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UHS recognized for suicide prevention efforts

June 27, 2018

UHS was recognized June 22 for its work in the field of youth suicide prevention.

A commemorative purple jersey was presented to a UHS volunteer at the Binghamton Rumble Ponies home game that night as part of a sponsor-appreciation event in connection with the Mental Health Association of the Southern Tier.

Members of the Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP) at UHS staffed an information table at NYSEG Stadium as part of "Do It For Daron (DIFD)," an effort to raise awareness about youth suicide.

Volunteer Gavin Stevens, 6, helped his grandmother, Susan Law, RN, nurse manager of CPEP and coordinator of UHS' Disaster Mental Health Team, hand out informational materials at the UHS table.

In honor of the MHAST program, the Rumble Ponies baseball players donned special purple uniforms with a DIFD insignia for the game, Susan said.

She noted that the DIFD initiative is beneficial in raising public understanding of the causes behind youth suicide.

In November 2010, a 14-year-old Canadian girl, Daron Richardson, died by suicide. From this tragedy came a movement to transform youth mental health.

Daron’s parents, Ottawa Senators professional ice hockey coach Luke Richardson and his wife Stephanie decided to transform their very private pain into a public call-to-action and made a decision to support young people who struggle with mental illness.

Supported by the energy and efforts of dozens of Daron’s close friends and classmates, a grassroots movement was formed with the mission of creating awareness, inspiring conversations and transforming youth mental health.

DIFD supports education, awareness and research initiatives that encourage young people to talk openly about mental illness and to ask for help when needed.

The purple DIFD heart, a creation inspired by Daron’s favorite color, has become the youth-driven symbol of this movement.