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UHS Employees 'Chalk the Walk' to focus on suicide prevention

September 10, 2021

The message of suicide prevention appeared in the form of heartfelt, creative chalk messages on the sidewalks around UHS Binghamton General Hospital, thanks to an effort headed by members of Team UHS.

A community-wide event called “Chalk the Walk . . . Have the Talk” took place on Friday, Sept. 10, at UHS Binghamton General Hospital.

UHS staff and people from the community  gathered at the times of their choosing between 9 and 3 to draw positive messages and images that speak to suicide awareness and prevention, said Anastasia Spiratos, behavioral health specialist at UHS Hospitals.  

“We hope to engage staff, passersby and all interested people in artistically expressing positive and hopeful messages,” Ms. Spiratos said.

Chalk packages were provided at the main entrance of UHS Binghamton General Hospital, and representatives from the UHS Behavioral Health team were on hand to encourage artistic expression and welcome discussions with anyone who feels like talking.

The hope is that, the more we can openly discuss the topic of suicide, the greater chance we have of reducing the stigma surrounding it.

The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and Broome County Suicide Awareness for Everyone (BC SAFE) are spearheading upcoming events that aim to connect people to engage in deeper conversations while supporting each other.

The goal is to seek out help to strengthen mental health and prevent suicide. 

National Suicide Prevention Week is observed from Sept. 5 to 11, with activities planned throughout the week locally in the community as well as globally, including a live event from noon to 8 p.m. @ AFSPnational on Facebook.

With various activities around the world since 2003, AFSP has dedicated volunteers, supporters, partners and friends to get involved, so that Together, We Can Help #StopSuicide.

In related efforts, UHS as a dedicated partner, will participate in the “Out of the Darkness Walk” on Saturday, Oct. 2. 

Our Behavioral Health team has raised more than $1,000 to date for the cause and will be walking at Otsiningo Park.  That event starts at 9:30 a.m., and all are welcome to show their support. 

In addition, on Saturday, Nov. 20, UHS will hold the fourth annual Suicide Survivor’s Loss Day, in the Russell Community Room at UHS Binghamton General Hospital.

That observance will be a day to honor those who have lost a loved one to suicide:  A day to share feelings and celebrate their lives and engage in a personalized art activity facilitated by our own Behavioral Health art therapists to bring healing and hope to survivors.

Chalk the Walk 2021