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Out of the Darkness…


Mental HealthWe recently attended the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Community Walk on October 23rd and heard the heart-wrenching stories of those who have lost loved ones to suicide, as well as the hopeful perspectives of survivors. Given the large impact suicide has had on Long Islanders, we think it’s time to address it.

Many of our clients come from at-risk populations and face intimidating obstacles that at times seem impossible to overcome. Some are homeless, suffer from mental health and substance abuse disorders, or have been abused. As such, we are hyper aware of the warning signs for suicide.

“Conditions like depression, anxiety, and substance problems, especially when unaddressed, increase risk for suicide,” says the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. In fact, approximately 7.9 million adults had mental health and substance use disorders, or co-occurring disorders, in 2014. Those already suffering from mental illnesses are more likely to have an alcohol or drug addiction. Co-occurring illnesses can lead to an individual’s involvement in the criminal justice system, homelessness, and social isolation, making them even more at-risk for attempted suicide.

Our case managers ensure that clients in need receive mental health counseling and medical treatment. If appropriate, clients are referred to our New Path Treatment Center in Hempstead, which treats substance abuse disorders and all of its contributing factors, including mental and physical health, family situations, legal issues, and employment. Our staff creates an individualized treatment plan for each client that is designed to address specific needs. Furthermore, New Path Treatment Center works beyond the individual to assist the family or significant other to cope with the patient’s disease and its effects on themselves.

We must remember that there is often no singular cause of suicide. Knowing the warning signs and seeking treatment is the most effective way to prevent loss of life.

No matter who you are, no matter what you’re going through, there is a way out of the darkness.

If you or someone you know is at-risk for suicide and needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (1-800) 273-TALK (8255).

To learn more about our New Path Treatment Center, click here.

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41Cassandra Huneke was the Special Events Coordinator for EAC Network. She graduated from Stony Brook University with a B.A. in English and is currently completing her Master’s Degree in Media Studies at The New School University in New York City. Cassandra will be teaching media literacy to at-risk kids in our Alternatives for Youth program this fall.

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