AFSP

2018-2019 Mental Health Awareness and Suicide Prevention Training Programs

Attached please find an updated list of the available mental health awareness and suicide prevention training programs from the Essex County Suicide Prevention Coalition, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the MHANYS School Mental Health Resource Center.

Many programs can be delivered to your school, organization or community with little or no cost to you.  Follow the Essex County Suicide Prevention Coalition’s Facebook page for up-to-date program information and available training sessions near you.

Download PDF here:  2018-2019 Training Programs

 

North Country Out of the Darkness Walk Sponsorship Opportunities

Over the next few months, you will be seeing a lot of posts about our community Out of the Darkness Walks. Why are these so important? First, they provide support and a sense of community and belonging for those who have lost someone to suicide, those who struggle and those who support the cause. Second, the money raised is needed so that we can continue to provide free local suicide prevention education and awareness programs in the 15 counties the chapter serves. We would love to have you join us at one (or more) of our 4 walks this fall but if you can’t attend, please consider making a donation.

Additionally, this year marks the 10-year anniversary of the North Country Out of the Darkness Walk in Lake Placid.  To register for the Walk or to make a donation, visit www.afsp.org/northcountry.  For sponsorship opportunities, please review the attached sponsorship packet.

NC Walk sponsorship packet 2018

After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools, Second Edition

After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools assists schools in implementing a coordinated response to the suicide death of a student. Originally developed in 2011, the second edition includes new information and tools that middle and high schools can use to help the school community cope and reduce suicide risk. The toolkit was developed in collaboration with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and in consultation with national experts, including school-based administrators and staff, clinicians, researchers, and crisis response professionals. It is designed primarily for administrators and staff but can also be useful for parents and communities.

Link to the toolkit HERE.

 

 

Highlights of the second edition include:

  • Updated information on such topics as memorialization, social media, and contagion
  • Updated resource lists
  • A new tool to help with decision-making about memorials
  • New examples of how different communities have addressed specific issues in responding to a suicide death

If you or someone you know may be having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 at 800-273-TALK.  To reach someone to talk to in Essex County, call the 24-hour Essex County Mental Health Services Crisis Line at 888-854-3773 or the Mental Health Association 24-hour Hopeline at 800-440-8074.  Free and confidental emotional support is always available.  With help, comes hope.

 

A Remembrance and Poem by Barbara Rand

Lake Placid resident Barb Rand gave permission for an excerpt and poem from her upcoming book of poetry to be read at the North Country Out of the Darkness Walk in Lake Placid on Sunday, October 1, 2017.  The following is the reading shared with the audience:

A Remembrance and Poem from Prayers Along the Trail
By Barbara Rand
North Country Out of the Darkness Walk – Lake Placid
Sunday, October 1, 2017

My husband Dennis Ryan was bigger than life. Very much a people person, he always empathized with people who were going through hard times. He was kind, had lots of energy, and was known for being intense. With these qualities, he helped to move the world around him in positive ways and led the many projects he worked on to speedy completion. Whether driving miles to the funeral of a good friend’s parent or involving himself in community affairs, Dennis was always present for others.

Dennis was the love of my life. He was a gentle soul with a huge heart. Perhaps his heart was bigger than the average one, and that is why he gave so much of it to others. He loved his family and me more than himself. He loved his friends, as they were his family too. His passions were many and one of his primary ones was being involved with the lives of others. He was a good listener. When he would talk with you, you felt like you were very special, as if you were the only one in the room. He was a small town guy, but he drew in a city of friends as well.

His famous quote was, “Failure was not an option.” He was a Norwich University graduate and a very disciplined individual who had great respect for the Military life in general. His father was a Pearl Harbor survivor and my father was an 82nd Airborne soldier, surviving all the major campaigns during World War II. As a result, Dennis was deeply involved with the Veterans’ causes throughout his life and right up until his death.

He was a man who was always full of surprises and especially loved the simple things in life. A major passion was his love of music. As a result, he spent the majority of his professional life in the radio business. He started out as a disc jockey in college and finally his experiences grew into management and ownership.

He loved movies and holding hands, chocolate and red wine, and especially our Christmas Eve’s together. He was a big fan of the holidays in general and participated in the Fourth of July, even becoming a licensed pyrotechnic and he set off many fireworks over the years. He enjoyed flying and was a licensed pilot who flew whenever he could. He worked with NASCAR for a time, and Help Wanted.com, and finally as the financial business consultant.

A funny story about my guy to end on….One time at Thanksgiving, the restaurant was out of pumpkin pie, which is my favorite kind. So the next year, he actually brought a pumpkin pie to the very restaurant we had been going to for years, just so I could have my favorite pie for dessert, should they be momentarily out, and never be disappointed. He became the “pumpkin pie guy” at the restaurant forevermore!

He loved his 1976 Eldorado Cadillac so much and called it Big Red and took such wonderful care of it, just like he did with me. Our Sundays were mostly spent on taking road trips in Big Red with the top down as we just cruised the back country roads. This made my guy smile a lot.

He used to walk in our door bellowing, “Honey, I’m Home,” after Jackie Gleason of the Honeymooners, one of his favorite shows growing up. He loved bells and even hung a big bell at work and each time he’d come in the door, he would ring it and say the same thing: “Honey, I’m Home.” The girls at the office all loved him too.

My guy is still inside my heart, where he will forever remain.

After the shock of his death by suicide on May 21, 2012 — a suicide no one saw coming — I fell into deep sadness, then depression. Looking back, I don’t know how I would have survived without the love and support of my family and friends. Mine was a very slow recovery amidst the chaos of financial matters, moving from the cozy house we had shared and the city we had both loved, and dealing with endless details alone.

My long-time love of writing poetry helped me to find a new way of living my life. It provided me with a means for dealing with my extreme loss when I was alone and distraught. The poems started to come to me soon after the suicide and continue to do so often. I don’t think this will ever cease. Eventually, I began to think that perhaps I too could find a way to help others, with my poetry.

The aftermath of a suicide is a long dark tunnel to walk through for those left behind. Extreme effort is required to get through each day, especially at the beginning. I have learned that the stages of grief that psychology and self-help books outline are unpredictable and ever-present in my life. There is no exact science of the grieving and healing processes. It is easy to slip back into the sadness of loss, especially at anniversaries and holidays. Each person grieves in their own special way.

I have been so fortunate to have the ongoing support of my family and friends. My wish is that, in some small way, my poetry will touch others in situations similar to mine. I want others to realize that it is possible to make it from the darkness of despair back into the light of hope.

My book of poems is also a call to those dealing with suicidal thoughts in their daily lives. Death by suicide is not the answer. Reading the thoughts of someone left behind may make it possible you to grasp that there can be another way. Talk to someone. If that doesn’t work, talk to someone else. Because your life matters and there is help for you out here.

New Tracks

Since you left,
I have changed.
I have lived and let go of a lot of pain.
My tracks have been left on many mountain tops,
Firmly embedded in the deep white snow.
My heart is feeling more at peace.
I had to let you go with time,
But all the memories
Are still mine.
Since you left,
I have grown.
And my new home
Is surrounded by mountains
Whose colors and beauty have
Beckoned me back to life.
This is where
I now choose to roam,
And spend my days enjoying life
Knowing with every fiber of my being,
That each day is a true blessing
To be honored and revered,
With not a second to waste.

 

 

If you or someone you know may be having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 at 800-273-TALK (8255.)  To reach someone in Essex County, call the Essex County Mental Health Clinic Crisis line 24/7 at 888-854-3773 or the Mental Health Association’s 24-hour Hopeline at 800-440-8074.  Free and confidential emotional support is available, and with help, comes hope.

2017 Out of the Darkness Guest Speaker Hillary Kelly

Hillary Kelly

Guest Speaker

North Country Out of the Darkness Walk – Lake Placid

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Seven years ago, I attended my first North Country Out of the Darkness Walk. I was only nine months out from a suicide attempt that gave me three days in the ICU and then seven more on the mental health unit.  I was still finding my footing in accepting my diagnosis of bipolar disorder – a diagnosis I received as a teenager, but did not embrace as part of me until my early twenties.  A select few people in my life knew about my attempt, but I was not comfortable sharing that part of me with most people.  I still felt the shame and stigma surrounding my illness that I had felt for years, the same shame that had caused me to hide years of self-harm, medications, ER visits and short admissions to the hospital.  I came to that first walk with my mother, and I remember us tearfully leaning into each other while listening to the words of the survivors of suicide loss.  We didn’t speak, but we were both thinking the same thing – how close I came to being a name on a sign instead of standing there, absorbing the pain and loss of those left behind.

Those first few walks, those early years in my mental health recovery, were about reminding myself that I was still here, and how close I came to the alternative.  I began to speak openly both about having bipolar disorder, and about attempting suicide.  Instead of the judgment and stigma I expected I was met with support, encouragement and most surprisingly – gratitude. The more I spoke about it, the more other people felt comfortable reaching out and sharing their own stories of struggling with their mental health.

When I was discharged from the hospital in 2009, I began to see a counselor, and I met one I finally connected with, who helped me process not only my illness, but past trauma and encouraged me to develop a plan for the future.  If I hadn’t had her, I would have placed limitations on myself that I didn’t need to.  I struggled to find my purpose, and when I felt I was ready to return to college, I told her that I wanted to help other people with mental illness.  But how could I do that, I said, when I have a mental illness myself?  She said something to me that has stuck with me ever since, and has proven true time and time again – she said, “there are so many wounded healers in this field.”

It took work – and I want to emphasize that – to obtain stability, and then to maintain it.  It took trying different medications until we found the combination that worked.  It took working with some providers I loved, and some that I didn’t, to find treatment that worked for me.

There are many kinds of mental illness.  Bipolar disorder is a lifelong diagnosis and for me, recovery is an active choice.  I will always be in recovery, I will never be recovered.  I have to practice self-care, have a strong support system, and recognize when I am starting to feel unwell.  But with all of this work I am able to maintain a life that I love.  I am a mother to three beautiful boys – my three and a half year old, and my 15-month-old twins.  I also have a career that I am passionate about that brings me the purpose I have always desired.  Do you know what I do?  I am a wounded healer.

I began my career in mental health two years ago, and this past summer I became a New York State Certified Peer Specialist.  A peer is someone who uses lived experience to help others with their mental health recovery.  I specifically work in crisis stabilization – helping people who are actively suicidal or are experiencing suicidal ideation.  I also help people as they are being discharged from an inpatient hospital stay and connect them to services to assist in their recovery.  The same types of services that helped me.  My own experiences allow me to have true empathy for the people I am trying to help.

I asked to speak here today because I know there are a lot of people out there wearing green beads who could benefit from a message of hope.  I want you to know, from someone who has been at that lowest low, that you won’t always feel that way.  And one thing to take away from being here – that I always take away – is that there are people who love you who need you here.  And even if you feel like there aren’t, you never know who you will meet tomorrow, or next month, or next year.  I met my husband six months after my attempt.  There are three little boys here today who might not have existed because of how I felt for a short time eight years ago.

There is a book my mother gave me for Christmas a few years ago by Nancy Tillman called “You’re Here for a Reason”. I’d like to share a passage from that book with you now:

“You’re here for a reason.  If you think you’re not, I would just say that perhaps you forgot – a piece of the world that is precious and dear would surely be missing if you weren’t here.  If not for your smile and your laugh and your heart, this place we call home would be minus a part. Thank goodness you’re here!  Thank goodness times two!”

If you are feeling suicidal, please reach out – whether it’s to someone in your life that you are close to, a medical or behavioral provider, or a hotline, warmline or helpline.  There are people out there who care.  You matter.  There are professionals here today who can provide you with resources and phone numbers, or if you don’t have access to those numbers in a crisis or can’t remember, dialing 2-1-1 can help connect you to local resources as well.  There is a quote I go back time and again when I am feeling low or working with someone who is feeling suicidal. “No feeling is final”.  Trust me when I say it’s worth it to see how the future feels.

Click here to download a PDF of Hillary’s speech. 

If you or someone you know may be having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 at 800-273-TALK (8255.) To reach someone in Essex County, call the Essex County Mental Health Clinic Crisis line 24/7 at 888-854-3773 or the Mental Health Association’s 24-hour Hopeline at 800-440-8074. Free and confidential emotional support is available, and with help, comes hope.

“Where there is cake, there is hope. And there is always cake.”

Contact:  Shelby Davis
Shelby@mhainessex.org
518-962-2077 ext. 229

Depressed Cake Shop comes to the North
Country Out of the Darkness Walk

Pop-up shop raises awareness for mental health with unique
baked goods

Lake Placid, NY – September 25, 2017 – The North Country Out of the Darkness Walk to Fight Suicide is in its ninth year, and the Planning Committee is excited to announce the debut of The Depressed Cake Shop at this year’s Walk. The motto of the Depressed Cake Shop is “Where there is cake, there is hope. And there is always cake.”

The Depressed Cake Shop is a world-wide movement in experiential public relations. Specifically, Depressed Cake Shop is a pop-up bake shop, comprised of gorgeous baked goods decorated in various shades of grey, sometimes with a pop of color to represent hope. The grey symbolizes the grey cloud that can descend over a beautiful world when someone is struggling with mental health conditions. The pop of color signifies hope, the hope we all have, the hope we lend to someone who is in need.

Depressed Cake Shop is a stunning visual reminder of mental illness and is meant to get people thinking and talking about the subject in a new way. It’s a perfect fit for the North Country Out of the Darkness Walk in Lake Placid, and organizers hope that the creativity will astound participants at the Olympic Oval on Sunday, October 1. Bakeries interested in donating baked goods may contact Amy Quinn at anq1970@gmail.com.

To register for the North Country Out of the Darkness Walk, visit www.afsp.org/northcountry. To make a raffle donation or for information about sponsorship, contact Shelby Davis at Shelby@mhainessex.org or call 518-962-2077 ext. 229.

Depressed Cake Shop coming to Out of the Darkness Walk in Lake Placid

“Where there is cake, there is hope.  And there is always cake.”

Depressed Cake Shop is coming to the North Country Out of the Darkness Walk, October 1, in Lake Placid!

Stay tuned for details!

#depressedcakeshop
#outofthedarkness
#stopsuicide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Local Quilters Donate Hand-Crafted Quilt to Out of the Darkness Walk

 

This beautiful quilt is being made by two local quilters from Port Kent, and donated to the North Country Out of the Darkness Walk.  With over 60 combined years of experience, their creative pattern design is meant to symbolize the dark colors transforming into lighter ones in the spirit of the “Out of the Darkness” theme.  We appreciate their generous donation and will contribute all funds raised from the raffle towards the Walk.

 

quilt in progress

“Adirondack Hope”

Full Size/Wall Hanging, 77 x 92

Disappearing Pattern Style

 

Drawing will be held Sunday, October 1, 2017 at the North Country Out of the Darkness Walk to Fight Suicide in Lake Placid.  Winner does not need to be present to win.

Tickets are $2 each or 3 for $5 when purchase in person.

Tickets can be purchased from Out of the Darkness Walk Committee Members or at Out of the Darkness Fundraising events.

Tickets can also be purchased online at https://mhainessex.wufoo.com/forms/out-of-the-darkness-quilt-raffle/.   $10 or 6 ticket minimum purchase online.

 

Grand Prize Getaway for Two Raffle Drawing to benefit the North Country Out of the Darkness Walk to Fight Suicide

 

 

The North Country Out of the Darkness Walk Grand Prize Getaway for Two includes:

* A Two Night Stay including Breakfast at the Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa

* Round of Golf for Two at Whiteface Club and Resort

* Dinner for Two in Lake Placid

Raffle tickets are $10.00 each and may also be purchased from Out of the Darkness Planning Committee members, or at any Out of the Darkness fundraising event.

Tickets can also be purchased online here:

https://mhainessex.wufoo.com/forms/grand-prize-getaway-for-two-raffle-drawing/

 

A sample raffle ticket

Overall prize value exceeds $1,200 (no cash value)

For more information about the North Country Out of the Darkness Walk, visit www.afsp.org/northcountry. To sponsor or volunteer for the Walk, contact Shelby at 962-2077 ext. 229 or shelby@mhainessex.org.

 

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony held to mark Official Start to Out of the Darkness Campaign

Photo Courtesy of Erin Velsini, Essex County Mental Health

Pictured left to right:  James Monty,  Lewis Town Supervisor; Jessica Collier, Adirondack Health; Garra Lloyd-Lester, Suicide Prevention Center NY; Deb and Doug Jerdo, Walk Founders; Shelby Davis, 2017 Walk Chairperson; Valerie Ainsworth, Mental Health Association in Essex County, Inc.& Homeward Bound Adirondacks; Krissy Leerkes, Office for the Aging & NY Connects; Michael “Ike” Tyler, Westport Town Supervisor.   Not pictured:  Stephen Valley, Essex County Mental Health Services; Laura Marx, Area Director, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Elizabethtown, NY (May 26, 2017) –A ribbon cutting ceremony was held May 17, 2017 to mark the official start of the North Country Out of the Darkness Walk to Fight Suicide Campaign. The ribbon was cut by Walk Founders Deb and Doug Jerdo, who lost their son to suicide and became advocates to raise awareness for suicide prevention, hoping to prevent other families from losing a loved one to suicide. Town Supervisors James Monty from Lewis and Michael “Ike” Tyler from Westport joined the ribbon cutting to show their support; stating their concern as former corrections officers and the unusually high rate of suicide within the corrections and law enforcement fields.

Garra Lloyd-Lester, Associate Director of the Suicide Prevention Center office in Albany, relayed his perception about suicide prevention as being “more than stopping people from wanting to die, suicide prevention is about helping people want to live.” Valerie Ainsworth, Executive Director of the Mental Health Association in Essex County, Inc. is also the Executive Director for Homeward Bound Adirondacks, and is hoping to raise awareness to the continued need for improved access to mental health treatment and suicide prevention efforts in the Veteran community. Walk Sponsor Adirondack Health was represented by Communications Coordinator Jessica Collier.

The Out of the Darkness Walk is the main fundraising event for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and is being organized by members of the Essex County Suicide Prevention Coalition and members of surrounding communities. The North Country Walk is in its 9th year, and is scheduled for Sunday, October 1, 2017, at the Olympic Speed Skating Oval in Lake Placid. Over the last 8 years, the Walk has raised more than $220,000 to fund research as well as local suicide prevention, education, training and survivor of suicide loss support programs for North Country residents.

The Official Start of the campaign signifies the beginning of concentrated efforts to enlist walkers, both in person and virtual, volunteers for planning and on the day of the walk, sponsors for cash, in-kind donations and prize or basket raffles. To register for the North Country Walk, visit www.afsp.org/northcountry. For more information about corporate sponsorships, in-kind donations, basket raffles or to volunteer, contact Walk Chairperson Shelby Davis at (518) 962-2077 or Shelby@mhainessex.org.