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2018-05-15 / Front Page

Presentation at Supervisors’ Meeting Focuses on Suicide Prevention

By Rosie Cunningham


Rene Stratton, the program coordinator for the Suicide Prevention Network of Delaware County, provided statistics and a presentation to the Delaware County Board of Supervisors Wednesday. 
Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter Rene Stratton, the program coordinator for the Suicide Prevention Network of Delaware County, provided statistics and a presentation to the Delaware County Board of Supervisors Wednesday. Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter DELHI - Suicide prevention topped the agenda at the Delaware County Board of Supervisors meeting Wednesday.

Delaware County Director of Public Health Amanda Walsh provided a presentation to those in attendance and emphasized that suicide is a pressing issue in the county. Delaware County ranks third for highest suicide rates in New York state.

Walsh said the presentation was created because May is National Mental Health Month and awareness needs to be brought to the forefront.

Walsh introduced Rene Stratton, the program coordinator for SPNDC (Suicide Prevention Network of Delaware County).

Stratton said from 2011 to 2016, an average of nine people have committed suicide each year in Delaware County- mostly men between the ages of 39 and 54.

Walsh said the organization focused on the elderly, veterans, officers and farmers due to high stress occupations and as for the elderly - isolation.

Delaware County’s suicide rate is higher than the New York state average, Stratton explained. Veterans and dairy farmers were among the demographics that the program is particularly concerned about. The presentation/Public Service Announcement was funded by the NYS Center for Suicide Prevention, the O’Connor Foundation and Rural Alliance.

“There is a concern with them not wanting to be a burden,” Stratton said, adding that middle age males are less likely to go to the doctor or talk to someone about mental health problems.

Stratton emphasized the importance of individuals asking the question “Are you suicidal?”

“Even if it is uncomfortable, that question needs to be asked,” she said. “You could save a life.

SPNDC will continue their suicide-prevention campaign in a series of public service announcements (PSAs) backed by local and national resources. The PSAs, which were played at the meeting, will be unveiled June 3 at a film festival at the Walton Theatre.

Approved resolutions:

The board accepted grant money for the flood buyout program, wherein initial funds of $2 million will be supplemented by $50,000 from Delaware County into the Delaware County Planning Department budget. The funds committed will be reimbursed by the state Office of Storm Recovery, federal Office of Housing and Urban Development and Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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