C.A.R.E.S. building marks year’s worth of preventive efforts
Cape Coral’s suicide prevention center celebrated its one-year anniversary Tuesday afternoon as officials looked back at their accomplishments and discussed what lies ahead.
The C.A.R.E.S. center, also known as the Community Awareness in Recognizing and Educating on Suicide, offered refreshments to residents in attendance and showcased a presentation to highlight a year’s worth of efforts.
City officials including Chief of Police Rob Petrovich attended the celebration as did representatives from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and Rep. Gary Aubuchon’s office.
“We put together some stats and things we put together over the last year so people can actually see what we’re doing,” said Virginia Cervasio, founder of C.A.R.E.S.
Gift certificates from local businesses were raffled off Tuesday and the center solicited volunteers for a local Public Service Announcement on suicide. The Women’s Legacy Group of the Southwest Florida Foundation presented C.A.R.E.S. with a grant for the PSA.
The PSA will be shot July 25 and approximately 100 people are needed for the end of the 30-second video. The beginning will feature three survivors and vital statistics on suicide, and the end will feature the extras adorned in purple or white T-shirts.
A radio PSA will accompany the television version that is slated to air on local stations.
“The bottom line for the PSA is to make the community know we are here to help,” said Cervasio.
Over the last year the center has spread the word on what services are available locally through community events such as the High School Challenge, where students from any school are judged on five-minute performances. The annual challenge is the center’s largest fund-raising event and has doubled its proceeds each year.
C.A.R.E.S. expanded the center by hiring a new therapist and psychiatrist. Dr. Luis Jasa, a psychiatrist from Sarasota, meets with patients once a week. According to Cervasio, if patients are considering suicide they will see one of the two therapists at the center who will refer them to Jasa.
Tara Moser, a licensed mental health counselor from Delta Family Counseling, said center officials have worked together to expand suicide awareness. An increased need for counseling motivated Moser to hire therapist Julie Corbin to help patients at Delta Family Counseling.
“There was more of a need so we added another person,” she said. “We are continuing to grow and do more events as a team.”
Delta Family Counseling and Cheryl Buss’ The Back Door Counseling are located next door to C.A.R.E.S. on Del Prado Boulevard.