Month-Long Messaging Campaign on the Importance of Suicide Prevention and Overall Mental Health

Upholding Westchester County’s Commitment to suicide prevention, awareness and the importance of overall mental health, Westchester County Executive George Latimer, the Department of Community Mental Health (DCMH) and several community partners recognized the month of September as Suicide Prevention & Awareness Month. The month-long messaging campaign was created to help educate Westchester County residents on the appropriate ways to discuss mental health crisis in identified communities, and remind them of the resources available to them. 

Prior to the Press Conference, volunteers from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and DCMH placed pinwheels on display at Glen Island Park in New Rochelle. The display of 78 pinwheels represent the number of completed suicides (78) in Westchester County in 2020. The display includes statistic signs and walk signs, and the pinwheels will remain on display throughout the month of September as part of Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month. 

Watch Full Press Conference

View B-Roll of Pinwheel Display

View Still Photographs of Pinwheel Display

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said: “Throughout the month of September, the County will be encouraging residents to participate in a variety of workshops, training courses and task force initiatives to help our communities engage in suicide prevention efforts, and help them to practice good mental health. It is not always easy to speak up if you think a family member or friend is struggling or dealing with a mental health crisis, and we want to give you the tools to start that discussion. Helping those around us is everyone’s business, and we want everyone to know about the support and services that are available to them in Westchester.”

Commissioner of DCMH Michael Orth said: “It’s everyone’s responsibility to support each other’s mental health.  We can all help prevent tragedies in our own communities by learning to recognize and take seriously the signs of depression and emotional pain.  It is important that we reach out to family members, friends, neighbors and colleagues and open the door for conversation.”

Hudson Valley/Westchester Area Director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) Maria Idoni said: “September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. This is a time for each of us to reach out to those around us and take steps to prevent suicide. It’s important that we know how to talk about suicide, and connect ourselves and our loved ones to help if we ever need it. Together, we can help #StopSuicide.” 

Westchester County’s Suicide Prevention and Awareness Plan includes:

Westchester County Suicide Awareness Pinwheels Display and Reflection
For the first time in Westchester County, in partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the County will display one pinwheel to represent every suicide in Westchester from the year prior. The pinwheels will be displayed at Glen Island Park New Rochelle throughout the month of September, for visitors to pause and remember those we lost to suicide.

DCMH Social Media Awareness Campaign
Daily social media awareness information and activities related to Suicide Prevention and Awareness.

Soul Shop Faith Based Training
On Sept. 29, DCMH in partnership with AFSP and Calvary Church, will be offering “Soul Shop: Ministering to Faith Communities Affected by Suicide.” It’s estimated that one out of every two people in a given congregation has personally been affected by suicide. Soul Shop trains faith community leaders to offer support, hope and connection to those in their congregations. Soul Shop equips participants with the resources and guidance they need to foster hope and healing in their community. 

Mental Health First Aid Training
DCMH will provide Adult and Youth Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training to Westchester County’s communities. Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis.  "Adult Mental Health First Aid Training" offers training to address the needs of adults. Westchester will also be launching "Teen Mental Health First Aid Training" targeting adolescents and young adults in the near future. 

For additional information: