On the heels of a successful Suicide Awareness and Education Campaign, the Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health (DCMH) has been awarded a $100,000 grant to develop, test and refine a formal in-depth suicide review process. The money is part of a $340,000 state-wide grant funded by the New York State Office of Mental Health (NYS OMH) that is being awarded to four counties greatly impacted by suicide: Westchester, Suffolk, Erie and Onondaga counties.

The purpose of the grant, “Learning from Loss: Suicide Fatality Reviews for Effective Prevention Activities,” is to conduct detailed reviews of suicide deaths to identify systemic patterns, and to ensure accurate data collection by local medical examiner offices. DCMH will officially launch its Westchester Suicide Fatality Review Team on Tuesday, November 19 with a presentation from Dr. Kimberly Repp from Washington County, Oregon and other representatives from New York State.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said: “In order to further our efforts to reduce the number of suicide deaths in Westchester, we need to be able to look at these tragedies with a more critical eye. Experts have long believed that suicide deaths can be prevented, and with a focused Suicide Fatality Review Team in place, we can aim to lower the chances of suicide in Westchester.”

Commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health Michael Orth said: “We are appreciative of the New York State Office of Mental Health (NYS OMH) for awarding us this opportunity to prevent suicide deaths in our County.  We have assembled talented partners to create our new formed Suicide Fatality Review Team under the leadership of our Medical Examiner, Department of Health and Department of Community Mental Health along with other critical stakeholders.”

The model being implemented in Westchester County is based on a program that was successfully rolled out in Washington County, Oregon, where a multidisciplinary team with representatives from the medical examiner’s office, healthcare providers, law enforcement, crisis workers, clergy and other community partners shared data during their reviews of suicide deaths. Washington County, Oregon has seen the number of suicide deaths drop over each of the last three years the program has been implemented.      

For additional information on Westchester County’s Suicide Fatality Review Committee please contact Michael Orth, Commissioner Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health at (914) 995-5225 or email