Madison County’s Coalition Welcomes Speaker March 28

(Canastota, NY – March 2013) The Madison County Suicide Coalition, in partnership with the NYS Office of Mental Health, has hosted the safeTALK training for 63 people since January of 2013. Sam Catroppa from the Office of Mental Health has been the trainer.

This three-hour workshop alerts one to warning signs indicating risk of suicide. The workshop emphasizes the importance of recognizing the signs, communicating with the person at risk and getting help or resources for the person at risk. Individuals from a variety of disciplines including law enforcement, child protective, security, human services and education have participated in the training.

BRiDGES is the local sponsor of the coalition which has been meeting regularly for a year. The interest in this and other trainings and presentations demonstrates an interest and a need in the county for this type education.

The Coalition is open to anyone who has an interest in suicide prevention and education. At the next meeting, on March 28 at 3 p.m. at BRiDGES, Debra Graham, the Director of the CNY Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, or AFSP, will speak about AFSP.

Graham lost her 17-year-old son, Josh to suicide on April 16, 2003.

Graham became involved as an advocate of Timothy’s Law in the fall of 2003 and attended her first AFSP Out of the Darkness Walk in Long Island on Oct. 3, 2004, (Josh’s 19th birthday).

In August 2006, she chaired her first Out of the Darkness walk in Syracuse. Along with a small but dedicated group of survivors, they began working diligently toward forming an AFSP CNY Chapter, which they accomplished in November of 2007.

Graham graduated from Columbia College in May 2008 with her BA in psychology. Her inspiration to return to school came from her son…who she says “Continues to inspire me each and every day.”

Graham is a member of the CNY Suicide Coalition and in May 2008 she became a trained AFSP Survivor Outreach volunteer. She has worked tirelessly to help reduce the stigma toward suicide and mental health disorders, and to bring suicide awareness and educational prevention programs to Central New York communities.

All are welcome to attend this meeting.

In addition, BRiDGES will host a two day ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) on May 23 and May 24 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. This training is free and will be held at New Beginnings Community Church in Wampsville. There are a limited number of slots still available. Those interested should call BRiDGES at 697-3947.

For more information, call Susan Jenkins at 697-3947.

By martha

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