Left to right: Anna Platz, co-chair of the Lewis County Suicide Prevention Coalition and coordinator of the Community Crisis Response Team; Caitlin Tabolt, co-chair of the Lewis County Suicide Prevention Coalition and Health Home Care Manager at Transitional Living Services; Jerimiah Papineau, chair of the Lewis County United Way committee; and Nick Kilionski of The PB&J Cafe.
The United Way of NNY’s "Care-A-Latte" program has produced more money for the North Country Suicide Prevention Coalition, which serves Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties. Jernabi’s Coffee House in Potsdam and The PB&J’s Café in Lowville gave a portion of the sales of lattes and cappuccinos during May to the United Way of NNY so it can continue its support of suicide prevention. Together, Jernabi’s and PB&J generated $210 to go along with the $600 produced at Vito’s Gourmet in Watertown in March.
"Our long range goal is to have a month next year where all cafés and restaurants in the region unite for this important mission," said United Way CEO Robert D. Gorman. "This money is helping the coalition with promotion of the support services they offer, which includes having a rapid response team that can bolster a school guidance department with grief counseling and life affirming programs."
And such help is needed since 163 people committed suicide in the three-county region over a five-year period, according to statistics from the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization.
"We are extremely grateful for Dawn Roggie and her staff at PB&J Cafe, for their generosity and the active role they have taken to minimize the impact of suicide on the people and communities of Lewis County," said Anna Platz, Public Health Specialist for Lewis County.
She said Lewis County has averaged five to six suicides a year for the last five years, but for every suicide in Lewis County, "there were approximately 25 others who attempted to die by suicide."
The St. Lawrence County chapter of the coalition also notes increasing numbers. A county report showed how the numbers can also be deceiving in that many deaths from drug overdoses are believed to be intentional.
Mary Jones, chair of the St. Lawrence County suicide Awareness Coalition, said, "Jernabi’s generous donation will be used toward the suicide prevention training program, QPR (Question, Persuade and Refer)."
Donations can also be made by check and mailed to the United Way of NNY, with "suicide coalition" in the memo line, and mailed to 200 Washington St., Suite 402A, Watertown, NY 13601.
"One hundred percent of the money we receive for suicide prevention goes to the coalition," said Gorman.