Governor Kathy Hochul recently named September as Suicide Prevention Month and September 10 as Suicide Prevention Day in New York, while announcing a new digital public service announcement and other initiatives to raise awareness of suicide prevention. State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. wants to highlight the legislation passed during the 2020-2021 session that deals with suicide during the new Suicide Prevention Month.
New York State has one of the lowest rates of suicide in the country, but there are still 1,700 deaths by suicide each year. This new digital public service announcement will run through September and emphasize the importance of creating positive social relationships through individual, family, and community connections to aid in suicide prevention.
“Suicide is a serious issue that we must address to help save as many lives as we can. Suicide could be a preventable cause of death, and with the right resources, outreach and partnerships, we can bring the number of suicides down,” Addabbo said. “We have worked diligently in the legislature to create laws that will work towards that aim. I am proud to be a sponsor and co-sponsor on several of these bills — especially those focusing on the rate of veteran suicide.”
The bills that were created in the 2020-2021 legislative session are:
·S1788A/A5836A – A bill co-sponsored by Addabbo has passed both the Senate and Assembly, awaiting approval by Governor Hochul. This bill creates a Veterans' mental health and suicide prevention task force;
·S6194B/A7177B- A bill also co-sponsored by Addabbo and awaits the Governor’s approval. This bill relates to establishing a 9-8-8 suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system;
·S2036/A3237A – This bill passed both Houses, awaits the Governor’s approval and requires the Division of Veterans Service to design a form that coroners, coroner's physicians and medical examiners will use to report deaths of veterans they suspect have been caused by suicide;
·S4093/A6975 – A bill co-sponsored by Addabbo, only passed the Senate and would establish September 22nd of each year as a day of commemoration known as 'Veteran Suicide Awareness and Remembrance Day";
·S5148/A6200 – This bill which passed the Senate and is co-sponsored by Addabbo would deal with the raising of a state flag for acknowledging a veteran suicide;
·S2877 – This bill passed the Senate only and could establish a Latina suicide prevention task force;
·S.3083/A1548 – A bill which passed Senate only, would establish an LGBT youth and young adult suicide prevention task force; and
·S.3408/A1716 – Which only passed the Senate, would establish a black youth suicide prevention task force.
As a priority for a number of years, Addabbo worked with his state colleagues to obtain additional funding for the Joseph P. Dwyer Peer-to-Peer Support Project to expand its counseling program into the five boroughs of the city.
The Office of Mental Health (OMH) has many resources available for individuals, communities, schools, and healthcare providers, including suicide prevention training. For more information on these resources, visit https://www.preventsuicideny.org/.
Additionally, OMH's Suicide Prevention Center of New York will host a suicide prevention symposium from Tuesday, September 28 through Thursday, September 30. This virtual symposium, titled “AIM for Zero: Suicide Care is Healthcare” will bring together the leading suicide prevention experts to discuss: the impact and importance of the Zero Suicide framework in healthcare systems, the importance of equity and inclusivity, strategies for high impact healthcare outcomes, as well as highlighting cutting edge tools for implementation.
Registration for the virtual symposium can be found here: https://aim4zerosuicides.vfairs.com/.
“A suicide doesn’t just affect the person doing it; it affects their family, friends, co-workers and their community,” Addabbo added. “Together we can bring the rate of suicide down. If anyone is having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, please reach out to a family member, friend, medical professional, or the Crisis Text Line (CTL) before the situation gets worse.