mental health, and supporting suicide prevention efforts.

The Sophie Fund is a donor-advised fund within the Community Foundation of Tompkins County. Established in 2000, the foundation is led by Chief Executive Officer George Ferrari, Jr. The foundation is home to 95 funds supporting a broad range of organizations in the areas of education, environment, arts and culture, health and human services, and community building. Sophie’s parents, Scott MacLeod and Susan Hack, serve as the fund’s donor advisors.

2016 Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest Winners

The 1st Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest was held on Saturday October 15, 2016 in the Bernie Milton Pavilion of the Ithaca Commons. The Sophie Fund sincerely thanks the 57 contestants for their fabulous entries and congratulates this year’s winners!

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Monica Lee Cotto receives the Grand Prize–a $250 Greenstar Natural Foods Market certificate–from GreenStar’s Debbie Lazinsky.

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Monica Lee Cotto’s winning cupcake: pumpkin cheesecake in a chocolate cage topped with a confectionery yellow and coral rose and a butterfly crisp.

1st Prize:

Monica Lee Cotto

2nd Prize:

Becca Johnson

3rd Prize:

Aušra Milano

Honorable Mention:

Zoë Dubrow

Stephanie Harris

Natalie McCaskill-Myers

Holly Lopez

Audrey and Isaac Greene

Best Youth Award:

Natalie McCaskill-Myers

Healthiest Award:

Reba McCutcheon

Best Gluten Free Award:

Tamarynde Cacciotti

Top Vegan Award:

Patti Meyers

Best Sprinkles Award:

Amber Pierson

Best Cupcake-Sundae Award:

Rebekah Long

Best Filling Award:

Lena Bartell

Creamiest Filling Award:

Veronica VanCleave-Seeley

Best Surprise Inside Award:

Robyn Schmitt

The Cavity Award:

Claire Litwin

Richest Icing Award:

Emily Dvorak

Best Frosting Award:

Brook Smith

Most “Fall” Award:

Katherine Estaque

Nuttiest Award:

Sadie Hays

Most Beautiful Butterfly Decoration Award:

Alexa Martin

Best Embellishment Award:

Lisa Kellmurray

Berriest Frosting Award:

John Gunn

Berry Berry Good Award:

Gabriella Thurmond

Most Soothing Award:

Linda Linton VanNederynen

Most Intricate Topping Award:

Summer Saraf