Mental Health Association of Rockland Awarded a $10k Grant from Sterling National Bank for Discovering Tomorrow Program

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


Valley Cottage – The Mental Health Association of Rockland County’s President and CEO,

Stephanie Madison, has received a $10k check from the Sterling National Bank Charitable Foundation to sustain the Discovering Tomorrow program, which serves youth ranging from 5-18 years of age. Discovering Tomorrow is an important component of the work MHA does with youth and the service it offers is recognized by the NYS Office of Mental Health as a critical tool to engage, connect and motivate young people who struggle with emotional disturbances, who are isolated and need help envisioning a hopeful future.

“Sterling National Bank has made it possible for us to continue to engage youth in talking about and realizing their hopes and dreams by connecting them to needed services and creating a team to support that child”.

MHA’s Case Managers in this program serve children who have serious emotional disturbances that impair their ability to function at home and/or school. The program is provided at no charge to the participants, so their inability to pay is never an impediment to receiving help. Discovering Tomorrow Case Managers are often the only consistent support to a child, as their behavioral difficulties typically cause considerable conflict in their relationships. Short-term, the goal is to help children and their families connect to services that will strengthen their participation in school, family relationships and social connections. Once these relationships are strengthened, the long-term goal is to reduce conflict and prevent hospitalization and out-of-home placement.

As per the NYS Coalition for Children’s Mental Health Services, an estimated 20% of youth receiving treatment for emotional or behavioral problems have either contemplated or attempted suicide. In addition, studies have shown that continuing in school through and beyond high school is strongly linked to longer life expectancies and increased lifetime earnings. “MHA serves over 100 youth per year across Rockland County and Sterling National Bank has allowed us to sustain an important program that benefits children and their families in the Rockland Community”.



For more information contact Velvet Reda (845) 267-2172,

MHA is offering a free two-day training on suicide prevention – called ASIST – on June 2 and 3, 2015

For immediate release

Event:   Suicide Prevention Training June 2nd and 3rd

Contact: Sonia Wagner, Mental Health Association of Rockland, 845-267-2172, x323

The Mental Health Association of Rockland is offering a free two-day, highly interactive training on suicide prevention, called ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training), to the general community on June 2nd and 3rd from 9am to 5pm (registration at 8:30am), with breakfast and lunch provided.

Through video, lecture, and roleplaying, participants will learn how to engage a person who has suicidal thoughts, help them to develop a safety plan, and connect them to additional supports if necessary.

“It is a kind of CPR class for suicide prevention,” said Sonia Wagner, executive vice president of the Mental Health Association.  “So often people are afraid to ask a loved one about suicidal thinking.   In fact, we find that a person who is thinking about suicide is generally relieved to discuss it and grateful that someone cared enough to ask.”

ASIST training has been delivered to over 500,000 people in more than ten countries.

The ASIST training will be offered at the Mental Health Association in Valley Cottage.  To register, please call the Association at 845-267-2172, x320.

MHA teams with NY Senator David Carlucci at Student Advisory Committee Meeting

By David Carlucci
Last night we hosted another informative Student Advisory Committee meeting with students from throughout the Hudson Valley.

I want to thank Nicole Sirignano and Sean Campbell of the Mental Health Association of Rockland County for conducting a thought provoking talk on suicide prevention.

If you or a family member is in crisis, please call the national suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Your Health Matters!

Your Health Matters

Researchers report that those living with a serious and persistent mental illness have life expectancies 15-20 years lower than the general population.

There are many reasons for this including, tobacco use.  Roughly 75% of people with serious and persistent mental illness are dependent on tobacco.   In turn, long-term tobacco use is correlated with major chronic illness, eg cancer, pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, bone and joint disease, and oral disease.

Other causes that are correlated with serious and persistent mental illness are unstable housing, unemployment and reduced motivation to care for oneself.  Poor self-care in turn leads to increased use of emergency rooms and inpatient care.

In addition, the Center for Disease Control reports that up to 1/3 of individuals living with a chronic illness also suffer depression.  The reason for increased depression in the chronically ill is partly due to alterations in lifestyles, decreased energy levels and mobility, less involvement in enjoyable activities, side effects of treatment, and social isolation.

Health care professionals often overlook and/or take longer to diagnose depression in the chronically ill, as their primary focus is most often on the chronic illness.

What can we do to help individuals who are struggling with medical conditions AND mental health issues?

MHA’s Your Health Matters care management team helps people to:

– Ensure that basic needs (stable housing, food, and entitlements) are met.  This is very important because it is nearly impossible for an individual to focus on anything else if basic needs are not covered.

– Understand their illness.  With knowledge comes the ability to recognize potential problems and seek help/treatment early.

– Obtain special equipment that is needed to monitor their illness (blood pressure devices, blood sugar devices) and to self- manage their care.

– Maintain contact with health care professionals to obtain regular health screenings

– Connect people to social supports that will foster emotional wellbeing (and by extension physical health)

– Collaborate with clients, families and community providers to ensure individuals have the support they need to reach their highest level of “wellness”

-Help coordinate discharge planning

-Provide service dollars to support health-related goals for eligible individuals

For more information on how Your Health Matters can help you or a loved one, please call 845-267-2172, x278.

Tonia Dimbo

Care Management Supervisor





safeTALK: Suicide Prevention Training, Wednesday, September 10, 2014

MHA of Rockland County will be offering a free safeTALK: Suicide Prevention Training on Wednesday, September 10 from 9am to noon.  Registration will be at 8:30 am.

Key elements of this training include:

• Recognize the warning signs of suicide
• Identify preventive resources and how to access them
• Apply the TALK (Tell, Ask, Listen, Keep Safe)
• Learn what effective safeTALK is and is not
• Prepare “front line” community leaders with valuable information
• Learn effective ways to connect well and build rapport
• Receive valuable information
• Practice and enhance active listening skills
• Practice and enhance skills making effective referrals to appropriate professionals

To register call 845-267-2172, x296.

To download a pdf flyer, click here.