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

Consoling Someone Who has Lost a Loved One to Suicide

How can you console someone who has lost a loved one to suicide?

Many people who have lost a loved one to suicide tell us what they want most is to know that people care about them and are not judging them or the loved one they are grieving. The death of a loved one through any cause is painful, but losing someone we love to suicide adds another layer of pain and emotions to the experience of loss.

In our attempt to help, we can listen to what has helped others in this situation:
• Be there even if you don’t know what to do or say. The comfort of food, flowers, donations to causes, offers to help with final plans, and babysitting, can bring some comfort to those who are grieving
• Mention by name the person who has died and talk about his/her positive qualities and what you loved about him/her. People don’t want their loved one to be forgotten.
• Listen to your friend’s experience and try to understand what he/she is going through. Sometimes we need to stop ourselves from saying what we might think is helpful, but doesn’t really help those in sorrow, such as “You’re so strong”, “time heals all wounds”, “you will love again”. Our best intentions can be offered in words like “We love you and ________ (lost loved one)”, “What can we do to be helpful right now?” and “How are you getting along?”
• Be aware that other relatives and friends such as children and grandparents can often be overlooked.
• Take care of yourself and know your limitations – when a friend is hurting it takes its toll on you, too.
• As time passes, people appreciate those who remember the anniversary date and birthday of their loved one because they don’t want that person to be forgotten and never mentioned.
• Suffering a loss to suicide is a long-term bereavement. Your acceptance of that and not expecting a person to “snap out of it” will be appreciated.
American Foundation of Suicide Prevention Toll-Free: 1-888-333-AFSP (2377)

SOS Support Group for Survivors of Suicide, MHA of RC 845-267-2172
(A professionally facilitated group for those who have lost someone to suicide)

For more referral information, call our Client/Family Advocate – Nicole Sirignano, 845-267-2172, x296.

Author of blog – Marcella Amorese, Director, Children and Family Services, MHA Rockland, 845 267 2172 x324

MHA teams with NY Senator David Carlucci at Student Advisory Committee Meeting

By David Carlucci
Last night we hosted another informative Student Advisory Committee meeting with students from throughout the Hudson Valley.

I want to thank Nicole Sirignano and Sean Campbell of the Mental Health Association of Rockland County for conducting a thought provoking talk on suicide prevention.

If you or a family member is in crisis, please call the national suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

What YOU Can Do To Prevent Suicide

Following the suicide of a much-loved celebrity, there is always talk about what happened and why. Suddenly, the harsh reality of suicide is brought into focus. The truth is that there are over 30,000 deaths by suicide reported across the country each year. This number doesn’t include the unreported deaths – a figure which researchers figure to be seven times that!

Thankfully, suicide is often preventable. If you have been wondering how you can be helpful in this fight against suicide, you might find these ideas useful.

1) Watch your language. Please don’t talk about a failed suicide attempt – say “thankfully the person survived.” This reminds us that ultimately this isn’t about success or failure – it’s about survival. Also, try not to say that a person “committed suicide.” This sounds like a crime. Instead say the person “died by suicide.” That brings home the point that suicide is final. For teens and young adults, who tend to be more impulsive, this is an especially important point.

2) Learn the warning signs and risk factors. These include a person speaking of being an enormous burden on others, having mood swings, or experiencing major sleep problems. Real or perceived loss of honor (eg. demotion, termination, breakup in a relationship) can also be a risk factor. And those who have been discharged from a hospital in the past month for emotional disturbance are at elevated risk, especially during the first week following discharge. Frequent contact with friends during that time can make a huge difference.

3) Understand that people who are depressed often feel invisible. Coworkers and family may be very aware of their mood but don’t know what to do or say, so they often don’t say anything about what they see. This can lead the person they care about to feel as if no one has noticed their struggle.

4) Don’t be afraid to pop the question. If you are concerned about someone, you probably have very good reason to be. People are often afraid to ask about suicidal thinking. We have found that when someone is asked about possible thoughts of suicide, he/she typically is relieved to be invited to discuss it OR is grateful that someone cared enough to ask. They can stop feeling invisible (see #3).

5) Take a safeTALK training. This is a FREE three-hour class for the general community, teaching people about the warning signs and strategies for talking in a meaningful way with someone who concerns you. MHA is offering one on Wed, September 10 at 9am. Registration is required. Call 845-267-2172, x296.  Click here for a flyer.

6) Join a Reach for the Stars tour. This is a one-hour tour of our mission. It’s a wonderful way to learn more about we do at MHA and perhaps become involved! To ask about tour dates, click here.

Important Resources

National Lifeline – 800/273-TALK (8255) – this is a 24/7 line with dedicated services for Spanish-speakers and veterans.

For more information about community resources, click here or call MHA’s Client and Family Advocate at 845-267-2172, x296 to talk with someone about how MHA or another community agency can be helpful.

safeTALK: Suicide Prevention Training, Wednesday, September 10, 2014

MHA of Rockland County will be offering a free safeTALK: Suicide Prevention Training on Wednesday, September 10 from 9am to noon.  Registration will be at 8:30 am.

Key elements of this training include:

• Recognize the warning signs of suicide
• Identify preventive resources and how to access them
• Apply the TALK (Tell, Ask, Listen, Keep Safe)
• Learn what effective safeTALK is and is not
• Prepare “front line” community leaders with valuable information
• Learn effective ways to connect well and build rapport
• Receive valuable information
• Practice and enhance active listening skills
• Practice and enhance skills making effective referrals to appropriate professionals

To register call 845-267-2172, x296.

To download a pdf flyer, click here.