MHA Executive VP Sonia Wagner Receives Reed Award

Senator David Carlucci has awarded Sonia Wagner, the Mental Health Association of Rockland’s executive vice president, the Edgar Francis Reed Annual Suicide Prevention, Advocacy, and Leadership Award.

Named in honor of a man who took his own life at age 17, the award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated exceptional work in suicide prevention and who have lead others to be the voice of suicide prevention.

This past year, on behalf of MHA Rockland and with the support of the NYS Office of Mental Health, Wagner helped launch and chaired a countywide suicide prevention task force. The task force has hosted several “safeTALK” trainings for the general community in how to talk with and help people who are at risk for suicide.

“The idea is to help non-clinicians feel comfortable talking with a friend, colleague, or even a stranger about the possibility of suicidal thinking if that person seems to be very down or isolated,” Wagner said. “This means people such as librarians, police officers, hair stylists, attorneys – with no clinical experience – are learning how to make a huge difference in the life of someone who is thinking of ending their life.”