GENESEO, N.Y., September 6, 2022 – Each year, tens of thousands of Americans take their own life as suicide has become one of the leading causes of death in the United States. September has been designated as Suicide Prevention Month and Livingston County has a wide array of programming to help residents struggling with mental health, considering suicide or in need of help.
A county-operated clinic that is licensed by the New York State Office of Mental Health, Livingston County Mental Health Services provides access to psychiatrists, therapists, social workers and counselors to children and adults who encounter mental health issues such as stress, significant life-changing events, trauma and more.
In addition, the County has partnered with numerous local agencies to make services readily available to residents and has established a Suicide Prevention Task Force in conjunction with the Genesee Valley Health Partnership to educate, prevent suicide and promote emotional wellness throughout Livingston County.
"Livingston County has been leading the way in providing prevention education and resources for individuals since the creation of the Livingston County Suicide Prevention Task Force in 2013,” added Lynne Mignemi who serves as the Chairperson of the Task Force. “The Livingston County Suicide Prevention Task Force is a suicide prevention coalition under the umbrella of the Genesee Valley Health Partnership, a not-for-profit created to improve the health and wellness of the Livingston County community. Individuals, community members and organizations, elected and government officials, and behavioral and the medical communities have come together to promote the message that mental health is as important as physical health. There are resources and hope for those facing mental health challenges and in a mental health crisis. Reducing stigma around the discussion of mental health reduces feelings of isolation and leads individuals to care."
As part of that initiative, the Task Force created a comprehensive new approach called Lock and Talk Livingston – a program aimed at preventing self-harm by limiting access to firearms, medications and other potentially dangerous items during a mental health crisis. The program provides gun owners and retailers with evidence-based suicide awareness and prevention training, free safety devices such as gun and medication locks and disposal pouches for unused medications in the home.
“Although the COVID-19 pandemic is winding down, the mental health crisis across America continues,” mentioned Lynette Greene who is the Director of Community Services through Livingston County Mental Health. “It is important for us to remember that mental illness can not necessarily be seen and it does not discriminate. Not all the stories behind the social media posts are as happy as the pictures portray. Be sure to ask your friends and family how they are doing - and don't be afraid to ask them if they are thinking about suicide - and offer to assist them in seeking help if they are struggling.”
The Department of Health has also established a local resource line to help in the event of a mental health crisis. Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 211. Those seeking help can also tap into the national Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988 to speak to a trained crisis counselor.
If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat with someone at 988lifeline.org.
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About Livingston County:
Founded in 1821, Livingston County, N.Y., is comprised of more than 61,000 residents in 17 towns located across 631 square miles of the Finger Lakes region.