Thank you for being here! Please note that this website is not a suicide prevention or crisis hotline. If you or someone you know feels the need to speak with a mental health professional, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.
Preventing deaths by suicide is a priority of The Sophie Fund. Since we launched this nonprofit advocacy organization in 2016, we have sought to raise awareness about mental health and suicide by providing information and perspective via our online platforms and through programming and training in the community and on local college campuses.
The Sophie Fund is focused on suicide prevention initiatives aimed at making a tangible impact. In April 2017, we hosted a meeting of community mental health stakeholders representing 18 organizations who adopted The Watershed Declaration pledging to intensify suicide prevention efforts in Ithaca and Tompkins County. In July 2017, The Sophie Fund became one of the founding members of the Tompkins County Suicide Prevention Coalition. In October of that year, we organized a top-expert briefing for healthcare principals to introduce the Zero Suicide Model for suicide prevention in healthcare.
LEARN MORE: The Zero Suicide Model in Tompkins County
Suicide is a serious public health challenge in the United States. In 2019, 47,511 Americans died by suicide. It is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. and the 2nd leading cause of death in the 10-14, 15-24, and 25-34 age groups, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, 1.38 million suicide attempts occurred in the U.S. in 2019, and 12 million Americans have serious thoughts of taking their own lives, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).
Nevertheless, important advances like the Zero Suicide Model are being made and are providing hope in the movement to prevent deaths by suicide. We can achieve further progress with the knowledge that everyone has a role to play in saving lives. You can know the risk factors and warning signs for suicide, understand that treatment is available and essential, and learn how to get support for yourself or others. Thank you for doing your part.
Call 1-800-273-8255 for free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 2/7.
Text HOME to 741741 to reach a trained crisis counselor 24/7.
Call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 for support from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Call 1-866-488-7386 or text START to 678678 for the 24/7 crisis hotline for LGBTQ youth.
Call 1-800-656-4673 for confidential support.
Resources—New York State
Tompkins County Suicide Prevention Coalition [Strategic Plan 2022-2025]
Suicide Prevention Documents
Suicide Prevention Tools
National Patient Safety Goal for Suicide Prevention (NPSG) 15.01.01 The Joint Commission R3 Report November 20, 2019
“The PHQ-9: Validity of a Brief Depression Severity Measure,” Kurt Kroenke, Robert L. Spitzer, and Janet B. W. Williams, Journal of General Internal Medicine, 2001
“Safety Planning Intervention: Current Evidence Base and Innovations,” Lisa Brenner, Gregory Brown, Barbara Stanley, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Suicide Prevention Suggested Reading
“How We Dramatically Reduced Suicide” by M. Justin Coffey, MD & C. Edward Coffey, MD
“Evidence-Based Psychotherapies for Suicide Prevention: Future Directions” Brown, G. K., & Jager-Hyman, S. (2014)
“Preventing suicide through improved training in suicide risk assessment and care: an American Association of Suicidology Task Force report addressing serious gaps in U.S. mental health training,” Schmitz WM Jr., Allen M.H., Feldman B.N., Gutin N.J., Jahn D.R., Kleespies P.M., Quinnett P., Simpson S., Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 2012
Tompkins County Suicide Prevention Timeline (2017-present)
March 28, 2017: Sharon MacDougall, deputy commissioner of Tompkins County Mental Health Services (TCMHS), surveyed community organizations about interest in establishing a state-encouraged Suicide Prevention Coalition for Tompkins County.
April 17, 2017: Community mental health stakeholders representing 18 organizations adopted The Watershed Declaration, calling suicide a “serious public health concern” and pledging to intensify suicide prevention efforts in Ithaca and Tompkins County.
June 7, 2017: Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick issued a proclamation in support of The Watershed Declaration, a commitment by local mental health stakeholders to intensify efforts to prevent suicide in the community.
July 31, 2017: More than 40 local mental health leaders launched the Tompkins County Suicide Prevention Coalition at a day-long working meeting held in Ithaca. Garra Lloyd-Lester, associate director of the Suicide Prevention Center of New York, facilitated a SWOT analysis among the meeting’s participants. TCMHS organized the meeting and said that “continued coalition development and leadership will come from one of our community partners.”
September 5, 2017: The Tompkins County Legislature proclaimed September 2017 to be “The Watershed Declaration Month” in support of intensified suicide prevention efforts in the community.
September 25, 2017: The Tompkins County Suicide Prevention Coalition held a meeting and unanimously endorsed the Watershed Declaration and discussed the Zero Suicide initiative.
October 16, 2017: The Sophie Fund organized a briefing at the Statler Hotel on the Zero Suicide Model attended by healthcare leaders from the Tompkins County Health Department, Cayuga Medical Center, Family and Children’s Service, Suicide Prevention and Crisis Service, Cornell Health, Ithaca College Health Services, and Tompkins Cortland Community College Counseling Center. The briefing was given by Michael Hogan, a developer of the Zero Suicide Model, who served as New York State Mental Health Commissioner, Ohio Department of Mental Health Director, and Connecticut Mental Health Commissioner; and Sigrid Pechenik, associate director of the New York State Suicide Prevention Office.
October 20, 2017: The Tompkins County Suicide Prevention Coalition held a meeting to advance strategic planning.
March 26, 2018: Jay Carruthers and Sigrid Pechenik, director and associate director of the New York State Suicide Prevention Office, issued a statement: “We consider Tompkins County and its newly formed Suicide Prevention Coalition an exemplary testament to vision, dedication and mobilization of community stakeholders. Thank you for your work, and we look forward to our continued partnership.”
March 27, 2018: The Tompkins County Suicide Prevention Coalition took concrete steps toward the adoption of the Zero Suicide Model for local suicide prevention, advancing a strategic plan to guide suicide prevention policies and practices in the community and appointing a coordination committee.
June 18, 2018: The Tompkins County Suicide Prevention Coalition voted to recommend the Zero Suicide Model for healthcare providers as a countywide suicide prevention initiative. Seven local healthcare providers declared themselves “Zero Suicide Champions” and commenced with internal efforts to implement the model: Cayuga Medical Center; Tompkins County Mental Health Services; Alcohol and Drug Council of Tompkins County; Suicide Prevention and Crisis Service; Cornell Health; Family and Children’s Service; and Cayuga Health Partners. The champions agreed to report back on implementation progress within 12 months.
July 17, 2018: The Tompkins County Legislature unanimously passed a resolution to support the Zero Suicide Model, calling on local healthcare and behavioral healthcare providers to follow the model’s systematic clinical approach to preventing suicides.
October 29, 2019: Nineteen members attended a meeting of the Tompkins County Suicide Prevention Coalition. Several Zero Suicide Champions reported adoption of the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS) as a screening tool. Suicide Prevention and Crisis Service agreed to assume role of convener of the coalition.
January 21, 2020: The Tompkins County Suicide Prevention Coalition held a sparsely attended meeting.
February 24, 2021: Resuming meetings after a 13-month hiatus amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tompkins County Suicide Prevention Coalition reviewed past accomplishments and discussed next steps.
March 25, 2021: The Tompkins County Suicide Prevention Coalition agreed to conduct a reach-out effort to improve the diversity and inclusiveness of the coalition; over the next month, members contacted 86 potential new members representing community organizations, public safety, veterans, education, healthcare, clergy, students, and the firearms-owning community.
April 22, 2021: The Tompkins County Suicide Prevention Coalition invited volunteers to serve as coalition co-convenors; and agreed to form work groups on strategic planning, Zero Suicide, and diversity and membership outreach.
May 27, 2021: The Tompkins County Suicide Prevention Coalition approved Sally Manning, SPOA Coordinator for Tompkins County, to serve as a coalition convenor; and agreed to schedule a strategic planning meeting.
June 29, 2021: The Suicide Prevention Center of New York conducted a two-hour workshop that outlined a six-step strategic planning model to help Tompkins County identify suicide risk factors in the community and appropriate mitigation tools for addressing them. [WATCH]
February 24, 2022: The Tompkins County Suicide Prevention Coalition unanimously adopted a three-year strategic plan guided by a vision “for a community where no lives are lost to suicide” and using data, science, and collaborations to implement effective strategies.
Tompkins County Suicide Prevention in the News
The Sophie Fund April 17, 2017
Cornell Daily Sun April 20, 2017
The Sophie Fund June 8, 2017
TompkinsCountyNY.gov July 25, 2017
Ithaca Journal July 26, 2017
The Sophie Fund July 31, 2017
TompkinsCountyNY.gov August 2, 2017
Ithaca Journal August 4, 2017
Lansing Star August 4, 2017
Tompkins Weekly August 14, 2017
The Sophie Fund September 6, 2017
Cornell Daily Sun October 17, 2017
Ithaca Voice October 18, 2017
The Sophie Fund December 5, 2017
Tompkins Weekly February 12, 2018
The Sophie Fund March 27, 2018
Cornell Daily Sun April 17, 2018
Ithaca Voice June 15, 2018
The Sophie Fund June 19, 2018
The Sophie Fund July 18, 2018
Ithaca Voice June 27, 2018
Ithaca Voice July 18, 2018
WSKG June 19, 2018
The Sophie Fund September 20, 2018
Ithaca Voice September 24, 2018
Cornell Daily Sun September 24, 2019
Ithaca Times October 23, 2019
Cornell Daily Sun April 17, 2020
The Sophie Fund, February 26, 2022