Reaching Out A Hand
Countywide Suicide Prevention Week Starts Monday
A popular event that once occupied just one day has been expanded to include a full week of suicide prevention activities.
The Chautauqua County Suicide Prevention Week will begin on Monday and will end on Saturday with the sixth annual Out of the Darkness Walk. The walk is a fundraiser for the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention that has been held in Jamestown for the past several years.
Victoria Patti, Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention coordinator, said the weeklong event series is partnered with the walk due to its success. The other events throughout the week will also spread awareness about suicide prevention and include a family and youth paint night; anti-bullying and wellness rock painting for children; a safeTalk training, in which “safe” stands for suicide alertness for everyone; tie-dye events; the walk; and speaking engagements with Kevin Hines, a worldwide mental health advocate and speaker who survived a jump off the Golden Gate Bridge.
“We decided to really help the community become aware that it is Suicide Prevention Month in Chautauqua County,” Patti said. “We actually took our old campaign, the ‘Reach Out a Hand Campaign’ and worked with this website called ‘Be the 1 To,’ so it’s the ‘Be The 1 To Reach Out A Hand Week.'”
Patti said there are a variety of resources available on Bethe1To.com.
The events are possible due to a collaboration between the alliance, The Resource Center, Chautauqua Mall, Chautauqua Tapestry, Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County, SUNY JCC and SUNY Fredonia.
Chris Anderson, The Resource Center Marketing/Internet manager, said The Resource Center hosted Kevin Hines last year for their symposium.
“It was an amazing talk,” Anderson said. “He came to talk about mental wellness and how to be mentally healthy, and he talked for about an hour. I like to tell everyone that you could almost hear a pin drop because everyone was just fixated on what he was saying. He has an amazing story to tell.”
Patti said Hines’ speaking engagements are a highlight of the weeklong series.
“We are so pleased to be working with our partners to present an amazing week of events surrounding suicide awareness,” said Heather Brown, The Resource Center assistant executive director for program operations. “This is such a critical issue in our community that touches the lives of many. We are fortunate to have put together what will prove to be a successful and informative series of events to rally around this sad but very real topic for so many.”
The schedule is as follows: on Monday, the kick-off is scheduled for 6-7 p.m. at the Chautauqua Mall, followed by the “Your Story Doesn’t End Here” Poetry Slam at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County from 7-8 p.m.
On Tuesday, a “Tye-Dye For Hope” event will be held from 12:30-1:30 p.m. on the front lawn at the SUNY JCC campus in Dunkirk and another will be held on Wednesday on the Jamestown JCC campus from noon to 1 p.m. The Tye Dye Events are for current students only.
Also on Wednesday is a KIDX Club Rocks Anti-Bullying Rock Painting event for kids 12 and under to celebrate positive messages and well-being from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Chautauqua Mall. A “Paint For Prevention” will be held on Wednesday as well from 6-8 p.m. at The Resource Center in Dunkirk.
On Thursday, Kevin Hines will speak at the SUNY Fredonia campus in the Williams Center from 10-11 a.m., and will speak at the JCC Scharmann Theatre from 7-8 p.m. in Jamestown.
A recovery luncheon sponsored by the United Christian Advocacy Network will be held from 1-2 p.m. at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County in Jamestown, followed by a “Tye-Dye for Hope” event from 2-3:30 p.m.
On Friday, the Mental Health Association will host a safeTalk Training from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. which prepares anyone over the age of 15 to become a suicide-alert helper. Those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Refreshments will be provided by the WNY Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. To register, call Victoria Patti at 753-4519.
Finally, on Saturday, the week will close out with the Out of the Darkness Walk at 10 a.m. at the Northwest Arena. To pre-register, visit afsp.donordrive.com and search for Jamestown, NY. In-person registration will be held from 8:30-10 a.m. on the day of the event.
Patti said anyone who attends events in the event series will be given the chance to win a copy of “Cracked, Not Broken: Surviving and Thriving After A Suicide Attempt” by Kevin Hines and a Kevin Hines T-Shirt.