We must end stigma around discussing suicide

We must end stigma around discussing suicide


By Bee Group Newspapers | on September 16, 2021

As summer is coming to an official close in less than a week, I hope everyone is doing well and catching up on a little rest and relaxation after a busy couple of months. After a brief legislative break during the month of August, I am happy the Legislature is back in session at Old County Hall. Serving my constituents in District Eight and the residents of Erie County is an opportunity I do not take lightly or for granted.

As many of you may know, September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and it is a time dedicated to raising awareness on the often-taboo topic. The goal of the month is to let individuals know they are not alone in how they are feeling and that there are plenty of resources out there available to them. Talk saves lives – in order to reduce the stigma of suicide we need to keep suicide awareness in our conversations year-round. Remember, there is no shame in reaching out for help when you are going through a difficult time. Friends and families would rather take on your burdens than attend your funeral.

For the month of September, I was given the opportunity to select someone from my district as the Erie County Legislature Citizen of the Month. To me, the choice was a no-brainer – Tony and Bernadette Misita, a couple who lost their 21-year-old son, Randy, to suicide in October of 1987. Randy was a successful young adult who was as engineering senior at the University at Buffalo, had plenty of friends, a beautiful girlfriend, good job and had no history of mental illness and never talked about thoughts of ending his life.

Since then, the Misita family helps others by spreading suicide awareness throughout Western New York. Individuals like Tony and Bernadette Misita are incredibly valuable to the community. Instead of ignoring the way in which their son Randy died, they choose to work tirelessly to shine a light on a very dark topic which is suicide. It is without a doubt that they have helped many men and women, young and old, choose life over suicide.

Your life has meaning, if you find yourself struggling and are in need of someone to talk to, please consider using one or all of the following resources:

American Federation for Suicide Prevention of WNY: call 800-273-8255 or text TALK to 741741
Erie County Crisis Services: 716-834-3131

Spectrum Crisis and Re-Stabilization Emergency Services for youth: 716-882- 4357 or 716-662-2040

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions, comments or concerns regarding any county-related issue. You can contact my office at Frank.Todaro@ erie.gov or by phone at 716-681-2071.

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