Last week, MHANYS participated in the Suicide Prevention Conference held by
the New York State Office of Mental Health. We are very appreciative of
Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Sullivan in moving the agenda of suicide
prevention forward. There were a lot of innovative ideas and discussions
that took place. We are providing a brief snapshot. For much more
information, I would recommend reading the report and the link to the
website. Special thanks to Dr. Jay Carruthers, Director of the OMH Suicide
Prevention Office, his staff and the staff of the Suicide Prevention Center
of NYS for putting together all this very useful information.
Alarming Statistics: Please look at these numbers. Even for those of us
in the field, these numbers are shocking
1.1 million people attempted suicide in 2014
2.7 million people made a suicide plan in 2014
78 percent of older adults who complete suicide saw their health care
provider a month before they killed themselves.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 15 to 34
It is the tenth leading cause of death nationally
Of the ten leading causes of death, suicide is the only one that has seen a
percentage increase in recent years.
Existing Problems in Mental Health Services
Former OMH Commissioner Mike Hogan has been working with Dr. Carruthers and
collaborators, including researchers at the NYS Psychiatric Institute, in
developing the Zero Suicide initiative in NYS. As Commissioner Hogan
pointed out, traditionally there has been limited attention paid to suicide
prevention trainings in health care settings. Ironically, Hogan noted the
mental health system has historically been designed to deliver mental
health services, not to explicitly reduced suicide deaths. The bottom line
is that traditional mental health services have not gone a good job of
incorporating suicide prevention training into their content areas.
There is strong evidence that there are programs that work. New York State
has vested resources in the Zero Suicide Initiative for several clinics
throughout the State (information about the program is listed below).
Community based programs have also been successful. Cognitive Behavioral
Therapy for suicide prevention, innovative programs in school settings like
Sources of Strength, work of peers in suicide prevention and lethal means
restrictions have all advanced suicide prevention in New York.
Many more resources have to be dedicated to suicide prevention. We know
that community programs have worked in creating innovative solutions,
additional social media engagement is significant and more suicide
prevention training is needed in the community as well. We applaud State
resources being dedicated to Zero Suicide in clinics, but there should be
an expansion of the program to community providers as well. In addition, we
have to identify resources to provide more services in correctional
settings and for discreet populations that are outliers in suicide
attempts. We also need a strong and systemic public awareness campaign as
advocated by Dr. John Draper, National Director of the Suicide Prevention
Lifeline (run through the MHA-NYC).
We also have to utilize the transition to Medicaid Managed Care in
behavioral health to be inclusive of financing for suicide prevention
Follow Up Advocacy
As a follow up, MHANYS Public Policy Director John Richter will be sending
out a piece on the role of mental health education and suicide prevention
around issues of bullying. If you are interested in getting more
information about mental health education in school, please contact John at
Please call Governor Cuomo and voice your support for Mental Health
Education in Schools which we believe can dramatically help in the area of
suicide prevention. Ask him to support Mental Health Education in Schools
Bill (A3887B and S6046) at (518) 474-8390, Option 3 Thank you.
Listed below is the State Suicide Prevention Plan and a link to the website.
NEW YORK STATE OFFICE OF MENTAL HEALTH ANNOUNCES STATEWIDE SUICIDE
1,700 Too Many’ Plan Sets Goal of Further Reducing New York’s Suicide Rate
ALBANY, NY – The New York State Office of Mental Health today announced the
release of an extensive, multifaceted plan for suicide prevention, aimed at
reducing New York State’s suicide rate. To guide suicide prevention
statewide, 1,700 Too Many: New York State’s Suicide Prevention Plan will
empower communities, healthcare professionals, and researchers with the
tools they need to decrease the number of deaths by suicide.
“New York State is taking action to save the lives of our family, friends,
and neighbors from suicide, the most preventable cause of death,” said New
York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan. “This
plan presents the most extensive suicide prevention framework of any state
in the nation, with lofty goals and detailed plans on how to make it
happen. By working together under the common cause of suicide prevention,
we will honor in the best way possible those whom we have lost to suicide,
by letting potentially suicidal individuals know that we care about them
and that help is always available.”
1,700 Too Many was developed after New York State was chosen to receive a
grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to
integrate suicide prevention into healthcare settings and provide
prevention specific training to healthcare providers. New York is one of
only four states to receive such funding. The plan is the centerpiece of
the inaugural New York State Suicide Prevention Conference occurring today
and tomorrow in Albany.
“More and more New Yorkers are receiving their mental health services from
primary care providers,” said New York State Office of Mental Health
Suicide Prevention Office Director Dr. Jay Carruthers. “It is of utmost
importance that we train our medical professionals to address suicide risk
more directly. It’s one of the various components of our plan that will
have a significant impact on reducing suicides in New York State.”
“The new state plan shows why New York State remains a leader in suicide
prevention. To truly have an impact, no one intervention is enough,” said
Suicide Prevention Center of New York Associate Director Garra
Lloyd-Lester. “We need a coordinated systematic response, in our health
system, in our schools and in our communities. And that’s exactly what the
plan calls for.”
1,700 Too Many brings a three-tiered strategy to suicide prevention.
·Integrating Suicide Prevention into Health and Behavioral Health
Many individuals who die by suicide have contact with the health care
system just prior to death. Yet, health and behavioral health systems have
never been explicitly designed to reduce suicide deaths. The plan will work
to change this through the adoption of a systematic approach: The Zero
Suicide Model . All healthcare settings – mental health and substance use
treatment centers, emergency rooms, primary care practices, hospitals –
have an important role to play in reducing suicide deaths among New
Yorkers. A core component of the plan relies on improved training for
clinicians in the identification and treatment of at-risk individuals.
OMH is ramping up training in this area for mental
health and substance abuse providers, with plans to expand to other
healthcare and social service settings.
· Coordinated Community Suicide Prevention
Working together, communities can make a difference and prevent suicides.
Research indicates that individuals who feel disconnected from others are
at increased risk for suicide. The second strategy of the plan works to
help at-risk individuals foster connections, encouraging them to remain
integrated within their communities, throughout their lives. It calls for
increasing efforts to intervene at the earliest signs of trouble, before an
individual becomes suicidal. Research suggests that the promotion of mental
wellness and supportive social connections can leave individuals less
vulnerable to suicide, including those with little-to-no contact with
health and behavioral healthcare systems. The plan also continues New
York’s efforts to train the public in suicide prevention as well as
develop, support and strengthen community suicide prevention coalitions and
create ‘suicide safer’ school communities.
·Data-Informed Suicide Prevention
Suicide is a complex problem. The third overarching strategy of the plan
makes an ongoing commitment to collect better data in order to continuously
inform the State’s suicide prevention efforts. New York State is fortunate
to have a number of resources that contain information relevant to suicide
surveillance. This plan explicitly calls for leveraging existing data and
developing novels ways to make the latest information more accessible to
end users, such as policy makers, providers, and communities working
towards suicide prevention. To that end, OMH is working more closely with
other state agencies to make better use of new and existing suicide data.
Read the entire 1,700 Too Many’: New York State’s Suicide Prevention Plan,