Our Work

Our Work

The Suicide Prevention Center of New York (SPCNY) at the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) divides work into four main areas:

  1. Zero Suicide in Health and Behavioral Health SettingsHappy people working together.
  2. Suicide Safer Communities
  3. Suicide Safer Schools, Colleges, and Universities
  4. Surveillance and Data-Informed Suicide Prevention

In 2016, SPCNY at OMH released 1700 Too Many: New York State’s Suicide Prevention Plan. This plan provides a detailed description of New York State’s strategy for suicide prevention. Compliance and field office staff help to carry out various activities. A few key projects and initiatives are described below.

The New York State Zero Suicide Infrastructure Project (NYZIP) – Zero Suicide SAMHSA Grant

The NYS Office of Mental Health’s Suicide Prevention Center of New York was awarded a highly competitive five-year, $3.5 million federal grant to expand the Zero Suicide model – a systemic approach toward integrating suicide prevention in the health care system – among the 13 Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics across NY state. Just one of 15 awardees nationwide, SPCNY will use the funding to reduce suicide attempts and deaths among individuals 18 or older in the areas served by these clinics, with the anticipation of helping roughly 50,000 individuals over the course of the grant. The project also has a strong focus integrating cultural and structural humility through behavioral health equity within the Zero Suicide framework. The grant began in September 2023 and will end in September 2028.

Garrett Lee Smith Suicide Prevention Grant

The Suicide Prevention Center of New York at the  New York State Office of Mental Health was awarded a 5-year $3.68 million youth suicide prevention grant. The grant is part of the Garrett Lee  Smith Youth Suicide Prevention Program from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), awarded to states and tribal nations for the development of a comprehensive youth suicide prevention system. The focus of the grant in New York State is to expand an existing Zero Suicide Safety Net for adults in Onondaga County to cover youth ages 10-24 and to ultimately disseminate suicide safer care practices statewide.  Grant funds support not just youth mental health services, but also youth serving school and community-based services. The grant began in July 2019 and will end in June 2024.

New Yorkers Advancing Suicide Safer Care (NYASSC) Zero Suicide Grant

New York State was the only state among three applicant organizations to receive a Zero Suicide grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) during the first cohort. This 5-year project was awarded in October 2017 to reduce suicide attempts and deaths by implementing Zero Suicide in health systems across all five mental health service regions in New York, and to create a Suicide Safer Care Network in Onondaga County by linking emergency departments, inpatient psychiatric units, outpatient mental health and substance use disorder treatment settings, and primary care practices across the county. Lessons learned at project sites will be disseminated statewide.

Youth Nominated Support Team

Youth Nominated Support Team (YST) is an innovative community-based suicide intervention model that was developed by Dr. Cheryl King, a youth suicide interventionist and professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan’s Medical School. What’s novel about YST, is that it does not target the youth directly. Instead, the intervention is aimed at 3-4 adults nominated by the youth to be sources of support when the youth leaves the hospital. YST members can be any adult who knows the youth and is willing to be supportive. It could be a teacher, coach, clergy member, but one member is usually a parent. It has shown to reduce suicide and overdose deaths among adolescents admitted to the hospital for stabilization during a suicidal crisis. YST is initially being offered to suicidal adolescents admitted to Hutchings Psychiatric Center and SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY.

Suicide Fatality Review Initiative

The current system for suicide death reporting is plagued by significant problems including misclassification, underreporting, a two-year reporting lag, and incomplete information on circumstances and upstream risk factors surrounding the death. SPCNY at OMH are piloting a suicide fatality review process which includes the use of a comprehensive data collection tool by coroners and medical examiners during site investigations, and the convening of quarterly suicide fatality review team meetings to qualitatively discuss circumstances. Ultimately, this process will provide counties with data to inform suicide prevention efforts on the local level.

Suicide Fatality Review Toolkit Request

Complete the form to access a toolkit and additional resources for communities seeking to establish a county suicide fatality review team.

Learn More

Suicide Prevention Continuous Quality Improvement Project in Outpatient Mental Health Clinics

New York State received one of three Applied Research toward Zero Suicide Healthcare Systems grants from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to implement Zero Suicide in over 165 outpatient clinics serving more than 90,000 behavioral health patients. Since the inception of the project, more than 4,000 clinicians were trained in the Assess, Intervene, and Monitor for Suicide Prevention (AIM-SP) model of suicide safer care, more than 30,000 patients were screened, and more than 2,700 at-risk patients received a package of intensive, enhanced suicide-specific interventions. This is the largest implementation and evaluation of the Zero Suicide approach ever conducted in outpatient behavioral health.

Clinical Training

The New York State Office of Mental Health partners with the Center for Practice Innovations at Columbia University to provide online suicide prevention training for behavioral health clinicians. These trainings include evidenced-based suicide risk screening, assessment, intervention, and monitoring. Materials from the trainings are made available through downloadable slides and resource pages at the end of each training. Training are available to all Office of Mental Health and Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services providers free of charge, and most carry CEUs for a range of mental health professions. Visit our Training Options page for more information.

Addressing the Intersection of Substance Use and Suicide

The New York State Office of Mental Health partners with the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) on a variety of initiatives. The two agencies held the first ever Zero Suicide learning collaborative with outpatient substance use disorder treatment providers, informing the development of suicide safer care protocols being piloted in inpatient and outpatient treatment settings. A suicide prevention workgroup was formed within OASAS, representing prevention, treatment, and recovery. From this workgroup, multiple joint initiatives have formed including discussions of regulation revisions, cross consultation, promoting collaboration between suicide and substance use prevention coalitions, prevention on college and university campuses, training OASAS resource providers, and gambling and suicide risk.

Postvention for the Clinical Workforce

SPCNY at OMH partnered with New York State OASAS to develop guidelines, trainings, and resources for clinicians who have lost patients to suicide and/or drug overdose. The Traumatic Loss in the Workforce workgroup that formed out of this partnership has produced guidance documents, webinars for the mental health and substance use disorder workforces, and a train the trainer curriculum and program. More information about and access to these resources are available on the Suicide Loss of a Patient or Client page of the website.

Coalition Academy

SPCNY developed and delivered the first Suicide Prevention Coalition Academy to equip coalitions with the knowledge and skills they need to implement data-driven suicide prevention programs. Based on a pre- and post-test evaluation, there was a significant increase in the number of coalitions reporting current workplans; regular use of data to inform planning and action, mission, and vision statements; a consistent leader or facilitator; and a broad-based, multi-disciplinary group of attendees. Participants were also more likely to report having the tools to develop suicide prevention plans for their counties after they completed the Academy. SPCNY continues to offer coalitions and their partners new content through the Academy by collaborating with experts from across the state. Click here to watch the Extreme Risk Protection Orders – A Strategy to Address Suicide by Firearms & Applications of ‘Red Flag’ Laws’ webinar, the latest in the 2021 Suicide Prevention Coalition Academy Webinar Series.

New York State Suicide Prevention Council

The New York State Suicide Prevention Council was formed in 2016 to assist SPCNY at OMH to raise awareness, reduce suicide attempts and deaths, and promote wellness among New Yorkers. Membership includes experts (e.g., researchers, clinicians, and state and community agencies), individuals and family members with lived experience (e.g., attempt and loss survivors), and advocacy groups and organizations. Four workgroups have formed out of the Council including Zero Suicide in health and behavioral health care, communities and coalitions, school and youth initiatives, and data and surveillance.

Helping Those Who Help Others Steering Committee

As part of the 2020 State of the State, former Governor Cuomo directed the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) to increase efforts to combat suicide within these high-risk populations and “convene a panel of stakeholders and experts at its annual Suicide Prevention Conference to develop and implement strategies for preventing suicide among these special populations.” While the Covid-19 pandemic led to the postponement of the 2020 suicide prevention conference, New York State remained committed to bringing leaders from these disciplines together and have met virtually throughout the fall of 2020.

In the fall of 2020, SPCNY at OMH created a steering committee comprised of veterans, military, law enforcement, corrections officers, EMS and firefighters, to help prevent suicide in New York State.

The steering committee is currently convening around the following activities:

  • Sharing experiences/resources and identify universal themes
  • Developing a series of presentations designed to educate the wider community and inform the work of the committee membership
  • Outlining identified barriers experienced by these populations and recommending strategies for improving overall wellness, engagement in treatment and services and suicide prevention efforts

Click here to learn more about the committee and contact Garra Lloyd-Lester (Garra.lloyd-lester@omh.ny.gov) if you have any questions about the committee’s initiatives.

Crisis Text Line Partnership

New York State partners with Crisis Text Line so that New Yorkers in crisis have 24/7 access to trained counselors at their fingertips. Crisis Text Line is a texting service that allows individuals in crisis to be connected immediately with a trained counselor to text about suicidal thoughts and behaviors as well as depression, anxiety, substance use, relationship problems, and domestic violence, among other issues. New Yorkers can text Got5 to 741-741 to access this service.  Click here to learn more about the Crisis Text partnership from the Commissioner of the New York State Office of Mental Health.


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Crisis Text Line – It’s For Everyone (Video – English Version) 

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