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.






Building Dedication for Senator Thomas P. Morahan Wellness Center

Valley Cottage, NY – The Mental Health Association of Rockland County (MHA), Joan Silvestri, Chairwoman of the Board, and Stephanie Madison, LMSW, President/CEO are pleased to announce the dedication of the Senator Thomas P. Morahan Wellness Center on April 15, 2012 at 4:00 pm (rain or shine), honoring Senator Thomas P. Morahan and his family. Please join MHA, and other local dignitaries, in the celebration.

“On behalf of the Morahan Family, we greatly appreciate this honor MHA has bestowed upon my father,” said Ms. Silvestri, who is Senator Morahan’s daughter. “Prior to my father’s passing, he had found his calling championing mental health causes, such as Jonathan’s Law which gave mental health parity to all people. He thought the world of MHA and its work in Rockland County and was touched that such an organization would be dedicating a building in his name. He has been honored throughout the state, but this specifically means the most, as it is a vision he supported and is in his home county.”

The Senator Thomas P. Morahan Wellness Center at 140 Route 303 in Valley Cottage, NY houses the Mental Health Association of Rockland County’s services with easy access to all of the Rockland community by public transportation. MHA services 650-700 individuals per day with multicultural and multilingual capabilities to engage families in a culturally sensitive manner, respecting their client’s varied cultural identities reflecting MHA’s commitment to cultural competency.

About the Mental Health Association of Rockland County, Inc.

The Mental Health Association of Rockland County (MHA Rockland) is a voluntary, non-profit organization. By providing direct service and advocates for legislation and programs, our mission lives in the prevention and treatment of mental illness through community outreach. As a member of United Way of Rockland County, MHA Rockland continuously works to improve present services and develop new services that enable our community toward mental wellness. For more information call (845) 267-2172 or visit