As someone who has felt the pain inflicted by suicide and addiction, Lynda Battaglia was filled with emotion as she accepted a proclamation Wednesday from the Genesee County Legislature designating Sept. 5-11, 2021 as National Suicide Prevention Week and September 2021 as National Recovery Month.
Battaglia, the county’s director of Mental Health & Community Services, said she spoke as a “survivor” of suicide and substance use disorder, having someone close to her who attempted suicide and survived and also losing someone to addiction.
“When someone dies by suicide, the attack ripples through the community and leaves an everlasting effect,” she said, urging society to do more to promote wellness and decrease the stigma associated with mental health disease.
She said that suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death in the United States.
“Every 11 minutes, someone dies by suicide … around 48,000 per year, and every single number represents a person,” she said.
With a group of mental health and social work professionals in attendance, Battaglia commended service providers for their “tough love commitment to improving education and awareness on suicide prevention and commitment to acknowledging recovery – and how you decrease the stigma of both.”
“You’ve seen them at their worst and their best, and everything in between … and you provide treatment and care without judgment.”
Accepting the proclamation on behalf of service providers, she concluded, “All of you are lifelines for Genesee County residents and I thank you for your dedication.”
The proclamation, presented by Legislator Gregg Torrey, Human Services Committee chair, states, in part, that “in these challenging times messages of hope and healing are more needed than ever; and the benefits of preventing and overcoming mental health challenges, suicide attempts and loss, and substance abuse are significant and valuable to individuals, families, and our community at large.”
“The Genesee County Legislature proclaims the month of September 2021 as Suicide Prevention and Recovery Month: Finding Hope, Building Resiliency, and Supporting Recovery."
Photo: Accepting the proclamation are, from left, John Bennett, Lisa Clattenburg, Bob Riccobono, Lynnell Schreiber, Lynda Battaglia, Julie Brinkman, Kate Hawks, Rachel Mieney, Sue Gagne, Lisa Glow, Cheryl Netter, Gregg Torrey. Photo by Mike Pettinella.