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

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  • 14 / Jun / 2013
  • 18 / Jun / 2013
  • 18 / Jun / 2013

Resolution Details

Law Section:
Resolutions, Legislative



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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