Carnation Day: Suicide Prevention Task Force Care Team Holds Event for Chester County Hospital Employees

Carnation Day in Chester CountySubmitted Images

WEST CHESTER, PA — Hundreds of carnations and thank-you notes were distributed to Chester County Hospital employees last week in an effort spearheaded by the Care Team, part of Chester County’s Suicide Prevention Task Force (CCSPTF). The event, dubbed “Carnation Day,” was meant as a show of appreciation for hospital employees and as a simple reminder that even brief interventions and kind gestures can be powerful tools in suicide prevention.

“We saw tears, hugs, hands on hearts, smiles in eyes. Some folks shared their struggles, their stories. So many expressed their surprise, and gratitude at being recognized,” said Laurie Hay, who chairs the Care Team with Irene Roach.

CC Suicide Prevention Task Force Cares Team - Carnation Day 2

Each year, Mental Health America (MHA) releases the “State of Mental Health in America” report. The report highlights trends in mental health and wellbeing across the United States, with a specific focus on how access to care has changed over time. In recent years, the report has shown an increase in the number of Americans reporting mental health challenges and even suicidal thoughts.

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However, research shows that when individuals make personal connections and show they care, it can boost our overall health and emotional wellbeing, ultimately helping to prevent suicide. For example, one study found that individuals who felt they had social support were significantly less likely to experience suicidal thoughts than those who felt isolated. The study’s authors suggest that increasing social connectedness may be an effective way to reduce suicide risk. With this in mind,

CC Suicide Prevention Task Force Cares Team - Carnation Day 3

MHA’s report includes recommendations for ways that individuals and communities can come together to support those dealing with mental health challenges. By increasing social connectedness and showing we care, we can make a difference in the lives of those struggling with mental health issues.

Last year, the CCSPTF Care Team embarked on their first outreach project, delivering 16 baskets of goodies to five Chester County hospital emergency departments and the county’s crisis telephone line workers. The response was overwhelmingly positive, with many workers expressing their appreciation for the gesture of kindness.

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CC Suicide Prevention Task Force Cares Team - Carnation Day 4

Inspired by the success of their first project, the team has continued to reach out to other front-line workers in Chester County. 911 dispatchers, law enforcement officers, and other essential workers have all been the recipients of care packages from the team. In addition to expressing their gratitude, the team has also asked that these workers pay it forward, creating a chain reaction of personal connection and spreading kindness.

The CCSPTF Care Team states that it is committed to supporting those who work tirelessly to keep our community safe and healthy. With each outreach project, they hope to make a positive impact on those who serve Chester County.

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