Substance abuse, suicide prevention efforts to take center stage at trio of events in Seneca County

The Seneca County Suicide Prevention Coalition and the Substance Abuse Coalition, a joint-effort between Seneca County and the United Way of Seneca County announced three events, which will gather community input on a host of difficult issues impacting residents across the region.

The sessions will provide the community with opportunity to engage with local leaders on addiction, overdose, suicide, bullying, depression, trafficking, mental health, and the reduction of support for programs aimed at addressing those issues.

The events will be held on the following dates:

– Monday, April 9th from 6-8 p.m. at the Ovid Firehouse (2136 Brown St.)
– Saturday, April 14th from 9:30-11:30 a.m. at the Fayette Firehouse (4200
NY-414)
– Wednesday, April 18th from 6-8 p.m. at the Seneca Falls Elks Lodge (2221 River
Road)

Attendance is not limited to geography. Those interested in coming out can attend any, or all of the input sessions. Attendees of all ages are invited, though parental discretion is advised due to the the content of possible discussions.

“Perhaps you have not been affected by suicide or substance abuse, but I bet you know someone who has. Come for them. Come to show solidarity with those who have dealt with this. Come to learn. Come to listen to your neighbors. Come help our community heal,” added Community Educator Natalee Carroll. “The only people who can truly understand the complexities of this community and its needs are the people living in it. Effective and lasting change simply cannot happen without you.”

Rhonda Jasper, Executive Director of the United Way of Seneca County echoed that sentiment. “So many are unsure of what is going on, of what resources are available – of how they can help or where they can go for help. We all carry a piece of the puzzle, but without each of us at the table pieces are missing,” she added. “All of these topics are difficult to discuss, but nothing will change unless we support each other and work together to have the tough conversations.”

Realizing that the community must come together to bring about positive change, the scheduled forums allow those who might otherwise feel ‘out of place’ on the matter get involved.
“Just because we aren’t impacted directly doesn’t mean we lack empathy or a desire to understand, and to help heal. These events are important ‘first-steps’ to begin to frame the issues and to give everyone a voice. If you are interested in helping or just want to gain situational awareness then these forums are right for you,” added Coalition Member Christopher Folk.

There is no sign-up requirement, or advanced planning for those wishing to attend. Simply come out, show support, and contribute to the dialogue set to take place in Seneca County on these three dates.

The Coalition is seeking the public’s input on addressing the following questions at these sessions:

– What services NOT offered currently would you like to see?
– What services offered now can be enhanced? How so?
– How do you feel about awareness of these issues within the community?
– What can Seneca County do to better serve the community?

Remember, if you or anyone you know is struggling with suicide, seek help immediately:
Crisis Text Line: 741741

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1 (800) 273-TALK ~(8255)~
Suicide Prevention Lifeline: www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: www.asfp.org