About Our Chapter

Welcome. We are the Central New York chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

The grassroots work we do focuses on eliminating the loss of life from suicide by: delivering innovative prevention programs, educating the public about risk factors and warning signs, raising funds for suicide research and programs, and reaching out to those individuals who have lost someone to suicide.

As a part of AFSP’s growing nationwide network of chapters, we bring together people from all backgrounds who want to prevent suicide in our communities. Families and friends who have lost someone to suicide, vulnerable individuals, mental health professionals, clergy, educators, students, community/business leaders, and many others energize our chapter.

The Central New York Chapter of AFSP was formally chartered in November of 2007. Covering 10 counties in New York State which include Onondaga, Oswego, Oneida, Cortland, Madison, Lewis, Herkimer, Cayuga, Jefferson and Tompkins, our Chapter seeks to prevent the loss of life by suicide through education, research, and outreach. Sadly, one in every 25 lives lost to suicide in this country is a resident of New York State. Our Chapter hopes to play a vital role in preventing the loss of life by suicide in Central New York.

Since the early formation of the Chapter in April of 2007, our members have worked to raise public awareness of suicide, suicide prevention, and mental illness through collaboration, outreach, and education in the Central NY region. We have also worked to erase the stigma that overshadows suicide and mental illness.  As a Chapter, we have been involved in several different suicide prevention initiatives. 

We brought the first Out of the Darkness Community Walk to Syracuse in 2006, Watertown in 2007, Utica/Rome 2008, and Oneonta in 2011. We hope to continue the success of these walks, as well as add future community walks throughout our region. Other initiatives include community education programs, survivor outreach, and policy awareness.

The Chapter would like to thank Mary Jean Coleman, AFSP Upstate NY Regional Director for her hard work, vision and tremendous support and guidance in helping to form a successful Chapter in Central New York. We’d also like to thank and recognize Melanie Puerto and the NYS Office of Mental Health for their support as well as the Central NY Suicide Coalition members for their support. Finally, we’d like to send a special thank you to all members of the Chapter, volunteers, Board members, and those who have participated in our events, thank you for making our vision of a successful Chapter a reality.

AFSP CNY Area Director - Debra Graham

Executive Committee

Chapter President - James L. Knoll, IV, M.D.

Chapter Chair - Sarah Vroman

Secretary - Marcia Keech

Treasurer - Peg Corkran

Board Members:

Maxine Block

Jeanette Dippo

Kathy Holland

Angela Marotta

Shanah Williams

Click HERE to view our Board Member Bios