Legislator Lafazan Hosts Press Conference During Mental Health & National Suicide Prevention Week


On Sept. 12, in commemoration of Sept. 10-16 as National Suicide Prevention Awareness Week, Nassau County Legislator Joshua Lafazan (D – Woodbury) and mental health care professionals gathered in a press conference at Theodore Roosevelt Executive & Legislative Building to raise awareness about the newly created 988 Suicide Crisis Lifeline and other mental health resources available to assist individuals and families who are confronted with a mental health crisis.
“This week is a somber commemoration that we are living through a national crisis, the likes of which we have never seen,” Lafazan said. “To contextualize how severe the crisis is when we talk about suicide, suicide is now the second leading cause of death among young people in this country. It’s among the top nine leading causes of death for people ages 10 to 64 in this country. That is a national emergency that we’re living through. Suicide rates increased approximately 36 percent in the past two decades. Suicide was responsible for 48,000 deaths in 2021, which is about one death every 11 minutes.”
Lafazan added that in 2021, an estimated 12.3 million American adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.5 million planned an attempt and 1.7 million attempted suicide.
“The mental health crisis in this country should alarm every parent, every neighbor, every child and it should alarm everyone in this country every single day,” Lafazan said. “And we should be sounding the alarm not just this week for suicide prevention week, but we should be sounding the alarm every single week of the calendar year.”
People who are struggling, or know of someone who is struggling, can call or text 988 at any time to learn about resources near them or talk to a mental health clinician.
“Tell a neighbor, tell a friend that 988 exists,” Lafazan said. “No matter what you are going through, 988 is here to help you and save lives in this country.”
Lafazan also used the press conference to call for more funding towards the mental health crisis.
“There’s a remaining $269 million that Nassau County has from the American Rescue Plan funding we received from the federal government,” Lafazan said. “We’re calling for this remaining $269 million for a substantial investment… for our mental health nonprofits who are doing the work to save those lives and to better the lives of those struggling with the mental health crisis.”
Finally, Lafazan said he and the mental health professionals from the North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, Central Nassau Guidance & Counseling Services, the Long Island Coalition Against Bullying and the Family and Children’s Association who were joining in the press conference were there to spread a message of hope.
“Hope is real and hope exists,” Lafazan said. “We’re here to end the stigma that surrounds mental health. Everyone can use somebody to talk to. Everyone is going through a struggle. And there is no stigma and no shame in seeking mental health. I talk about this as a young legislator. I go to therapy once every week and it’s a blessing and a gift.”
To watch the full press conference, visit facebook.com/JoshLafazan.


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