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Suicide Prevention, Intervention and Post-Vention Programs and Services

Family Service League (FSL) provides a comprehensive array of suicide prevention and post-vention services to Suffolk County residents.  This is National Suicide Prevention Week; however every day, suicide is a major public health concern.  Over 41,000 people die by suicide each year in the United States. Suicide is tragic, but it is often preventable.  Untreated mental illness, especially depression, is one of the leading causes for suicide.  Many people who complete suicide suffer from untreated or poorly treated depression resulting from difficult life experiences.
As a direct result of a number of suicides impacting the east end of Suffolk County, FSL recently brought the prevention program SafeTALK (Tell Ask Listen Keep safe), in coordination with the NYS Office of Mental Health, to community members on Eastern Long Island. Knowing the risk factors for suicide and who is at risk can help reduce the suicide rate.  SafeTALK is three hour training offered to teens (15+) through seniors.  The program helps recognize that everyday life experiences such as family changes, illness, hopelessness or depression all have a role in suicidal behavior.  Often these events occur along with disorders like depression, substance use, anxiety, and psychosis.  Sometimes suicidal behavior is triggered by events such as personal loss or violence.  This life-saving program provides guidelines for how to help someone thinking of suicide; what questions to ask, how to ask those questions and, most importantly, where to get help.

Some strategies that are encouraged to help people from acting on suicidal thoughts include:

  • Effective medical treatment for mental, physical health problems and any substance abuse
  • Strong support network of friends, family, peer groups or outside activities
  • Developing problem solving skills, resolving conflicts and handling disputes without violence

FSL’s post-vention program (Joe’s Project) was created to provide immediate support to those surviving a loss by suicide.  Joe’s Project is a specialty service within the agency Community Crisis Action Team (C-CAT).  Joe’s Project staff is comprised of master’s level mental health workers with additional training from the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation. Post-ventions are with individuals, families and groups impacted by suicide; often days after the occurrence.  Joe’s Project staff assists in the complicated grief that frequently accompanies suicide.  If anyone has been impacted by suicide and is seeking help the Joe’s Program 24/7 hotline number is 1-888 FSL-CCAT (1-888-375-2228).

“Support and the availability of services make a critical difference in the lives of Long Islanders suffering with the many challenges associated with suicidal behavior.  Through educational programs, building community awareness and counseling, FSL is able to offer assistance as individuals mobilize their strengths and improve the quality of their lives at home and in the community.” – Karen Boorshtein, President and CEO of FSL

For more information on these programs please contact Family Service LeagueRobyn Berger-Gaston, LCSW-R, Division Director Youth, Senior and Intergenerational Services

631-591-7580 or rberger-gaston@fsl-li.org

For ways you can help, visit www.fsl-li.org or call 631-998-0009