Office of Mental Health Launches Marketing Campaign for 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline; Receives $10 Million Federal Grant to Better Integrate Services for Youth
Governor Issues Proclamation Marking September as Suicide Prevention Month; Orders State Landmarks and Bridges to be Illuminated in Teal and Purple
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced statewide initiatives underway to raise awareness of suicide prevention and the resources available to help all New Yorkers struggling with mental health challenges, including a digital campaign highlighting the state’s 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Governor Hochul also issued a proclamation acknowledging September as Suicide Prevention Month in New York and ordered state landmarks and bridges to be illuminated purple and teal on Sunday, Sept. 10, which is World Suicide Prevention Day.
“While we continue to break down the stigma associated with suicide, there remains work to be done to ensure all New Yorkers are aware of the help in our state that is just one phone call or text away,” Governor Hochul said. “By raising awareness and promoting earlier intervention, we can provide the support and resources necessary to save lives across New York.”
To raise awareness, the New York State Office of Mental Health’s Suicide Prevention Center launched a digital marketing campaign this month that will run through September highlighting the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, which offers a three-digit number supported in all 62 counties. New Yorkers experiencing thoughts of suicide can call or text 988 or visit 988lifeline.org/chat for a direct connection to care and support.
Additionally, Governor Hochul announced that New York State has received a five-year $10 Million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to support the expansion of the Collaborative Care Model among youth-serving primary care practices. This funding will allow the agency to address mental and behavioral health problems among children and adolescents with a co-occurring mental and physical health problems by providing integrated services, with a goal of ensuring more equitable access to historically marginalized populations.
Governor Hochul's FY 2024 Enacted Budget significantly expanded the capacity of 988 Crisis Contact Centers by boosting funding for them from $35 million to $60 million per year. More than 185,000 calls were directly routed to crisis call centers in 2022, with roughly 31,000 calls coming from former service members connecting directly via the Veteran’s Crisis Line.
In August, Governor Hochul announced the availability of the OMH’s 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline Education and Awareness Toolkit, an interactive resource tool designed to support individuals facing suicide risk. Numerous studies have shown that the Lifeline works—most callers are significantly more likely to feel less depressed, less suicidal, less overwhelmed, and more hopeful after speaking to a counselor.
Governor Hochul also issued a proclamation marking September as Suicide Prevention Month in New York State and also ordered certain state bridges and landmarks to be illuminated in purple and teal on Sunday, September 10:
- One World Trade Center
- Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge
- Kosciuszko Bridge
- The H. Carl McCall SUNY Building
- State Education Building
- Alfred E. Smith State Office Building
- Empire State Plaza
- State Fairgrounds – Main Gate & Expo Center
- Niagara Falls
- The “Franklin D. Roosevelt” Mid-Hudson Bridge
- Albany International Airport Gateway
- MTA LIRR - East End Gateway at Penn Station
- Fairport Lift Bridge over the Erie Canal
- Moynihan Train Hall
Rates of psychological distress among youth are at historic highs, according to a recent survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The percentage of New York high school students who reported feeling persistently sad or hopeless for at least two weeks during the past year were the highest recorded over the past two decades.
OMH is also partnering with the New York State Bridge Authority to host Transportation For Life: How the Transportation Sector and Partners Can Prevent Suicide at Dutchess Community College on Sept. 22. This summit is aimed at promoting a commitment to suicide prevention and to collectively explore innovative strategies and initiatives to prevent suicides, raise awareness, and support those impacted.
OMH will host the 2023 Suicide Prevention Conference in Albany on Oct. 17. Free and open to the public, the conference is entitled Changing the Conversation on Youth Mental Health: From Crisis to Prevention, with a goal to increase youth suicide prevention and mental wellness efforts.
The Suicide Prevention Center offers free resources to school districts and organizations focused on prevention efforts, which are available by request. Hundreds of schools have received free suicide prevention resources since 2022. Visit the resource to submit a request.
The agency has also conducted extensive training, with nearly 51,000 New Yorkers completing suicide-specific course material since 2022. OMH will host additional in-person and virtual suicide prevention training through the end of the year.
The Suicide Prevention Center is also soliciting 12 first responder organizations and three military veteran organizations to participate in the CARES UP initiative. Selected organizations will receive up to $60,000 to participate in a two-year program to support resiliency, wellness, and prevention programming, along with peer- to-peer training, with the goal of increasing protective factors and reducing mental health distress faced by uniformed personnel. For more information about this initiative or the grant opportunity, please send an email [email protected].
New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, “Based on the volume of calls to our crisis contact centers, we see that demand is high for mental health support in New York State. With this campaign, our goal is to spread even greater awareness of this critical resource, so that all New Yorkers are as familiar with 988 crisis services as they are with dialing 911 in a medical emergency.”
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer said, "988 is the new 911 for fellow New Yorkers who are dealing with mental health crises. I applaud Governor Kathy Hochul for swiftly implementing and raising awareness for this this vital lifeline, and I am proud to help deliver this $10 million federal boost to expand mental health resources for our most vulnerable youth. If you are struggling or need help, know that you are not alone: dial 988."
Representative Joe Morelle said, “In a moment of crisis, connecting with an expert who can provide compassionate counseling is crucial, and integrating the systems providing these resources through a collaborative care model will save lives. I’m grateful to Governor Hochul for her commitment to suicide prevention and will keep working to deliver federal funding in support of this effort. If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide, you are not alone—talk to friends and family, reach out for help.”