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NYS to launch "first in the nation" suicide prevention program

The NYS Office of Mental Health will launch a new program aimed at reducing new suicide attempts among individuals who had previously attempted suicide. (MGN photo)

Albany, N.Y. - The NYS Office of Mental Health will launch a new program aimed at reducing new suicide attempts among individuals who had previously attempted suicide.

The Attempted Suicide Short Intervention Program (ASSIP) reframes how suicide attempts are examined in order to develop individualized prevention strategies.

The program, announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday, is the first of its kind in the United States.

The program was created through $3.5 million federal grant, and builds on the work of New York State's Suicide Prevention Task Force.

The program, developed in Switzerland, is based on the belief that it is more helpful to view suicide as an action taken in order to reach a goal, rather than simply a symptom of mental illness, according to a statement sent out by Cuomo's office Friday.

It includes a social media campaign to raise awareness of prevention, and the services and support systems available.

"Two high-profile suicides this week put mental illness front and center, but while those names were the ones in the press, every day there are thousands of New Yorkers who struggle with suicidal thoughts, and we must do everything we can to support them," Governor Cuomo said. "Depression does not discriminate. It affects every part of society and people from all walks of life. This innovative pilot program tailors treatments to the specific needs of individuals and helps bolster our efforts to get people the support they need and keep New Yorkers safe."

The New York State Office of Mental Health recently entered into a partnership with Crisis Text Line (CTL), a national not-for-profit organization that provides free, 24-hour text-based support for people who are experiencing a mental health or situational crisis.

By texting "GOT5" to 741-741, users are connected to a trained Crisis Counselor, who will help them sort through their crisis and develop a plan to stay safe.




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