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James Plastiras Director of Public Information New York State Office of Mental Health 518-474-6540 james.plastiras@omh.ny.gov

September 18, 2018

Office of Mental Health Recognizes Bronx Psychiatrist for her Efforts to Prevent Veteran Suicides

Dr. Marianne Goodman Honored for Implementing Award-Winning Zero Suicide Model, “Project Life Force”

Albany, NY – Dr. Marianne Goodman, a Bronx psychiatrist, has been honored by the New York State Office of Mental Health for creating a lifesaving suicide safety plan for at-risk veterans called Project Life Force.  

Dr. Goodman, of the James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center, received the state’s “Implementation of Zero Suicide in a Healthcare Setting” award at the 2018 Suicide Prevention Conference, held in Albany.

“Project Life Force is saving veteran lives and significantly progressing suicide prevention efforts nationwide,” said New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Marie T. Sullivan. “We thank Dr. Goodman and everyone involved in Project Life Force for their hard work and commitment to preventing suicide in the vulnerable veteran population.”

Project Life Force is a 10-session, group intervention that combines cognitive behavior therapy and psychoeducational approaches. The goal is for each veteran to develop and implement a suicide safety plan, which is revised over several weeks as participants learn coping, emotion regulation, and interpersonal skills. It’s a program with the potential to be scaled up nationally.

“I sincerely appreciate the New York Office of Mental Health’s recognition of Project Life Force’s value and their support of my work. My research team and I at the James J Peters VA and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai are deeply committed to the development and testing of novel treatment approaches to target the 20 Veterans who die by suicide each day. Our suicide treatment program in collaboration with our neuroscience colleagues, Dr. Hazlett and Haghighi, aims to deepen our understanding of suicide risk and biomarkers of treatment response,” said Dr. Marianne Goodman.

“I am so impressed with Project Life Force’s potential and promise to address elevated suicide risk in our most vulnerable Veterans in a meaningful but efficient manner. I personally believe that this project, and Dr. Goodman’s dedication, will encourage promising practices that improve outcomes for our highest risk Veterans,” says Sarah Sullivan, nominator from James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center.   

Dr. Goodman is also developing another suicide safety program called Safe Actions for Families to Encourage Recovery (SAFER). SAFER is a novel treatment program for suicidal veterans that incorporates family members in safety planning. The program utilizes psychoeducation and communication skills training to revise and develop both veteran and family member safety plans.

For more information about the James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center, visit, https://www.bronx.va.gov/    


Suicide Prevention in NYS

Preventing suicide is a priority in New York State.

In 2016, OMH’s Suicide Prevention Office released “1700 Too Many: The New York State Suicide Prevention Plan”.  The Plan addresses the state’s strategy to decrease the number of deaths, including ensuring access to quality mental health services, as well as well coordinated, collective efforts that include behavioral health systems, schools, and communities working together using evidence-based and best practices in the field.


New York State Suicide Prevention Task Force

In his 2017 State of the State address, Governor Cuomo announced the New York State Suicide Prevention Task Force, which includes leaders from state agencies, local governments, not-for-profit groups, and other recognized experts in suicide prevention.

The Task Force is focusing on bridging gaps in current state suicide prevention efforts. It also highlights high-risk demographic groups and special populations, including members of the LGBT community, veterans, individuals with mental illness, Latina adolescents, and individuals struggling with alcohol and drug use. Veterans in New York State represent more than 15 percent of suicides, while nationally, LGBT adolescents are four times more likely to have attempted suicide than their non-LGBT peers. 

Committees of the Task Force have been meeting regularly and reaching out to Veterans' groups and members of the LGBT, Latina and other high-risk communities.  A report on partnerships and prevention efforts in those communities later this year.


NYS Health Connector

In early 2018, the New York State Department of Health launched the NYS Health Connector, a web-based application that allows quick access to a wide range of health information, empowering consumers to make more informed health care decisions. This new website, which also features health care service and utilization data, is a rich resource for policymakers and researchers interested in identifying needs and resources in communities throughout the state, including suicide prevention.

The death by suicide dashboard on the NYS Health Connector has been updated to include self-harm hospitalizations and emergency department (ED) visits statewide. In addition, 2016 data has been added to this version, along with interactivity for the county platforms and self-harm hospitalization and ED visualizations.


Suicide Prevention Training Opportunities

Suicide Prevention trainings are also available throughout New York State. Community groups can register for a suicide prevention training course through the Suicide Prevention Center of NY. Clinical trainings on best practices for suicide prevention can be accessed through the Center for Practice Innovations.


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