September 12, 2019 News Release

PA Turnpike Commission Partners with Prevent Suicide PA to Build Awareness

Education and Support as Part of September’s Suicide Prevention Month

MIDDLETOWN, PA (Sept. 12, 2019) — As part of Suicide Prevention Month, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) and Prevent Suicide PA are teaming up to build awareness of suicide prevention and “Drive Out Suicide.”

“Tragically, there are more than one million suicide attempts in the United States each year, and more than 47,000 people who will die by suicide,” said Govan Martin, III, Executive Director of Prevent Suicide PA. “While you cannot truly know another individual’s internal struggles or personal difficulties, the statistics suggest that, at any given time, someone close to us could be battling thoughts of suicide. Suicide can affect anyone and everyone, so we must spread the message that no one is alone. Additionally, it is critical to motivate those in crisis to seek help.”

Part of this collaboration is to make information, education and points of immediate assistance available at each of the PTC’s 17 service plazas across the state during September using brochures and tray liners.

“Each month, tens of thousands of travelers stop at the 17 service plazas along our roadway,” said Turnpike Commissioner Pasquale T. (Pat) Deon Sr. “Our service plaza teams understand they are touchpoints of hospitality, service and compassion. Recently, we learned of the true importance of staff kindness after a customer wrote a letter about a service-plaza interaction that would quell his thoughts about attempting suicide once he returned home.”

“Drive Out Suicide” is a suicide prevention and awareness campaign created by Prevent Suicide PA. Volunteers place specially designed window clings on the windows of their cars which then communicates important information while they are going to work, stopping for groceries or headed out on vacation. The PA Turnpike took the “Drive Out Suicide” logo and designed a tray liner that will be used for all customer food service trays in the service plazas along the 552-mile roadway. The tray liner includes the “Drive Out Suicide” logo and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), which is staffed 24/7.

“It may sound corny to say, but a simple kind word, a smile or a listening ear can change someone’s day,” concluded Martin. “Most importantly, it can break a cycle of dark thoughts or cause someone to stop and consider before acting upon suicidal thoughts. Then there is an opportunity is to get that person the help they may need.”   

For video interview and further information on this collaboration click here.

For more information on Prevent Suicide PA click here: