Awareness Poster Contest Winner Announced

NEW CITY – County Executive Ed Day, Commissioner of Mental Health Michael Leitzes and Rockland Community College President Dr. Michael Baston announced the winner of the Suicide Prevention Awareness Poster Contest. A dozen students taking Graphic Design at Rockland Community College with professor Eileen MacAvery Kane were asked to complete posters highlighting the #BeThe1To Campaign. This campaign is designed to educate residents that anyone can help keep a person safe from suicide.

“Most of you know that long before I was County Executive, I was in law enforcement. I spent 20 years with the NYPD, and I am still haunted by memories of children I saw who had suffered unspeakable trauma,” said Day. “One of my personal goals is to help take away the stigma of mental illness. Events like today are just another way to get people talking about the importance of mental health.”

1 in 5 people will experience a mental health issue at some point in their life. No one chooses to experience these types of issues just as they don’t choose other health issues. Genetics, a history of abuse, trauma, unforeseen hardships, interpersonal conflicts and stress can all lead to symptoms of mental illness.

Karishma Patel of New City won the contest and the $150 prize. Karishma is graduating from RCC next week with an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts. She will be transferring to SUNY Purchase this fall to pursue a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts for Graphic Design.

Brigid Pigott from the Department of Mental Health (DMH) oversaw the contest which was judged by Tracie Florida from Rockland Paramedic Services, Dr. Susan Hoerter from DMH and Christine Smith, the mother of a young person who died by suicide who has now founded the Brandon Smith Foundation.

The winning poster (see attached) will be displayed in English and Spanish through advertising purchased on Transport of Rockland (TOR) buses to raise awareness of this issue and provide text and phone numbers for people to reach out to when they are in need. The winning poster is being edited by Karishma Patel to include the necessary numbers.

If you or someone you know needs to talk text “Got5” to 741741 to start a conversation, call the Behavioral Health Response Team operated by Rockland Paramedics at 845-517-0400 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

“According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, suicide is a leading cause of death for college and university students in America, and the rate of suicidal thoughts and attempts peaks among young adults ages 18-25,” said Commissioner Leitzes. “In fact, more teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from all medical illnesses combined, and it is estimated that one in 12 U.S. college students makes a suicide plan.”

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