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Mental Health Update

Posted in:
May 17, 2022
Mental Health Update

05/17/2022 – A message from OMH Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan

The racially motivated hate crime targeting the Black community in Buffalo has devastated us all.The tragedy in Buffalo comes at a time when New York’s communities of color are already living through the effects of racism, disproportionate levels of violence, poverty and COVID-19 death and infection rates. The effects of events like this run deep and well beyond the City of Buffalo and Erie County. The threat of violence, discrimination and racist rhetoric all have a strong, negative impact on a person’s emotional and mental health.

OMH is dedicated to ensuring that all New Yorkers, and especially those in underserved communities, have access to resources to mitigate mental health needs caused by racism, discrimination and hate crimes.

In addition to our work addressing the more immediate needs of those most closely affected by this tragedy we are mindful of the impact on those not in close proximity to Buffalo who are also affected because of social media and underlying historical trauma (especially in communities of color). LINK

On Wednesday, May 17, 2022, at 10:00 a.m., the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) will be hosting a Statewide community webinar – “Addressing Community Grief and Trauma in Wake of the Tragedy in Buffalo”. The presentation will help community leaders (e.g., clergy, education officials, local government, public safety leads, behavioral health providers) with understanding how to assist individuals/families/youth coping with the grief and trauma caused by this horrific event. While we will discuss the impact of the tragic event in Buffalo, the focus will be statewide, and we encourage anyone interested in assisting with the healing process across New York State to attend. The presentation will provide general information about the mental health effects of racism and violence, crisis response, and helping others cope with grief and trauma. Specific information focused on children and youth will also be provided..

Additionally, please take the time to share and explore these resources:

NY Project Hope Emotional Support Helpline – (*1-844-863-9314*) can help
you address the psychological stress caused by this tragedy.

SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline – (*1-800-985-5990*)

Mental Health Effects of Racism

National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Ann Marie T. Sullivan, MD,
New York State Office of Mental Health