Raising awareness, promoting hopefulness in community-wide effort to end suicide

We recently observed “Suicide Prevention Week” in Erie County by holding a collaborative event that involved participation from several community partners. Together, we remain hopeful in addressing a continued public health crisis that has received increased attention because of the current global pandemic.

While I am thankful that the number of suicides in Erie County is declining, the impact that suicide has on the family members and friends of each victim cannot be denied. Raising awareness and letting people know that help is available is a message we need to share on a regular basis.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that suicide was the tenth-leading cause of death overall in the United States in 2019, claiming 47,500 victims. Suicide was also the second-leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34, and the fourth-leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 35 and 44. Additionally, in 2019 there were nearly two and a half times as many suicides (47,511) in the United States as there were homicides (19,141).

I urge local residents to access online resources made available by the Erie County Mental Health Department as well as Crisis Services and the Erie County Suicide Prevention Coalition by visiting these websites:

• Erie County Department of Mental Health: https://www3.erie.gov/mentalhealth/

• Crisis Services: http://crisisservices.org/

• Suicide Prevention Coalition of Erie County: http://suicidepreventionecny.org/

We all have a role to plan in raising our voices of concern and compassion for anyone who may be struggling. I urge anyone who is having any type of self-destructive thoughts to please reach out for help by calling the Crisis Services 24-hour hotline at (716) 834-3131 and know that we care about you, we are here for you during your time of despair, and that better and brighter days do lie ahead.