Two years ago, North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, Long Island’s premiere children’s mental health agency, launched one of its most important programs ever: the Douglas S. Feldman Suicide Prevention Project, named in honor of the son of Ellen Feldman and Donald Feldman.
On Oct. 19, the Guidance Center welcomed the Feldmans, their son Matthew and other guests to its Roslyn Heights headquarters for the unveiling of the Butterfly Wall, which features brass butterfly plaques recognizing donors to this lifesaving initiative.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 10-24, with more teenagers and young adults dying from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza and lung disease combined.
With the Douglas S. Feldman Suicide Prevention Project, the Guidance Center addresses high-risk cases with a thorough evaluation for suicide risk; multiple weekly sessions of individual, group and family therapy; and a culturally sensitive treatment plan that focuses on safety strategies, healthy coping skills and relapse prevention. Evaluation with a psychiatrist regarding the possible use of medication is also provided, along with in-home treatment and referrals to programs and services that will support parents’ efforts to protect their children.
“Suicide among young people is truly an epidemic,” said Elissa Smilowitz, Director of Emergency, Triage & Suicide Prevention Services at the Guidance Center. “The Feldman’s generous gift has allowed us to make a real difference in the lives of so many young people.”
Ellen Feldman says the Douglas S. Feldman Suicide Prevention Project has been instrumental in the journey her family has been on since the loss of her beloved son.
“Very soon after Doug died, Donald and I knew we wanted to do something that would prevent this tragedy from happening to other families,” she said. “I grew up in this community and raised my children here, so having the guidance center as the beneficiary of our donation to help young people who are struggling with suicidal thoughts made perfect sense.”
“I’m so proud of the work being done by the Guidance Center,” she added. “They are truly saving lives, and I can’t imagine a better way to honor our son.”
If you know a young person who may be at risk for suicide, contact the Guidance Center at 516-626-1971. The organization promises to see high-risk cases within 24 to 48 hours. For immediate help in a crisis, call 988, the new suicide hotline. To learn more about supporting the Douglas S. Feldman Suicide Prevention Project, contact Lauren McGowan at 516-626-1971, ext. 320.
—Submitted by the North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center