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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

August 15, 2019

Office of Mental Health Receives Federal Youth Suicide Prevention Grant

The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) has been awarded a five-year $3.68 million youth suicide prevention grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

OMH Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan, said, “The federal government has once again recognized the outstanding work being done in New York by OMH’s Suicide Prevention Office. We are a national leader in the fight against this tragic public health issue and will continue our work to help local governments build suicide-safe communities and schools.”

The Garrett Lee Smith (GLS) grant is awarded to states and tribal nations for comprehensive youth suicide prevention. The funds will support implementation of prevention and treatment services in clinical, school, community and higher education settings for youth ages 10-24 in Onondaga County. The GLS grant, in addition to SAMHSA’s Zero Suicide and Life Line Expansion grants, will solidify efforts to create the nation’s first county-level “Suicide Safety Net” to support adults and youth at risk of suicide.

Implementation of Suicide Safer Care

Participating clinical sites will develop a systematic approach to screening and assessing for suicide risk, providing suicide-specific, evidence-based interventions, and implementing protocols for care transitions. The project will provide clinical services to an estimated 35,000 youth over five years in primary care, psychiatric emergency rooms, inpatient and outpatient mental health treatment, school-based health centers, school-based mental health clinics, and substance use disorder (SUD) treatment. Participating sites include:

  • St. Joseph’s Health,
  • Upstate Medical Center,
  • Helio Health,
  • CONTACT Syracuse,
  • Liberty Resources Integrated Healthcare, and
  • Syracuse Community Health Center  


Community- and School-based Prevention

Staff in juvenile justice, foster care, community-based programs, and 28 Onondaga County schools, as well as 150,000 college students and 5,500 faculty and staff across the State University of New York (SUNY) 64-campus system, will receive trainings to ensure that youth at risk for suicide are identified and referred to appropriate clinical services. Participating sites include:

  • Boys and Girls Club,
  • ARC Health – the Q Center,
  • Liberty Resources,
  • Juvenile Justice Unit, and
  • State University of NY 


Additional Suicide Prevention Efforts in New York State

Earlier this year, Governor Cuomo announced the release of the first report from the New York State Suicide Prevention Task Force. Established by the Governor in November 2017, the Task Force serves to increase awareness of and access to supportive services for those at risk, including high-risk groups such as veterans, Latina and African American youth, and members of the LGBTQ community. Recommendations from the report include strengthening public health prevention efforts, integrating suicide prevention in healthcare, timely sharing of data for surveillance and planning, and infusing cultural competence throughout suicide prevention activities.

OMH and the agency's Suicide Prevention Office (SPO) are also working to enhance programs and outreach methods to better identify and serve high-risk groups. The SPO works with and provides funding to suicide prevention coalitions and local governments across the state to bring resources and programs to inner city and rural schools and communities to help raise awareness and reach these at-risk groups.

In September, the SPO will host and sponsor its fourth annual New York State Suicide Prevention Conference, at which keynote speakers and 30 breakout sessions will focus on strengthening suicide prevention through state and local partnerships, including those that target diverse, at-risk groups.

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