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Finger Lakes region launches multi-county suicide prevention campaign

  • / Updated:
  • Josh Durso 

In response to an upward trend in suicide deaths in the Finger Lakes Region, local health departments have united to launch a multi-county suicide prevention campaign. The initiative, driven by the Pivital Public Health Partnership, includes Chemung, Livingston, Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, and Yates counties. Modeled after the #BeThe1To campaign, the effort targets first responders, older adults, men, and veterans, who are at higher-than-average risk of suicide.

Michele Foster, Executive Director of the Pivital Public Health Partnership, expressed optimism for the campaign. “Through collective action and a shared commitment to mental health advocacy, we can create a safer, more supportive environment for individuals facing mental health challenges. We are proud to launch this collaborative effort with our local health departments and believe we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of those most at risk,” she said.

A key element of the campaign is raising awareness about the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, which provides immediate access to trained professionals in mental health emergencies. This three-digit number ensures a swift response and can be the difference between life and death.

The campaign will use targeted outreach efforts to distribute educational materials both online and in print, offering tools to make the community suicide-safe. There is a role for everyone in the plan to prevent suicide. By working regionally and using the #BeThe1To model, the campaign aims to decrease the stigma surrounding mental health and increase the likelihood of residents reaching out to friends and family members struggling with suicidal thoughts. Community involvement is crucial in shaping a future where mental wellness is prioritized and stigma is eliminated. Together, the community can save lives and foster hope.