The New York State Office of Mental Health in conjunction with the Central New York Field Office, has just released three half hour television shows on suicide prevention with the goal of providing people statewide with information which can save lives, including phone numbers to call and web addresses.
The shows are titled “Suicide & Kids,” “Suicide Survivors,” (the term used for those who survive a friend or loved one’s suicide), and “Vets & Suicide”.
“We want to get the message out as quickly as we can, to help the largest number of people we can,” said Melanie Puorto, Director of Suicide Prevention Initiatives for NYS OMH.”
“We are grateful for the assistance of Time Warner Cable and local media to assist us in this mission of educating the public,” she added.
SUICIDE & KIDS
Maureen Underwood, who was featured in the show, said “Suicide is a reality for youth, even if adults find this fact difficult to understand.”
“National surveys of youth have shown that over 20% of the students in high school classrooms admit to having had thoughts of suicide during the past year,” she said.
“They also tell us,” Underwood added, “that they are reluctant to talk with adults because they’re not sure they will be taken seriously.”
“I advocate that parents, teachers, and other adults in children’s lives educate themselves about the risk factors and warning signs of youth suicide, as well as about the protective factors that can buffer stress.”
Many professionals say the willingness to talk with kids about suicide is key, but kids may feel it’s taboo. Let them know help is available.
Families are reticent to intervene and act, said Garra-Lloyd-Lester, a Director of Preventions Services for Youth. “The big factor is stigma associated with mental illness, and even more so if suicide is involved.”
“The best solution to combating stigma is education…letting the general public know the facts about mental illness and suicide, and the help and resources available,” said
Debra Graham, who lost her son to suicide and is an active volunteer with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, (also featured in the show) said, “You may see obvious changes, hygiene may diminish, hair disheveled, bedroom and personal items such as a backpack are disorganized, these are just a few things that could be signs of depression.”
“When there is a noticeable change in behavior, such as a lack of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable, isolating oneself from family and friends, and any significant change in sleeping and/or eating habits lasting more than two weeks, are signs to watch for,” she added.
“Pay attention to warning signs and seek professional help if the person is talking about death, is making comments about being worthless or stating, ‘the world would be better off without me.’ Be it small or extreme, take warning signs seriously,” Graham added. For more information regarding risk factors and warning signs, visit www.afsp.org.
Said Clinical Psychologist, Vanessa McGann, Ph.D., “For some, the hardest part of being a suicide survivor is the sense of responsibility or guilt you bear, the feeling that…you could have done more.”
Shows are available for viewing worldwide on the web, and on Time Warner Cable Video On Demand (VOD) statewide. To access the shows on TWC VOD, go to the following Channels and look under “Health”: For Albany – Channel 1007 (NY On Demand)/ For Syracuse – Channel 1000 (NY On Demand)/ For Rochester – Channel 111 (Rochester On Demand)/ For Buffalo – Channel 997 (WNY On Demand)/ For Hudson Valley – 1111 (Hudson Valley On Demand)/ For New York City – 1111 (NY On Demand)/ For Staten Island – 1111 (Staten Island On Demand)
Links to view the shows online:
VETS AND SUICIDE http://www.vimeo.com/7427470
SUICIDE AND KIDS http://www.vimeo.com/7381559
SUICIDE SURVIVORS SHOW http://vimeo.com/7097201
The NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE IS 1.800.273.8255, the State’s website for more suicide prevention resources is www.omh.state.ny.us.