SAMHSA awards $1.6M to Syracuse, NY mental health and suicide prevention providers

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently awarded $1.6 million to Liberty Resources Inc. and Contact Community Services Inc., two providers of mental health and suicide prevention services in Syracuse, N.Y., U.S. Rep. John Katko (R-NY) announced on Tuesday.

The funding is available through SAMHSA’s COVID-19 Emergency Response for Suicide Prevention (ERSP) program, which was authorized by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES Act. The ERSP program provides states and community organizations with funding to support mental health and suicide prevention services during the pandemic.

“Locally, Liberty Resources and Contact Community Services operate mental health crisis centers and provide behavioral health services. With the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating already rising rates of mental illness and suicide, these organizations have worked during this crisis to provide lifesaving treatment and counseling to Central New Yorkers in need. Now, with additional funds delivered as a result of the CARES Act, Liberty Resources and Contact Community Services will be able to expand services, including telehealth offerings, allowing them to continue delivering safe and quality care,” said Rep. Katko, co-chair of both the Mental Health Caucus and Suicide Prevention Task Force.

Both Liberty Resources and Contact Community Services will use the funds to expand their mental health and suicide prevention services, including their telehealth offerings.

This is the fourth federal award Liberty has received in recognition of its comprehensive delivery system.

“These funds will be utilized to address increased rates of suicide in our community,” Carl Coyle, CEO of Liberty Resources, said.  “With the stress of COVID, coupled with the opioid epidemic, suicide rates have increased nationwide.”

The system of care Liberty will utilize to address the need includes Crisis Call Center, 24/7 Mobile Crisis Response, Crisis Respite Facilities, Mental Health Counseling, and Substance Use Disorder Treatment. Services will be provided in person as well as via telehealth during the pandemic, according to Coyle.