October 6, 2022

Suicide Can Be Prevented – TTYS Launches Awareness Initiatives


Tri-Town Youth Services Suicide Prevention Workgroup, in conjunction with a Suicide Prevention Mini-Grant for Towns, is installing three billboards, one each in Chester, Deep River and Essex, to create awareness of local and statewide efforts to prevent suicide. The billboards utilize the  prize-winning “1 Word, 1 Voice, 1 Life” logo developed by the Connecticut Suicide Advisory Board  whose priority areas include raising awareness of suicide prevention, developing a Statewide Network linking statewide and grass-roots local  efforts, and promoting evidence-based practices for suicide prevention and response.

“Suicidal thinking, feeling and behavior are not rare,” says Gail Onofrio, Executive Director of Tri-Town Youth Services.  “Suicide is a common psychiatric emergency. In the U.S., one suicide is completed every 17 minutes, and in Connecticut, on average, someone dies by suicide every day of the year. But suicide can be prevented.”

While it is common for people to take a CPR course or learn the Heimlich Maneuver, especially those who regularly come in contact with the public, statistics show that we are “more likely to encounter a friend, family member, co-worker, neighbor or other community member in an emotional or mental health crisis than someone having a heart attack,” Onofrio continued. “The ‘1 Word, 1 Voice, 1 Life’ logo has a tag line: Be the 1 to start the conversation. It’s intended to encourage everyone to act if they see someone in distress; to start the conversation to get the distressed person the help that they need.” The billboard also promotes Connecticut’s 2-1-1 service which operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, where callers can reach knowledgeable, multilingual staff and get information, referrals or seek help in a crisis.

Two trainings intended to build the capacity of community members to reach out to someone having an emotional or mental health crisis will be co sponsored by Tri-Town Youth Services for anyone living or working in the tri-town area. Mental Health First Aid, an 8-hour certification course offered on January 7th and January 14th from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., trains participants to utilize a proven effective action plan to provide support to a person experiencing a mental health concern or crisis until professional help can be accessed. A QPR Gateway Training—consisting of three life-saving skills including how to question a person about suicide, persuade the person to get help and refer the person to the appropriate resource—will be offered at a brown bag lunch on January 16 from 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m.

For more information about these trainings, or to register, contact Tri-Town Youth Services at 860-526-3600.