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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 New York Doctor for a Lifetime of Leadership on Suicide Prevention

Dr. Edward Dunne Honored with the ‘Fred Meservey Life & Leadership Award’

Edward Dunne, a suicide prevention expert from New York, has been awarded the New York State Office of Mental Health’s (OMH) Fred Meservey Life & Leadership Award.” The award, presented every two years, is given to a New Yorker who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in the field of suicide prevention.
Dunne 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.
Dr, Edward Dunne has devoted his life to studying the impact suicide has on those left behind," said New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan. “His personal experience with suicide loss shaped one of the first books on the subject and we have watched his research explore the impact of family engagement on an individual’s mental health treatment. Dr. Dunne is a remarkable example of how one person’s dedication to the cause can shape generations of prevention strategies.”

Dunne co-authored the book Suicide and its Aftermath: Understanding and Counseling the Survivors in 1987. It was largely informed by Dunne’s experience after his 16-year-old brother, Tim, died by suicide. Historically, Dr. Dunne’s seminal work represents the very beginning of the literature on grief after suicide and remains a reference to anyone who currently writes about suicide loss and postvention.

“I am deeply humbled by and very grateful for this recognition of my work,” said Dr. Dunne. “But even more gratifying is the awareness of the great number of talented and dedicated professionals who have continued and expanded our modest beginning.”

Dunne’s contributions to the field of suicide prevention include a focus on children as survivors of a suicide death, the development of Survivor Support Group Guidelines, conducting postvention consultations, providing training in bereavement counseling, and maintaining a vibrant practice specialized on treating individuals and families after the suicide of a loved one.

Dunne was the Director of Professional Studies at Kingsboro Psychiatric Center and a clinical professor at Downstate Medical Center prior to his joining the staff of New York State's Psychiatric Institute, as a research scientist, as well as the clinical faculty at Columbia University. Dr Dunne was also a senior faculty member of the Ackerman Institute for the Family, and founder and director of its project of LGBTQ families. He is a past President of the American Association of Suicidology and was a founding member of the board of directors of the New York City chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  Most recently, he was the Director for Survivor Initiatives for Suicide Prevention International.
Frederick Meservey Life and Leadership Award

The Frederick Meservey Life and Leadership Award is awarded to a New Yorker who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in the field of suicide prevention.  As the founding Director of the Suicide Prevention Center of New York, Fred Meservey valued collaborative leadership, research, and creativity.  Fred was a highly regarded public servant in the fields of child welfare and substance abuse who became a passionate advocate and expert in the field of suicide prevention after experiencing a suicide loss.   Fred challenged those around him to collaboratively work with those affected by suicide and move the field of suicide prevention to find pragmatic interventions.  Fred, in collaboration with other field experts, authored the report that served as the foundation of the Zero Suicide Model. 
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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