Resolution J2486-2013

Honoring Sonia Wagner as recipient of the Edgar Francis (Eddie) Reed Annual Suicide Prevention, Advocacy and Leadership Award



  • Jun 18, 2013: ADOPTED
  • Jun 14, 2013: REFERRED TO FINANCE


LEGISLATIVE  RESOLUTION  honoring  Sonia Wagner upon the occasion of her
designation as recipient  of  the  Edgar  Francis  (Eddie)  Reed  Annual
Suicide Prevention, Advocacy and Leadership Award

WHEREAS,  Individuals  who give of their time and energies and serve the
best interests of their communities are an asset beyond remuneration and
cannot be sufficiently extolled; and
  WHEREAS, Sonia Wagner has given not only of her time and energies  but
also of her competence, intelligence and leadership and consequently has
been designated for special recognition; and
  WHEREAS,  This  Legislative Body is justly proud to honor Sonia Wagner
upon the occasion of her designation as recipient of the  Edgar  Francis
(Eddie)  Reed  Annual Suicide Prevention, Advocacy and Leadership Award;
  WHEREAS, May is Mental Health Awareness Month  in  the  State  of  New
York;  therefore, it is fitting during this particular time to recognize
the civic endeavors of those remarkable individuals who have been called
upon to contribute their time and talents  to  increasing  awareness  of
mental  health  conditions and to supporting the mental wellness of all;
  WHEREAS, Named in honor of Edgar Francis Reed, who took his  own  life
at  the  age  of  17,  the  Edgar  Francis  (Eddie)  Reed Annual Suicide
Prevention, Advocacy and Leadership  Award  recognizes  individuals  who
have  demonstrated  exceptional  work in suicide prevention and advocacy
and who have displayed the courage to lead others to be  the  voices  of
suicide prevention; and
  WHEREAS,  This  year's  recipient, Sonia Wagner, is the Executive Vice
President of the Mental Health Association of Rockland County; and
  WHEREAS, Suicide is the third leading cause of  death  in  the  United
States, among young adults and adolescents, 15 to 24 years of age; and
  WHEREAS,  Over  150,000  New York State teenagers attempt suicide each
year; and
  WHEREAS, Depressive disorders  are  consistently  the  most  prevalent
disorders among adolescent suicide victims; and
  WHEREAS,  Sustained  prevention  actions  including  enhancing support
systems for vulnerable youth, implementing case finding with  accompany-
ing  referral and treatment, developing risk reduction plans and enhanc-
ing protective factors can save lives; and
  WHEREAS, Our youth must be given every opportunity to survive  and  be
hopeful for a future as an adult; and
  WHEREAS,  Last  year,  with  the  blessings  of  MHA and the financial
support of the New York State Office  of  Mental  Health,  Sonia  Wagner
helped  launch  and  chaired  a  new  Countywide suicide prevention task
force; the task force included representatives from the veteran,  hospi-
tal, nonprofit, LGBTQ, and government communities; and
  WHEREAS,  One of the primary gaps in service that the task force iden-
tified was training in when and how to ask people about suicidal  think-
ing;  so,  the  task  force  hosted  a  series of evidence-based suicide
prevention trainings to gatekeepers and non-clinical staff, one of which
was dedicated to residential programs; and
  WHEREAS, In addition, Sonia Wagner has advocated for  MHA  to  support
the  veteran  community  and  in  July of 2013, the agency will launch a
support  group  for  significant  others  of  veterans  with   childcare
provided; and
  WHEREAS,  A  licensed  clinical  social worker with Masters degrees in
social work and management, Sonia Wagner has served as executive  direc-

tor  of  two  nonprofits  -  Jewish  Family Service of Orange County and
Response of Suffolk County; and
  WHEREAS,  Under  her leadership, Response became nationally accredited
for its suicide prevention/crisis intervention hotline; in this  capaci-
ty,  Sonia  Wagner  also initiated an online crisis intervention program
for teens who prefer "chatting" to talking; and
  WHEREAS, Years after her tenure, these programs continue to help  tens
of  thousands  of individuals feeling alone to connect to another person
and find help; a strong ally  of  LGBTQ  rights,  Sonia  Wagner  brought
Jewish  Family  Service into a new arena and the agency started a P-FLAG
(Parents and Friends  of  Lesbians  and  Gays)  support  group,  offered
programs to educate schools in their efforts to support LGBTQ youth, and
hosted  discussion  groups  for  teachers  and others working with young
people; and
  WHEREAS, Suicide prevention was at the core of all of these efforts as
recent studies have found that the vast  majority  of  LGBTQ  youth  are
bullied and at greatly elevated risk for suicide attempts; and
  WHEREAS,  Sonia  Wagner  is  a strong believer in volunteerism and has
volunteered as a reader to the visually impaired, a stable assistant  at
an  equestrian  therapeutic  school, a painter for Habitat for Humanity,
and an adoption coordinator for an animal shelter; and
  WHEREAS, MHA Rockland, as a nonprofit helping children and adults  for
more  than 60 years to overcome significant challenges and embrace life,
has strongly supported Sonia Wagner's promotion  of  suicide  prevention
both within the agency and for the community as a whole; and
  WHEREAS,  Throughout  the  entire  period  of her community service, a
period of constructive involvement, Sonia Wagner has stood  constant  in
dignity, good grace and humor; and
  WHEREAS, Rare indeed is the impressive dedication shown by an individ-
ual  for the benefit of others which Sonia Wagner has displayed through-
out her life; and
  WHEREAS, It is the sense of this Legislative Body that  when  individ-
uals  of  such  noble aims and accomplishments are brought to our atten-
tion, they should be celebrated and recognized by all  the  citizens  of
this great Empire State; now, therefore, be it
  RESOLVED,  That  this  Legislative  Body pause in its deliberations to
honor Sonia Wagner upon the occasion of her designation as recipient  of
the  Edgar  Francis (Eddie) Reed Annual Suicide Prevention, Advocacy and
Leadership Award; and be it further
  RESOLVED, That a copy of this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be tran-
smitted to Sonia Wagner.
.SO DOC S R2486                                  RESO TEXT            2013


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