MHA of Rockland Hosts Virtual Fundraiser Featuring Top Rockland County Chefs “Food for Thought” Programming Streaming Live November 15th


Valley Cottage, NY –10/29/20–Mental Health Association of Rockland (MHA of Rockland) will stream a 90-minute virtual cook-a-thon fundraiser on Sunday, November 15that 6:00 pm on their website and through Facebook Live to raise funds and awareness of the dire effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on mental health. Seven top chefs from local Rockland County restaurants will be creating mouth-watering dishes from various cultures to nourish viewers’ minds and stomachs during the program.

Chef Marcello Russodivito of Marcello’s Ristorante in Suffern graciously offered his kitchen for the cooking segments which feature Chef Marcello and Chef Philippe Scouarnec from Marcello’s; Chef Matt Hudson from Hudson House in Nyack; Chef Michelle Timothée from La Talaye Event & Catering in Haverstraw; Chef Kevin Reilly from Roost in Sparkill; Chef Jose David Martinez from Union in Haverstraw, and Chef Doug Chi Nguyen from Wasabi in Nyack. Along with the chefs’ time, these local restaurants have also generously donated a variety of gift certificates and products to encourage donations leading up to and throughout the event. As an added bonus, a “Food for Thought” commemorative wooden cooking spoon will be given to the first 125 people who make a donation of $25 or more through the MHA of Rockland website starting November 1st.

Working together to ensure that community programs remain funded and accessible has become more important than ever. Stephanie Madison, President & CEO of MHA of Rockland, notes that, “The pandemic spotlight s both existing and new barriers to accessing mental health services. Everyone has been affected in some way over the past 8 months by this global crisis. We are seeing increased rates of depression, anxiety, substance use and post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), and do not yet know the magnitude of the psychological effects of this unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. As the pandemic subsides, the psychological effects will emerge and can expect to continue for months and years to come.

“MHA of Rockland has been serving the Rockland community for almost 70 years, and we want to respond to the emerging needs of the community by expanding our mental health and family support services for adults, children and families.Funds raised will support expanding mental health programs for the Rockland community,trauma recovery work for individuals and their families, online support forums for healthcare workers, and online relaxation and support classes for individuals with behavioral health issues.”

Companies or individuals wishing to sponsor MHA of Rockland’s Food for Thought fundraiser should contact Ms. Velvet Reda at (845) 216-4045or Corporate sponsorships include the opportunity to offer a virtual interactive presentation on Mental Wellness in the Workplace during COVID-19 with Stephanie Madison, MHA of Rockland President and CEO, or another MHA of Rockland professional, depending upon the level. Individual donors can contribute through the MHA website at

About the Mental Health Association of Rockland The Mental Health Association of Rockland helps people living with mental illness and/or addiction to embrace life and redefine themselves. MHA of Rockland also welcomes and supports families, friends, employers and colleagues who care about those struggling with these challenges. Since opening their doors in 1951, MHA of Rockland has touched the lives of more than 50,000 Rockland County residents. MHA of Rockland is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.


Contact: Velvet Reda, MHA of Rockland

Phone:(845) 216-4045

World Mental Health Day is Saturday, October 10

This year, the topic of mental health has perhaps become the most important one due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the effect it has had on the mental state of humans for the past 9-10 months. Our daily lives have changed considerably as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s important to check-in regularly on our mental health. Read a book, enjoy nature, take a walk, listen to your favorite song, mediate, practice mindfulness, create something beautiful. Take time out for YOU.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has a comprehensive site with resources and a special virtual event for all to join: .

For local resources, support and treatment options, reach out 📲 845.589.0671.


CONTACT:  Ms. Velvet Reda

845-267-2172 x257




Valley Cottage, NY – As National Suicide Prevention Month ends, Mental Health Association of Rockland (MHA of Rockland) continues to be a year-round resource for those who struggle with suicidal thoughts. In addition, the agency offers a program for people who have lost a loved one to suicide. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, on average, one person dies by suicide every five hours in New York.

“Suicide rates may increase as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic as people struggle with isolation, financial stress and loss,” said Stephanie Madison, President & CEO. “Individuals with pre-existing mental health challenges including anxiety, depression and substance use disorders are especially vulnerable if left untreated. We offer hope because proper treatment can lead to healthy lives and prevent suicide.”

One major risk factor for suicide is impairment due to substance use, which can cause someone to act impulsively and make life-altering decisions that they might not make while sober.  Stress and isolation stemming from COVID-19 make everyone more vulnerable to misusing substances or jeopardizing earlier recovery success.  MHA of Rockland’s clinic offers counseling, medication assisted treatment, and peer support to those whose lives have been touched by substance use, either their own use or a loved one’s. For information about any of these programs, call 845-267-2172, x296.

Facts About Suicide in the United States

  • On average, one person dies by suicide every 40 seconds.
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 10-34, and the fourth leading cause of death in individuals between the ages of 35-55.
  • In 2018, men died by suicide 3.56 times more often than women.

For More Information on the Mental Health Association of Rockland


If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide:

About Mental Health Association of Rockland

The Mental Health Association of Rockland is the premier provider of behavioral health services in the community, engaging more than 5,000 individuals annually.  MHA of Rockland consistently strives to improve the quality of life for those affected by mental health and/or substance use issues. They offer a vast array of therapeutic, peer and residential services.  For more information, please visit