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.

MyrickMacLeodMarvin

“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 Watershed Declaration

Community mental health stakeholders representing 18 organizations on Monday declared suicide a “serious public health concern” and pledged to intensify suicide prevention efforts in Ithaca and Tompkins County.

GarraLloyd-Lester                       Garra Lloyd-Lester, associate director of the Suicide Prevention Center New York

The call to action, known as The Watershed Declaration, was adopted by acclamation at the close of a meeting 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 Watershed Declaration stated as follows:

“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.”

Lee-Ellen Marvin, executive director of the Suicide Prevention and Crisis Service in Ithaca, praised the call to action. “I was excited and moved to see leaders from different parts of our social service community together in one room, thinking about and committing to suicide prevention,” she said. “There is indeed a public health crisis, and the way to prevent suicide is with awareness, vigilance, and the willingness of all parts of society to commit to this effort.”

Addressing the gathering at The Watershed in Ithaca, Garra Lloyd-Lester, associate director of the Suicide Prevention Center New York, announced plans to convene a “key stakeholders” meeting in June with the aim of establishing a suicide prevention coalition in Tompkins County.

Lloyd-Lester explained that suicide is increasingly seen as a public health problem rather than just an issue to be handled by an individual and their therapist.

“Operationally, that means we can all play a role in helping individuals who might be struggling with thoughts of suicide, to help keep them safe,” said Lloyd-Lester. “Seeing the folks here today it is really reflective of this idea that suicide is everybody’s business. That is the mantra that the state talks about: suicide prevention is everybody’s business.”

Sharon MacDougall, Deputy Commissioner of Mental Health Services in Tompkins County, welcomed the state’s initiative. “Suicide prevention efforts in Tompkins County are strong and need collaboration among all our agencies, providers, and groups like The Sophie Fund,” she said. “A Suicide Prevention Coalition will help bring these efforts together in close collaboration—providing a unified and passionate Tompkins County voice advocating zero suicides in our county.”

Monday’s meeting was organized by The Sophie Fund, which advocates for improved mental health for young people in the greater Ithaca area.

 

Honoring Our Grief

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“In Memory: Honoring Our Grief” is a free concert and collective memorial on Sunday, September 25 at 3:45 pm in the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church of Ithaca, 309 North Cayuga Street.

From Ithaca’s Suicide Prevention & Crisis Center:

Some grief is too painful, some losses too difficult to mourn alone.

If you have lost a loved one by suicide, accident, unexpected illness or any other challenging circumstance, you are invited to “In Memory: Honoring Our Grief,” a free concert on Sunday, September 25 at 3:45 pm. The event will take place in the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church of Ithaca, 309 North Cayuga Street.

As one community member said, “I wasn’t able to attend my mother’s funeral, didn’t even know where her ashes had been laid. This concert gives me a place to return to the grieving process that I missed.”

“In Memory: Honoring Our Grief” will begin at 3:45 pm with the creation of a memorial table. You are invited to bring a small memento such as a photograph, sculpture, stuffed animal, or flower that signifies their beloved. You will be greeted and invited to share your story as your memento is placed on the table.

Musical performances will begin at 4:00 pm. Joe Crookston, Abbe Lyons, and Elisa Sciscioli will perform songs of loss and hope, inviting the audience to join in for many of their songs. Ephemera will improvise music based on the memories shared at the memorial table.

Joe Crookston is a songwriter, guitarist, painter, fiddler, slide player, and believer in all things possible. His music has roots in folk and old-timey traditions and features songs that tell deeply emotional stories.

Ephemera is an eclectic group of women who share the love of song and creating improvisational music. They offer performances, monthly circle sings and workshops that build community through vocal improvisation and word play.Cantor

Abbe Lyons is dedicated to enhancing the spiritual and emotional power of music in everyday life and sacred spaces. She draws her repertoire from a wide range of traditional music. Juliette Corazón will join Abbe for harmonies.

Elisa Sciscioli uses singing to create healing connections, a sense of belonging and acceptance. An accomplished singer of soul standards as well as a song writer, she offers singing workshops for personal growth. Elisa will perform with Travis Knapp, Rusty Keeler and Warren Cross.

Created by Suicide Prevention & Crisis Service, this event is free with support from Scott MacLeod and Susan Hack, donor advisors of The Sophie Fund.

For more information, go to IthacaCrisis.org, call 607-272-1505, or write to info@ithacacrisis.org.