New York Creates Suicide Prevention Task Force

ALBANY-Governor Andrew Cuomo has formed a task force that will study ways to reduce the fifth-highest suicide rate in America. 

The Task Force will be co-chaired by Christopher Tavella, PhD, Executive Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Office of Mental Health, and Peter Wyman, PhD, Professor Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. A full list of Task Force members can be found here.

New York has the fifth largest total number of suicides in the nation, with 1,652 in 2015, and it is estimated that for every suicide death there are 25 non-fatal attempts. In 2014, there were more than 21,000 hospitalizations and emergency department visits for self-inflicted injuries in New York State, and adolescents made up a disproportionately high number of these injuries.

On Thursday the governor cited the recent rise in the number of suicides across the country and says New York will make prevention a “top priority.”

The group will examine factors that can lead people to consider suicide, with a special focus on bullying and cyberbullying.

It also plans to look at the best ways to help at-risk groups such as veterans, people in the LGBT community and individuals struggling with mental illness or addiction.

A local Survivor Day event will be held in Jamestown on Saturday, November 18 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church on 410 N. Main Street in Jamestown.  All participants must register prior to the event by visiting:

Patricia Brinkman, Director of the Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene is a supporter of this event.

“Survivor Day is a way to reinforce that Chautauqua County is a community who cares,” said Brinkman.  “Each person can be an inspiration to another, from the sharing of loss to the celebration of life.  I hope that the community will show their support by attending the local event in person or by viewing the international event online at”

In an effort to raise awareness about this public health crisis, last month we aired a story called Too Young, Too Soon.

Anyone who is suicidal can call toll-free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 1-800-273-TALK.