WEST CHESTER, PA —Volunteers handed out hundreds of carnations and thank you notes to Chester County Hospital employees to show their appreciation for their dedication to helping others.
The ‘Carnation Day’ event was organized last week by Care Team, part of the Chester County Suicide Prevention Task Force.
This is an awareness project created with the simple idea that even brief interventions and acts of kindness can be effective suicide prevention tools.
The number of Americans reporting mental health issues and even suicidal thoughts has increased in recent years, particularly after the global pandemic, according to Mental Health America, a nonprofit agency headquartered in Alexandria Vir.
Research shows that when individuals make personal connections and show they care, it can improve our overall health and emotional well-being, ultimately helping to prevent suicide.
The task force set up two displays at the hospital that included thank you notes created by local school children, as well as information on suicide prevention and high risk for LGBTQ+ people, in honor of the month of the pride.
Hospital employees received carnations and were thanked for their hard work and dedication. Coatesville Veterans Administration Medical Center also provided gun locks.
“We saw tears, hugs, hands on hearts, smiles in eyes,” said Laurie Hay, who chairs the care team with Irene Roach.
“Some people shared their struggles, their stories. Many expressed surprise and gratitude for being recognized.
The team launched its first outreach project last year, when it made and delivered 16 treat baskets to five Chester County hospital emergency departments and to workers at the County Crisis Line in a day.
They have since also reached out to express their gratitude and care to Chester County 911 dispatchers, law enforcement and other frontline workers with the demand that they pay it, creating a backlash into a chain of personal connection and spreading kindness.