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Westchester County joins communities around the nation in recognizing Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW).  MIAW runs through Sunday, Oct. 10, which is also World Mental Health Day.

Upholding Westchester County’s Commitment to educating residents on the importance of overall mental health, Westchester County Executive George Latimer announced the creation of a planning committee that will provide the County Executive with recommendations for the creation of a memorial garden for those who have ended their lives by suicide in Westchester County.  The permanent memorial will help build awareness of suicide prevention, and create a place for reflection for family members and loved ones for those who have ended their lives by suicide in Westchester County. 

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said: “The importance of Mental Illness Awareness Week is more relevant today than ever before as we face the pandemic as well as other life challenges. I look forward to the recommendations of the planning committee for a memorial garden in Westchester County, that will provide a peaceful site for reflection for family members and loved ones and help address the stigma that is often attached to mental health needs and build awareness.”

The planning committee will consist of appointed members including survivors, advocates of suicide prevention and awareness efforts, and leadership from County departments. The committee will hold its first meeting on Oct. 19, and present final recommendations to the County Executive’s Office by January 2022.

Mental Health Awareness Week also coincides with the following related events:

Each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. However, mental illness affects everyone directly or indirectly through family, friends or coworkers. That is why each year, during the first week of October, participants across the country raise awareness of mental illness, fight discrimination and provide support through Mental Illness Awareness Week.

Commissioner of DCMH Michael Orth said: “We are greatly appreciative of County Executive Latimer’s commitment to the mental health of all residents in our County. Mental Illness Awareness Week reminds us that it is everyone’s responsibility to support each other’s mental health and that help is available.  I look forward to working with our committee to offer Westchester residents a place to reflect and build awareness.” 

Executive Director of NAMI Westchester Marie Considine said: “Family members and friends who mourn and miss a loved one who has died by suicide often have nowhere to go to express their feelings of loss and love. Dedicating a Garden of Remembrance to honor those Westchester residents who have lost their lives to suicide will provide a public outdoor space for people to remember and reflect, while it will provide support, hope and awareness.”

Roy and Lucille Ettere, who lost their child to suicide said: “The Garden of Remembrance will give families a place to gather to honor their loved ones and it will also help to stop the stigma of suicide and mental illness.”

Hudson Valley/Westchester Area Director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) Maria Idoni said: “Dealing with the loss of a loved one is a challenge that nearly everyone will experience during his or her lifetime. Having a Garden of Remembrance to go to gives you a quiet place to remember your loved one. The garden will serve to rekindle happy memories, not just to grieve.”

For additional information regarding the suicide memorial garden, pcontact the Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health (DCMH) by calling (914) 995-5225 or sending an e-mail to .

For more information and a complete list of resources and services, visit the County's mental health website, or call us at (914) 995-5220.

Visit our interactive online directory and map of services.