Good morning on this mild Monday.
In the last week, we lost two prominent New Yorkers to suicide.
The suicide rate here has been increasing about 2 percent a year since 2008. In 2014, the most recent year for which there is data, 565 New Yorkers died from suicide, according to the health department — by comparison, 328 people were murdered in the city that year.
“The thing about suicide is that it’s preventable,” said Anitha Iyer, the chief clinical officer for the Mental Health Association of New York City. “People can be connected to care and feel better.”
There are things you can do if someone you know seems to be at risk for suicide, Dr. Iyer said. Here is some guidance she gave us on how to handle such a situation, as well as resources for those seeking help.
How can I tell if someone close to me is contemplating suicide?
“There are indicators,” Dr. Iyer said, including talking about wanting to die and looking for a means to accomplish it. A potentially suicidal person may talk about feeling trapped, hopeless or as if there is no reason to live, and could discuss physical or emotional pain. Other indicators include increased alcohol and drug use, increasingly dangerous behavior, changes to sleep patterns and isolation.
How can I help?
Ask them. “If you’re worried that someone is having suicidal thoughts, ask them,” Dr. Iyer said. “There’s a common myth that if you ask somebody if they’re having thoughts of suicide, you’re going to put that thought in their head. We know that’s not the case.” And when you ask, she added, “give them the space to tell you what they’re feeling.”
Keep them safe. “If they’re telling you they’re having thoughts of suicide, ask them if they’ve thought of how they would do it,” she said. If someone had considered buying a gun, “then help them plan for their safety by taking away the lethal means.”
Other things you can do: Be there for them, help them connect to resources, and then follow up. “Let them know that you care,” Dr. Iyer said. “That goes a long way.” (More resources can be found at bethe1to.com.)
What are things I shouldn’t say or do?
“It isn’t helpful to negate or invalidate,” Dr. Iyer said. “Like, ‘No, you’re not really feeling that way.’” That stops the conversation, she said. “Anything that will shut the person down and prevent them from letting you in isn’t helpful.”
If I’m thinking about suicide, what can I do?
• NYC Well operates a 24-hour hotline by phone (888-NYC-WELL) and text (65173) in English, Spanish and Mandarin. You don’t have to be contemplating suicide to use it, Ms. Iyer said — you can reach out if you’re just feeling crummy and want support.
• The city operates a system of Crisis Respite Centers where you can stay in a supervised environment for a few days if you don’t want to be alone.
• You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com for additional resources.
Today, as always, let’s look out for each other.
Here’s what else is happening:
A great way to start the week.
Look up and you’ll see a pleasant mix of sun and clouds, and a high of 70.
More sunshine and warmer temps are on tap tomorrow.
In the News
• Flags at yesterday’s Puerto Rican Day Parade waved in black and white as a reminder of the destruction and continuing aftermath of Hurricane Maria. [New York Times]
• Residents of the Lower East Side’s Seward Park co-ops are divided on whether to accept a developer’s $ 54 million offer for the complex’s air rights. [New York Times]
• The Republican tax rewrite, which seemed like a surefire campaign issue in this year’s midterm elections, is now more of an afterthought for New Yorkers. [New York Times]
• Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo charged that the weak federal response to victims of Hurricane Maria is because of an inherit racism coming from the White House. [New York Post]
• A Jewish councilman’s plan to hold the first gender-segregated beach days in Brooklyn has drawn praise from religious groups and criticism from secular New Yorkers. [Haaretz]
• School officials painted over a famous New Deal-era mural at DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, breaking the hearts of students and staffers. [New York Daily News]
• Today’s Metropolitan Diary: “Gay Talese’s Ants”
• For a global look at what’s happening, see Your Morning Briefing.
Coming Up Today
• Greet the sunrise with a guided meditation class in Inwood Hill Park in Inwood. 7 a.m. [Free]
• Sketch live models at Flushing Town Hall in Queens. 6 p.m. [$ 16]
• The author Roxane Gay discusses her new book, “Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture,” at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library in Midtown Manhattan. 7 p.m. [$ 40]
• Join more than 700 people in a game of musical chairs hosted by the comedian Ophira Eisenberg at Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan. 7:30 p.m. [Free]
• The comedian Seth Meyers discusses the relentless news cycle at the 92nd Street Y on the Upper East Side. 8 p.m. [$ 50]
• Alternate-side parking remains in effect until June 15.
• For more events, see The New York Times’s Arts & Entertainment guide.
Over the weekend, our city got a new park.
Domino Park, an 11-acre sliver of green that runs along the East River just north of the Williamsburg Bridge, opened to the public on Sunday.
The park is situated on the waterfront adjacent to the former Domino Sugar Refinery, which was once a factory and is now an office building.
It includes a catwalk, grassy knolls and a playground designed by the artist Mark Reigelman.
Recently, The Times’s Daniel McDermon took his kids there to test it out.
“Their highest praise went to the central portion of Mr. Reigelman’s design, the 26-foot-high silo enveloping ladders, webbed climbing material and the entrance to a slide that is far more precipitous than it seemed from outside,” he wrote. “On the whole, the critics agreed, the space was worth recommending to a friend.”
Give it a spin yourself.
And while you’re at it, why not explore some of the other new parks that have recently cropped up around the city.
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