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PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2008 6:36 pm    Post subject: MAYOR APPLAUDS MTA FOR VERRAZANO EMERGENCY PHONES
From Fri Aug 08, 2008 3:00 am to Mon Aug 11, 2008 2:59 am (included)
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Friday, August 08, 2008


Emergency Phones Link Callers in Need to Suicide Prevention Hotline

The Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit (CAU), along with members of the Staten Island Suicide Prevention Task Force, applaud the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) on the installation of emergency phones on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The phones link callers to a suicide prevention hotline provided by Lifenet, Mental Health Association of NYC.

“This is an important step forward in helping to address suicide on Staten Island,” said CAU Commissioner Nazli Parvizi. “I commend the MTA for their efforts and look forward to working with the task force to tackle this serious community concern.”

The Staten Island Suicide Prevention Task Force was convened by CAU in January 2008 to take a proactive approach toward depression and suicide on Staten Island. Since its initial meeting in January, the task force has coordinated several Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) workshops held on Staten Island for community leaders, educators and caregivers. The task force is also targeting primary care physicians on Staten Island by partnering with Staten Island University Hospital to ensure proper training for depression screening and care. In addition, legislation has been introduced by State Senator Andrew Lanza and Assemblymember Michael Cusick requiring such phones on bridges throughout the five boroughs.

Task force members include the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, State Senator Andrew Lanza (member of NYS Senate mental health committee), Assembly Member Michael Cusick (member of NYS Assembly mental health committee), NYS Office of Mental Health, Staten Island Mental Health Society, and South Beach Psychiatric Center.

"I want to thank Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Victoria Larsen, Staten Island Director for the Mayor's Community Affairs Unit, Dorothy Rick, Depression Initiatives Coordinator for the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for helping to provide the means to save the lives of those who find themselves in the position of absolute desperation,” said State Senator Andrew Lanza. "With the installation of these phones, we have the opportunity to save lives and help others in need," Lanza continued.

“I am grateful to the MTA, the Mayor’s office, the Staten Island Mental Health Society and the NYC Department of Mental Health for the work that led to suicide prevention phones on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, said Assembleymember Michael Cusick. “I am confident with the installation of these phones that we are providing a much needed lifeline for those in need.”

“We are very grateful for the leadership of the Mayor’s Office, Staten Island State legislative leaders, State Senator Andrew Lanza, Assemblyman Michael Cusick and the MTA for the installation of this important suicide prevention tool on the Verrazano Bridge,” said Dr. Kenneth Popler, President and CEO of the Staten Island Mental Health Society. “It will be a benefit to all who live or travel on Staten Island. It will save lives.”

Getting Help

Depression is the leading cause of suicide, and it’s treatable. National surveys show that 90% of people who commit suicide have an active mental disorder, principally depression. Everyone feels sad sometimes. But if you feel sad for more than 2 weeks, lose interest or pleasure in things, or if you have had thoughts about hurting yourself, dying, or suicide, call your doctor. You can also call 1-800-LIFENET for help. Counselors are available to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit (CAU) acts as link between the Mayor’s Office and New York's many diverse communities. The agency works to improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers by collaborating with neighborhood organizations and the various City agencies to tackle issues throughout the City, and to carry forward the Mayor's citywide initiatives.

Contact: Teresa Gonzalez (CAU) (212) 788-7406


Victoria Larsen
Staten Island Director
Office of the Mayor
Community Affairs Unit
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