Suicide Prevention, Mental Health groups appeal in Albany

Legislators are hearing from interest groups about funding cut concerns. This week mental health advocates will be there

This Wednesday, Mental Health advocates plan to be in Albany to lobby legislators about concerns, both monetary, and how mental health is viewed in New York.

Among those going, representatives of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Debra Graham, who is the Central New York chapter director, says it's not a question of funding as much as it is to have anti-suicide and mental health topics taught within school health program.s

Graham, who lost a son to suicide, says suicide is the third leading cause of death for 10 to 24 year olds, and number two for college students.

The mental health coalition is also concerned that diagnosis and prevention is not targeted to younger age groups. The say one half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14, three-quarters by age 24, yet education laws show little if any need to teach about this aspect of overall health. They also point out that more than half of students labeled with emotional or behavioral disorders drop out of high school, and for those who remain in school only 42% graduate with a high school diploma.

The groups will also be lobbying for more mental health needs of deployed troops, veterans and military families, with concerns about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

And after the lobbying is over, the groups have other awareness and fundraising events. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has a Bachelor/Bachelorette & Silent Auction on April 12th at Justin's Grill in East Syracuse.

Tickets: 437-1461 or