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Warning: Depression can be deadly

by jmaloni
Mon, Mar 28th 2011 11:40 am

Free suicide prevention program to be offered at Daemen College

U.S. Army Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Mark Graham and his wife, Carol, who lost a son to suicide, will deliver the keynote address as VA Western New York Healthcare System presents "Suicide Prevention: A Call to Community Action," on Friday, April 1.

The program will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Charles J. Wick Center at Daemen College, 4380 Main St., Amherst.

"Suicide prevention is about awareness and action," said Joan Chipps, VA Western New York suicide prevention coordinator. "It's important to realize that suicide is preventable in most cases."

The Grahams were struck by tragedy in 2003 as they lost both their sons, one to suicide.

A senior ROTC scholarship cadet, their youngest son, Kevin, was being treated for depression, but had stopped taking his medication shortly before deciding to end his life.

Their oldest son, Jeffrey, was killed seven months later while serving the U.S. Army in Iraq.

Since then, the Grahams have championed military and civilian efforts to promote mental health and suicide prevention awareness to honor the memory of their sons.

"My wife and I missed the warning signs of our son's depression," said Graham. "We've strived to make others aware that the disease of depression, if left untreated, is as deadly as cancer or heart disease."

This free event requires no pre-registration and is open to the public.

Representatives from VA's suicide prevention program, in partnership with the Daemen Center for Veteran and Family Services, Crisis Services of Buffalo, the New York State Office of Mental Health, Buffalo Psychiatric Center, UB Student Wellness Team and the Western New York Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, will be on hand to provide information about understanding the problem of suicide and offering guidance on how to assist in its prevention.

For more information, call 862-3123.

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