MAYVILLE, N.Y.:--The Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention recently received contributions from local community partners to the Alliance’s fund at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation. Donations were received from the Kick Cabin Fever Indoor Triathlon held at the Turner Community Center at the Chautauqua Institution and from the Winged Ox Players of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Jamestown.
Started in 2012, the Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention is a group of agency professionals and community members with the common goal of creating awareness around the issue of suicide. The Alliance supports, organizes, and sponsors numerous events and trainings throughout the county for suicide prevention and awareness. It is dedicated to protecting and promoting life by fostering shared responsibility through increased awareness and community supports while embracing hopefulness and resiliency in the Chautauqua region.
In 2015, a non-endowed fund was established at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation for the Alliance to serve as a depository for local donations that support local suicide prevention and awareness programs. Over the past several years, the Alliance and partner agencies have worked together to train thousands of local community members from all walks of life in suicide prevention and awareness with help of the fund, as well as funds through Chautauqua Tapestry and the Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene.
Over $1,500 was raised from the Tenth Annual Kick Cabin Fever Triathlon, which was held on Feb. 3, 2018. Cheryl Burns began the indoor triathlon one year after her brother Marty Miller died by suicide due to several years of depression. The intention of this event is to get people moving during February, one of the toughest winter months in Chautauqua County.
“Anyone can do this event,” said Burns. “When someone hears Triathlon they immediately think impossible because they cannot swim well or feel they are not in good enough shape to bike or run. We are very lenient at this event for those people and we encourage them to simply float from one end to the other when swimming, spin on a stationary bike the best they can, and walk the treadmill while listening to upbeat music or those cheering in support. The three events; swim, bike, and run only last a total of 45 minutes, but will typically hook anyone to a future in multisport.”
All proceeds from the Kick Cabin Fever Indoor Triathlon stay in Chautauqua County for suicide prevention efforts through the Alliance.
The Winged Ox Players, a ministry of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, presented, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” at the Willow Bay Theater in the Fall of 2017. While there was no cost to attend a performance of the play, donations were accepted to support the Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention.
“We all have our struggles and there are days when it seems like life will just swallow us up whole,” said Luke Fodor, Rector of St. Luke’s Church. “It is in these overwhelming moments that it is important to remember that each of us is part of a community. At St. Luke’s we strive to create a community that embraces both our inherent dignity and our vulnerable brokenness. With our Winged Ox Players staging of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and by supporting the Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention, we aim to take on the stigmatizing practices that marginalize and devalue our community members.”
In addition to the their contribution of just over $500 to the Alliance’s fund, Winged Ox Players participated in the 2017 Jamestown Out of the Darkness Walk. St. Luke’s also offered an eight-hour Adult Mental Health First Aid course in October of 2017. This training taught participants to identify risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns, strategies for how to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations, and where to refer someone for ongoing help in the community.
“As an Alliance, we provide trainings in the community to help individuals recognize warning signs of suicide and what to do if you suspect a loved one or a stranger is thinking of taking their own life,” said Victoria Patti about the Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention. “It is so important that we talk about these concerns and don’t brush them aside and hope they go away. We need to create a community culture in which we feel comfortable in talking about mental health openly and honestly in order to receive the support and resources necessary to work towards wellness. The Alliance is so thankful for these and so many other community groups who put their time, hearts, and souls into mental health and suicide awareness. We couldn’t do this work without their ongoing support; we are very thankful for their donations.”
For more information about the Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention, please search for the Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention on Facebook or contact Victoria Patti at (716) 753-4519 or firstname.lastname@example.org .