DISCLAIMER: WNYNewsNow is airing this interview tonight with Ms. Silvis at the request of Maria Schroder’s family, which includes Ms. Silvis. We are seeking the opportunity to educate the community about a public health crisis that’s hard to discuss and even harder to fathom. Although there isn’t any visual graphic content, we want to advise viewers that some statements may not be suitable for all ages.
If you or someone you know is thinking about causing self-harm, please call the 24/7 National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
JAMESTOWN-A 13-year-old girl passed away last Saturday evening in Buffalo Woman’s and Children’s Hospital as the result of injuries her aunt and legal guardian, Barb Silvis, described as self-inflicted.
Silvis told myself and News Director Ryan Hedrick Maria Schroder’s passing was caused by extensive bullying both inside and outside Jamestown High School.
Hedrick and reporter Justin Gould, as you’ll see in the video, asked for comment from District Superintendent Bret Apthorpe after a public meeting Wednesday at Jefferson Middle School on Martin Rd.
Apthorpe, in full disclosure, wasn’t aware that WNYNewsNow spoke to Silvis about Mariah.
Chautauqua County’s Mental Hygiene stressed the importance of suicide awareness and prevention in a release Wednesday.
“We want to stress that there is help in our community,” said Victoria Patti, Coordinator of the Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention. “It is better to report the concern to a medical professional or call 911, than to do nothing at all or think someone else will do it.”
“Community members need to understand and know the warning signs of suicide and be brave enough to ask the question, ‘Are you thinking of suicide?’ Those that are thinking of suicide may just want to be heard and their pain to be understood. Take all warning signs seriously and please reach out a hand; you may save a life.”
Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan and Department of Mental Hygiene Director of Community Mental Hygiene Services Patricia Brinkman also stress that suicide prevention and awareness is an important topic for community conversations and there is help in the community.
“It is so important that we talk about these concerns and don’t brush them aside and hope they go away,” said Brinkman. “We need to create a community culture in which we feel comfortable in talking about mental health openly and honestly in order to receive the support and resources necessary to work towards wellness.”
“There is still stigma surrounding the topic of mental health, and we hope to break this stigma by continuing our awareness and prevention efforts.”
“This is a serious problem we are aggressively addressing through continued trainings and other community supports available to anyone,” added Horrigan. “Help is here for anyone dealing with severe depression or life threatening behavioral health issues.”
For more information regarding such tragedies, please visit http://www.co.chautauqua.ny.us/civicalerts.aspx?AID=891. https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ is another site.