Public Invited to Stigma-Breaking Documentary Screening

Poughkeepsie…The Dutchess County Resiliency Council for Suicide Prevention invites residents to attend a special community screening of the film, The S Word, a documentary chronicling the stories of suicide attempt survivors, on Wednesday, April 24, from 6-8 p.m. in Bowne Hall at Dutchess Community College, 53 Pendell Road, Poughkeepsie. The event is free, open to the public, and will be followed by a brief panel discussion and light refreshments. Reservations are not required.

A powerful documentary film, The S Word takes an intimate look at suicide through the eyes of people who survived their attempts to take their own lives, and now share their stories to help others. The film shines a light on a topic that has long been stigmatized, opens the conversation, and strives to break the silence and shame so often associated with suicide.

“Suicide deaths have increased noticeably across the United States over the last decade, and sadly, Dutchess County has experienced a similar trend,” said A. K. Vaidian, MD, MPH, Commissioner of the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health. “As our Resiliency Council works hard to reverse this pattern, we are going out into our communities to talk about it, increase awareness, and empower our friends and neighbors with tools to help one another.

Dutchess County has a long history of suicide prevention efforts, offering connections to trained mental health professionals 24/7 through the County’s HELPLINE – available via phone call or text message at (845) 485-9700 – which first launched in 1978 and is part of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Dutchess County’s Stabilization Center, a 24/7 walk-in facility at 230 North Road in Poughkeepsie, also has mental health professionals who can counsel residents dealing with thoughts of suicide.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death in the United States, with more than 45,000 Americans dying by suicide each year. In recent years, suicide rates nationwide have ticked upward, with Dutchess County similarly experiencing that trend.

Established to promote mental wellness and prevent suicide in our community, the Dutchess County Resiliency Council promotes a message of recovery, compassion, and social connectedness as it works to increase support and awareness programs for residents of all ages. The Council includes teachers, mental health professionals, veterans, students, people with lived experience, and other interested members of the community.

Dr. Vaidian said, “Life is worth living, and suicide is never the answer. In Dutchess County, help is always available – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – and we continue to build a resilient community to help one another cope with life’s issues. You’re never alone in Dutchess County.”

For more information about the screening event, or to learn more about the Dutchess County Resiliency Council for Suicide Prevention, contact Jean-Marie Niebuhr at (845) 486-2885 or jmniebuhr@dutchessny.gov.