Suicide awareness and prevention important during holiday season and year-round
The event was organized by Penn State Fayette student and Alpha Psi Beta President Lindsay Miller, who brought together numerous individuals from the community to discuss this serious topic. Participating in the event were Bethany Connors from the Fayette County Suicide Prevention Task Force; Fayette County Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink; Shani Smith, lead crisis worker at Chestnut Ridge Counseling Services; Melanie McMillen, director of outpatient and crisis services at Chestnut Ridge Counseling Services; and Beth Vilsack, who shared the personal story of the loss of her son to suicide. Zimmerlink issued a proclamation declaring December as Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month. Presenters pointed out suicide is a serious mental health challenge, and it is a growing problem not only in Fayette County and our nation, but around the world. Unfortunately, suicide is one of the leading causes of death of young people ages 15-24. Anyone in crisis—or if you know someone in crisis—can obtain confidential help from Fayette County’s local crisis hotline, 24-hours a day, by calling 724-437-1003.