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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 Community Network in Niagara County for Extraordinary Suicide Prevention Efforts

Community Network of Care for Children and Families in Niagara County Honored for its Dedication to Creating Suicide Safer Schools

Albany, NY – The Community Network of Care for Children and Families in Niagara County, a collaboration of school districts and mental health stakeholders in Western New York, has been honored by the New York State Office of Mental Health for advancing suicide safer settings in school districts across the region.

The Community Network of Care, or CNOC, received the state’s “Suicide Safer Schools” award at the 2018 Suicide Prevention Conference, held in Albany.

“The Community Network of Care is a wonderful example of how collaboration within a community can make a major impact on suicide prevention,” said New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Marie T. Sullivan. “These organizations have laid the foundation of a successful school and community partnership that meets the needs of children and families in the region. We thank everyone involved in the network for their hard work and commitment to suicide prevention.”

CNOC is chaired by Niagara County Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services (NCDMH) and consists of various school and community based agencies. As it relates to the suicide prevention efforts in schools, NCDMH along with representatives from Orleans-Niagara BOCES, Niagara Falls and Lockport City School Districts, the Mental Health Association in Niagara County, Family & Children's Services of Niagara, Community Missions of Niagara Frontier and Parent Network of WNY have come together to make an impact. It's goal for the 2018-2019 school year is to develop a “Comprehensive Health Plan” that targets standardized training protocols and innovative options for children and families to meet needs within their home, school and community environments.

"The Niagara Falls City School District is honored to be a member of this highly motivated CNOC group. The recognition on the state level is a tremendous honor and reinforces our mission to work daily in addressing the suicide scourge with even greater vigor and enthusiasm. The power of a community coming together is immeasurable in saving and changing lives. Our school district pledges even greater support in these efforts,” said Mark Laurrie, Superintendent of the Niagara Falls School District.

“The Community Network of Care (CNOC) for Children & Families in Niagara County has demonstrated that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It has taken a shared vision, dedication, ingenuity, and hard work by representatives from the various school districts, community agencies and the local governmental unit in Niagara County to begin to advance our initiatives related to suicide safer schools,” said nominator Myrla Gibbons Doxey, of the Niagara County Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services.


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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