August 2, 2022

Yogathon to raise awareness for suicide prevention and funds to benefit mental health programs

Beginner and experienced yogis alike are welcome to receive the mental and physical health benefits of yoga at the 2nd annual Yogathon for Suicide Awareness & Prevention presented by Independent Health and Power Yoga Buffalo.  This Yogathon will raise awareness of suicide prevention and funds to benefit mental health programs at Mental Health Advocates of WNY on Sunday, September 18 from 9am – 1pm (class from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm) at 500 Seneca St. in Buffalo.

Registration for the Yogathon for Suicide Awareness & Prevention is $25.  Visit their website to register or for more information.  Participants are encouraged to arrive early to check in, place your yoga mat and visit with vendors before class begins.

“There is no denying the strong connection between mind and body,” said Jennifer Picone, Manager, Corporate Wellness, Independent Health.  “The practice of yoga has the potential to transform bodies, minds, and lives. By using the tools of yoga – breathing, movement and mindful meditation – participants will begin to experience how this practice can directly support mental health and wellness.”

The Yogathon for Suicide Awareness & Prevention, led by certified yoga instructors from Power Yoga of Buffalo, includes one large community class for those of all abilities with a balanced journey through meditation, energizing movement, restorative movement and deep rest.

“You don’t have to be an experienced yogi to participate,” said Jamie Pearsen, of Power Yoga Buffalo.  “The class is designed to be fun, empowering and deeply invigorating for your mind and body. By bringing your mind, movement, and breath together, you will discover the power and vitality of your own body.”

Participants are welcome to move at their own pace. Teachers will support each practice with intentional cueing and language that keeps everyone connected to their body and breath throughout class.

Countless individuals and families are touched by mental illness.  Left untreated, a manageable condition can turn into a life-altering crisis.  Emergency department visits in the US for suspected suicide attempts among girls ages 12-17 have increased 51% during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yogathon raises awareness of suicide prevention and funds to benefit mental health programs

Suicide can be prevented:

  • Increase social connections for youth
  • Teach youth coping skills
  • Learn the signs of suicide risk and how to respond
  • Reduce access to lethal means (like medications and firearms)
  • Help is available 24/7 at suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

Prevention and early intervention are key and are the focus of many MHA programs and services. By raising awareness and learning to recognize the signs of someone struggling with depression, anxiety, or suicide ideation, we can save lives.

"As a regular yoga practitioner, I personally understand the connection between yoga and mental health," says Melinda DuBois, Executive Director, Mental Health Advocates of WNY.  "Moving your body, paying attention to your breath, and being present in the moment are all wonderful ways that yoga can help with depression, anxiety, and trauma. Yoga is for everyone and can benefit all of us."

The venue for the second annual Yogathon for Suicide Awareness & Prevention has been generously provided by the Savarino Companies.

Proceeds from the Yogathon for Suicide Awareness & Prevention will benefit Mental Health Advocates (MHA) of WNY. MHA promotes mental health and wellness in our community and supports individuals and families living with mental illness through a variety of non-clinical programs and services.  More information about MHA is available online at https://mhawny.org/.

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