The state Office of Mental Health recently outlined resources and initiatives offered by New York state to help prevent suicide.
To extend the reach of the state Suicide Prevention Initiative, Office of Mental Health officials recently announced the availability of the free "Safety Plan" app for iOS, designed to provide individuals with an emergency plan and prevention resources for suicide crises.
"Suicide is a tragic, heart wrenching cause of death that causes deep and lasting pain throughout New York communities and beyond," said John Tauriello, acting Office of Mental Health commissioner. "With more Americans completing suicide than dying in car accidents, it is clear this is a crisis that we must work to prevent. I urge New Yorkers to recognize the warning signs that can lead to suicide, be it depression, substance abuse, or mental illness and help prevent suicides before they occur."
In May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report showing the alarming rate of suicide among middle-age Americans.
While the suicide rate in New York one of the lowest in the nation - 7.1 per 100,000 residents - the national rate being 12.4 per 100,000 residents, it is important to continue to work hard to prevent suicide.
To help at-risk individuals in New York state and throughout the world prevent suicide, the state Office of Mental Health, along with the New York State Psychiatric Institute, the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene and the New York State Suicide Prevention Initiative, created the free "Safety Plan" app for the iPod, iPod Touch and iPad. The free application helps individuals identify suicide warning signs, create coping strategies, identify positive contacts and social settings to distract from the crisis, identify family members and friends available to help, find professional help and resources, and make their environment safe from lethal means that may be used in a suicide attempt. The app is available here. Alternate versions of this application for Android-compatible devices will be available in the coming months.
Since 2004, the Office of Mental Health has held more than 5,000 suicide prevention training sessions for individuals, students, clinicians, educators, social services organizations and public safety officials. The Office of Mental Health offers six distinct training programs in suicide prevention, including the training of other suicide prevention trainers and teachers in how to identify the warning signs and get at-risk individuals the help they need. Most notable is the Applied Suicide Intervention Training which offers free classes to any and all interested parties, multiple times per week in regions throughout New York.
For those interested in suicide prevention training, visit: omh.ny.gov/omhweb/suicide-prevention/training. The Statewide and National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available at 800-273-8255 while Chautauqua County residents can call the Crisis Services Counseling Hotline at 800-724-0461, while a toll-free number for children and adolescents only is available at 877-543-7400.