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Buffalo State to hold community panel on mental health and depression for Suicide Prevention Month

STAFF REPORTS

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Buffalo State will host a panel discussion on mental health, depression, and suicide prevention on Thursday, September 6, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. in the Jacqueline Vito LoRusso Alumni and Visitor Center at the corner of Rockwell Road and Grant Street. The event, titled “A Community Conversation: Mental Health, Depression, and Suicide Prevention,” is free and open to the public; advance registration is encouraged. September is National Suicide Prevention Month.

The panel will feature local activists and mental health professionals and will be moderated by Joan McCool, director of Buffalo State’s Counseling Center. Panelists will discuss their personal and professional experiences with suicide and depression as well as strategies for supporting those with depression.

“The panelists will provide helpful information about signs and symptoms of depression and how they got help for themselves or their loved ones,” McCool said. “Sharing personal stories is critical to reducing stigma and connecting people to resources to address depression and suicidal thoughts. We want our community to know that help is always available and that treatment can work.”

Panelists:

Dan Lukasik is an attorney and mental-health advocate who directs workplace well-being for the Mental Health Association of Erie County. Lukasik launched the website lawyerswithdepression.com in 2008 and has spent the last decade as a mental health advocate. His work focuses on addressing the stigma of depression in the workplace and educating organizations about the positive impacts of investing in employee health and wellness programs. Lukasik received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Buffalo State and a law degree from the University at Buffalo.

Celia Spacone is a coordinator for Crisis Services and the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Erie County. Her work focuses on suicide intervention and strategies for approaching, persuading, and referring people at risk for counseling or treatment—whether they be family members, partners, coworkers, or friends. Previously, she served as executive director of the Buffalo Psychiatric Center. Spacone has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Buffalo State and a doctorate in counseling psychology from the University at Buffalo.

Allison Schroeder is a firefighter with the Buffalo Fire Department and a community activist who lost a loved one to suicide.