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Statewide initiatives to raise awareness during Suicide Prevention Month


Fri, Sep 9th 2022 10:15 pm

State Office of Mental Health launches digital campaign to promote suicide prevention resources; host virtual suicide prevention conference 

Proclamation recognizes September as National Suicide Prevention Month

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a new digital public service campaign and other statewide initiatives to raise awareness of suicide prevention efforts and the mental health resources available to all New Yorkers. Hochul also issued a proclamation in advance of Suicide Prevention Day, and recognizing September as National Suicide Prevention Month, marking both by illuminating state buildings and landmarks in purple and teal for two days starting Sept. 9.

"No New Yorker should suffer alone with crushing thoughts of suicide, especially when help can be one phone call away," Hochul said. "In commemorating this day and month, we're shining a light on the challenges so many of us face and the critical role suicide prevention can play in saving lives."

The digital campaign will run through November, spreading awareness of suicide prevention resources and crisis services throughout New York. Launched today by the state Office of Mental Health, the campaign will feature ads promoting these services on many social media platforms, including YouTube, TikTok and Snapchat.

Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, "Every death by suicide is a tragedy that can have a lasting impact on friends, family members and colleagues. Throughout the year, OMH works closely with communities across New York state to help individuals understand the importance of recognizing the warning signs of suicide, and provides valuable resources that can save lives. If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out. Support is always available."

In addition to the campaign, OMH's Suicide Prevention Center of New York is using the “Got5 Challenge” to promote and raise awareness of the Crisis Text Line among school-age youth. The grassroots marketing campaign encourages students to sign their school up to receive promotional items, post photos of them on social media, and share a short video about the Crisis Text Line to students and faculty via email.

Students can text Got5 – New York's unique Crisis Text Line keyword – to 741-741 to anonymously connect with a trained volunteer crisis counselor for support and to access mental health resources. This text line has resulted in more than 428,000 conversations since 2013.

In a parallel effort to help all New Yorkers experiencing a mental health crisis, New York state successfully implemented 988 in July. The three-digit number can be called or texted by anyone with a New York area code to reach a trained counselor from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.  Hochul's enacted budget included $35 million to expand crisis call center capacity, with this funding to increase to $60 million starting in FY 2024.

State Landmarks and Bridges Illuminated Purple & Teal for Suicide Prevention Month

In addition, Hochul announced state bridges and landmarks will be lit in purple and teal – the colors of suicide prevention – on Sept. 9-10. Locations include Niagara Falls.

2022 Suicide Prevention Conference

In a further effort to raise awareness, OMH will host the 2022 Suicide Prevention Conference, starting Sept. 20 and extending through Sept. 22. The free and virtual conference, titled "Fostering Connection Across the Lifespan," will bring together internationally recognized experts to summarize the latest prevention science and explain why more focus should be placed on supporting social connection across the lifespan – from early childhood and adolescence through the working and older-age years.

Supporting Children & Schools with Suicide Prevention Efforts

With suicide being a leading cause of death for adolescents, OMH has been working extensively with schools and communities to identify and better engage with at-risk youth and provide hope and support. OMH licenses more 1,000 school-based satellite clinics throughout New York, which help to address the mental health needs of children and improve the learning environment.

OMH is committed to growing and strengthening school-based mental services, and recently provided $3.4 million in funding for 136 satellite locations in 2022. The agency also issued $10 million in awards over five years to help 26 schools in high needs districts develop and implement comprehensive prevention and mental health plans.

OMH's Suicide Prevention Center offers a comprehensive list of school suicide prevention training to professionals with various roles in the school community. This helped train more than 5,000 school professionals last year on subjects such as suicide safety training for teachers and helping students as risk for suicide.

OMH has also awarded $2.5 million to the Mental Health Association in New York State Inc. to fund the Mental Health Resource and Training Technical Assistance Center. This center assists state schools by informing the content and incorporation of mental health in K-12 health curriculum, which helps to expand the knowledge and competencies of educational staff specific to mental health through the provision of technical assistance, training, and a variety of other strategies.

The agency also designed the evidence-based youth assertive community treatment teams to assist children with significant psychiatric needs who are at risk of institutional level of care and require intensive interventions. OMH is in the process of developing 20 teams statewide, covering 29 counties and serving approximately 835 children and their families.

Supporting Uniformed Personnel with CARES UP

The CARES UP initiative will invest $1 million on suicide prevention training, an awareness campaign, and other mental health support for uniformed personnel and veterans. One of the main goals of CARES UP will be to help police and other law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical service members, corrections officers and military veterans learn to manage stress in healthy ways and seek help when they need it.

Supporting Vulnerable and Underserved Communities

This year, OMH has also made available $5 million for suicide prevention programs for underserved populations, including Hispanic/Latino, African American, Asian American, Native American and LGBTQI+ youth and young adults.

Suicide Prevention Training

Since 2021, more than 71,566 New Yorkers have received suicide-specific training funded by OMH and delivered to community members, health care providers, school staff and students across the state.

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