October 4, 2021
Westchester County joins communities across the country in celebrating Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW). MIAW runs until Sunday October 10, which is also World Mental Health Day.
In keeping with Westchester County’s commitment to educating residents about the importance of mental health in general, Westchester County Director George Latimer announced the creation of a planning committee that will provide the executive of the county recommendations for the creation of a memorial garden for those who ended their lives by suicide in Westchester County. The permanent memorial will help raise awareness about suicide prevention and create a place of reflection for family members and loved ones of those who have committed suicide in Westchester County.
George Latimer, Westchester County Director said: “The significance of Mental Illness Awareness Week is more relevant today than ever as we face the pandemic and other life challenges. I look forward to the recommendations from the planning committee for a memorial garden in Westchester County, which will provide a peaceful site for family members and loved ones to think about and help address the stigma that is often associated with mental health needs and raise awareness. “
The planning committee will be made up of appointed members, including survivors, advocates for suicide prevention and awareness efforts, and county department leaders. The committee will hold its first meeting on October 19 and present its final recommendations to the county executive 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 problem. However, mental illness affects everyone directly or indirectly through family, friends or co-workers. That’s why every year in the first week of October, participants from across the country raise awareness about mental illness, fight discrimination and provide support through Mental Illness Awareness Week.
DCMH curator Michael Orth said, “We greatly appreciate County Executive Latimer’s commitment to the mental health of all residents of our county. Mental Illness Awareness Week reminds us that it is everyone’s responsibility to support each other in matters. mental health issues and help is available. I look forward to working with our committee to provide the residents of Westchester with a place to reflect and raise awareness. ”
NAMI Westchester Executive Director 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. Dedicate a garden of remembrance to honor them. Westchester residents who lost their lives to suicide will provide an outdoor public space for people to remember and reflect, while also providing support, hope and awareness. ”
Roy and Lucille Ettere, who lost their child by suicide said, “The Garden of Remembrance will provide families with a gathering place to honor their loved ones and will also help end the stigma of suicide and mental illness.”
Hudson Valley / Westchester Regional Director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) Maria Idoni said: “Dealing with the loss of a loved one is a challenge that almost everyone will experience in their lifetime. Having a memorial garden to go to gives you a quiet place to remember your loved one. The garden will serve to rekindle happy memories, not just for mourning. “
This press release was produced by the Westchester County Government. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.