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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 28, 2021

OMH Announces Funding to Support Suicide Loss Survivors Awarded To Montgomery County

The New York State Office of Mental Health today announced a grant to Montgomery County for the development of an evidence-based program designed to help suicide loss survivors. The grant will be used to establish a Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors (LOSS) team in the county.

The goal of the county LOSS Team is to connect suicide loss survivors to a local suicide survivor groups and other healing resources immediately following a death by suicide. This is a targeted strategy designed for suicide prevention that ultimately helps all those impacted by a suicide loss.

To be eligible for LOSS Team funding, which is provided through OMH’s Suicide Prevention Center of NY (SPCNY) county coalition applicants had to identify an active suicide loss survivor group operating within and accessible to residents of the county, and the group must be specific to suicide loss with trained facilitators.

SPCNY will also support the startup, planning, and coordination of a Montgomery County LOSS team, and will facilitate a series of two half-day trainings to qualifying coalitions and respective partners. The content of these trainings will discuss the basic framework necessary for developing and sustaining LOSS Team initiative. 

OMH Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, “Every suicide has a devastating impact on many people, and it is important for communities to come together and support each other losing a person to suicide. Implementing a Loss Team in Montgomery County is an important step towards supporting those who have recently lost someone to suicide by connecting them with suicide loss survivors who understand their pain and can help build a network of support and resiliency. We look forward to working with Montgomery County to strengthen their community’s suicide prevention efforts.”

Sara Boerenko, Director of Community Services at Montgomery County Mental Health, said, “Suicide is not new to us.  We have struggled with death via suicide for years. The stigma associated with suicide often hinders loved ones from seeking traditional support services.  Having a LOSS Team will allow families, friends, and those impacted the opportunity to truly feel and understand that they are not alone and do not have to fight the stigma alone while trying to heal.”

Project Management and related funding will begin January 1, 2022.

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