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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, 2019

Office of Mental Health Recognizes Mid-Hudson Mother for her Extraordinary Community-Based Suicide Prevention Efforts

Tina Lee Honored for Creating a Suicide Safer Community through her Roles in NAMI

Albany, NY – Tina Lee, the Community Education and Outreach Manager of the National Alliance on Mental Illness – New York State (NAMI-NYS), has been awarded the New York State Office of Mental Health’s (OMH) “Excellence in Suicide Prevention: Creating and Strengthening Suicide Safer Communities Award”. 

Tina was recognized during OMH’s fourth annual New York State Suicide Prevention Conference, at which keynote speakers and 30 breakout sessions focused on strengthening suicide prevention through state and local partnerships, including those that target diverse, at-risk groups.

“Tina has taken her experience as a mother of someone with suicidal thoughts and used it to create a community of support, for not only her daughter, but other children, youth and families experiencing similar challenges.” said New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Marie T. Sullivan. “Tina’s tenacity and commitment to preventing suicide proves what can happen when we strive to make a difference.”

Tina, who was nominated for the award by her daughter, Allie Hill, discovered NAMI-Mid Hudson while searching for support after Allie’s repeated suicide attempts. Within a year after finding NAMI, Tina joined the board and began teaching Family-to-Family, a 12-week education for family members of adults with mental illness.

Tina went on to learn Dialectal Behavioral Therapy skills, became a Family Connections teacher with the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder (NEABPD), trained to become a Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) instructor and started presenting suicide prevention programming in both high schools and colleges through the Suicide Prevention Center of NYS.

Tina served as the Executive Director of NAMI-MH before continuing on to her new position at NAMI-NYS.

In her nomination letter, Tina’s daughter Allie writes that her mother saved her life: “My mother’s life mission was to care for me, but soon it became a mission of bettering the lives of families and individuals with mental illness and creating a supportive, compassionate, and a suicide safer community. It didn’t matter how far she had to drive, she would go, because she said that even if we could save one life, it was worth it.”

"Each and every one of us has been touched, directly or indirectly, by suicide,” said Tina Lee. “And each of us has an opportunity to be an upstander and intervene in a positive way that provides hope and support.  As a mother of a child who is a suicide survivor, I’m reminded by Allie’s recovery how critically important family education and support can be.  Together as a caring, mental health literate and compassionate community, we can create suicide safer communities and save lives."

“I have spoken in the language of suicide for most of my life. My first attempt was at age 9. I was suffering so much with my undiagnosed mental illnesses and depression that I told my mom that I was going to die of sadness,” said Allie Hill. “My mother was scraping for resources just to keep me alive when she found NAMI Mid-Hudson.  She learned to be my advocate when I was at my worst, and soon became a voice for other parents. Without my mom, I would be dead. She never gave up on me and reminds us all the importance of creating a suicide safer community-- that life is beautiful and to never give up Hope.”

For more information about NAMI- NYS, visit www.naminys.org.

To find out more about NAMI Mid-Hudson, visit https://www.namimidhudson.org/.


Suicide Prevention in NYS Schools

In August 2019, the Suicide Prevention Center of New York released the first ever Guide to Suicide Prevention Guide for NYS Schools. This guide was developed by the Schools and Youth Workgroup of the Suicide Prevention Council at New York State Office of Mental Health to provide best practice guidance and resources to schools toward the prevention of youth suicide.  

New York State Suicide Prevention Task Force Report

OMH is the lead agency for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Suicide Prevention Task Force, which includes leaders from state agencies, local governments, not-for-profit groups, and other recognized experts in suicide prevention. In May, the Task Force released its first report, which focuses on bridging gaps in current state suicide prevention efforts, and on building coalitions and supporting the efforts of local governments and advocates. 

National Leader in Suicide Prevention

New York’s suicide prevention efforts have been recognized by the Federal Government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) which recently awarded OMH with a grant to support our efforts.

Suicide Prevention Training Opportunities

Suicide Prevention trainings are 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 Innovation.


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