Oneida County receives $12,500 grant for suicide prevention awareness
UTICA — Oneida County County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. announced that the Oneida Country Suicide Prevention Program has received a $12,500 grant that will be utilized by the Center for Family Life and Recovery to provide outreach to youth and their families.
“Suicide and suicidal behavior among youth and young adults is a major public health crisis,” Picente said. “Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 10-24 in the United States, and rates have been rising for decades. We were seeing increasing needs for mental health services among our youth even before the COVID-19 pandemic, so it’s not surprising that the impact of that crisis has created new challenges. This grant will allow us to provide additional support to our county residents who are struggling.”
Oneida County was one of only six to receive the one-time grant as part of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) first-ever Youth Suicide Prevention Community Grants Program.
The Center for Family Life and Recovery (CFLR) applied for the grant on behalf of the Oneida County Suicide Prevention Program.
The AAP grant program was created to provide small grants to county and city health departments and community coalitions to identify and address gaps in youth suicide prevention services in their communities using best practices and tools from the AAP Blueprint, in addition to creating or continuing partnerships with local pediatric practices. Priority was given to those already working on suicide prevention strategies in their communities, as well as to those working in areas experiencing disproportionately high rates of youth mental health concerns, suicide rates and health inequities.
The Oneida County Suicide Prevention Program will utilize its grant to conduct a communitywide education and awareness campaign that will provide parents and families with the tools to have a conversation around mental health, develop training and show families how to find support and resources. It will also be extended to clinics, hospitals and other medical and mental health agencies in order to reach those clinical pathways and community partnerships.
“This grant will allow CFLR and the coalition to increase our suicide prevention programming in multiple ways throughout our county,” said Francesca Esposito, Center for Family Life and Recovery Mental Health Prevention Service Coordinator. “Key programming will raise awareness for parents on what they may encounter with their child who may have a mental health crisis. It will also allow us to increase the amount of Youth Mental Health Days in 2023 from one event to three in the different regions of Oneida County and will target youth and families who may experience one or more risk factors for self-harm or suicide.”
The Oneida County Suicide Prevention Program coalition currently consists of members from the following agencies: Oneida County Health Department, Oneida County Department of Mental Health, Center for Family Life and Recovery, Neighborhood Center-Mobile Crisis Assessment Team, Watertown VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic, Mohawk Valley Health System, Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center, and ICAN.
Suicide can often be prevented. Putting distance or time between a person who is suicidal, and the means to act, can make a big difference. This can be accomplished by keeping medications locked up, guns and weapons safely secured and by limiting harmful chemicals in the household.
If you suspect a youth is at risk for suicide, seek help immediately. Look for warning signs like withdrawing from friends and family, changes in normal activities/behaviors, talking about death, looking up suicide, giving away possessions, irritability, increased aggression and feeling sad or depressed.
Those who are in crisis should call 988 or text TALK to 741741, call MCAT at 315-732-6228 or the Trevor Project for LGBTQ+ specific issues at 1-866-488-7386.
For additional resources, contact the Oneida County Department of Mental Health at 315-768-3600.