Psychiatry High Risk Program
The Psychiatry High Risk Program is an innovative, recovery-based, and nationally recognized suicide prevention program for youth and young adults (ages 14 to 40) who struggle with thoughts of suicide. The PHRP has been designated as "a best practice" in suicide prevention by the national Suicide Prevention Resource Center and it has won the prestigious the American Psychiatric Association’s 2023 Psychiatric Services Silver Award for innovative and effective care.
Individuals in the program typically suffer from one or more of the following chronic mental disorders:
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Eating Disorders
- Attention Deficit Disorder
Suicide prevention in the U.S. is typically uses a chronic illness model of care that focuses on managing the symptoms of mental disorders through medications, counseling, and occasional hospitalizations. Instead of chronic illness management, The PHRP introduces a new and unique treatment model that attempts to break the cycle of chronic illness by addressing the underlying causes of suicide, such as impaired emotion processing, disconnection, and a negative self-image. As these underlying causes are addressed, many individuals find transformative healing, renewed hope, and resilience to stress, and are no longer impaired by mental disorders.
What to expect
A careful and comprehensive assessment over the first 3 to 4 session is provided to tailor the treatment plan to individual needs. Clients are provided weekly individual therapy with dynamic deconstructive psychotherapy (DDP), an evidence-based treatment (see www.sprc.org). DDP helps clients to heal from a negative self-image and maladaptive processing of emotionally charged experiences, while working towards self-acceptance and more fulfilling relationships (see Upstate DDP). Depending on assessed need, other treatments may be added, including family therapy sessions, group psychotherapy, and/or medication management. In order to ensure that the highest quality and effective care are provided, the program includes an extensive quality assurance program, such as monitoring of progress through quarterly outcome assessments and regular peer consultation.
The providers are in-network for most plans of Aetna, CDPHP, MVP, Excellus, Federal BCBS, Nationwide Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Fidelis and Molina Medicaid, and UMR.
See link below for a brief podcast overview of the program:
See documents below for the PHRP Intake Packet and Brochure:
Psychiatric medications are sometimes helpful to manage symptoms that contribute to suicide risk. Patients have the option of receiving medication consultation and treatment either through the program or through an outside provider. Note that controlled substances are not prescribed through the program since these can sometimes cause mood instability and worsen suicide-related behaviors.
Your Care Team
- Ann Arezzo, FPMHNP, Nurse practitioner
- Skye Celi, BSW, Case Manager
- Danielle Davis, LCSW-R. Therapist
- Glenn Forsythe, LCSW-R. Therapist
- Nichole Galla. Intake Coordinator
- Jessica Helfrich. Testing Coordinator
- Rachael Kuch-Cecconi, MD. Child Psychiatrist
- Alexandra McCarthry, LCSW. Therapist
- Cynthia Malek, LCSW-R, CASAC. Therapist and Director of Admissions
- Abigail Riggall, LCSW-R. Therapist and Assistant Program Director
- Sutanaya Pal, MD. Psychiatrist
- Rebecca Shields, DO. Child Psychiatrist and Director of the Adolescent Program
- Robert Gregory, MD. Program Director
What you have been able to do for me in one year, I couldn't imagine. I didn't see myself living past 30 years old; I was going to kill myself before then and now I see a future with hope. This treatment has changed my life. —MW
The biggest change I have noticed is how much happier I’ve become. I’m finding myself to be more optimistic, when I’ve always felt pessimistic. I’m also starting to think about my future more and more, when before I didn't’t think I had one. —TO
I was very upset with myself and on the verge of suicide. Then, I met my therapist here and it completely changed my life. This program has helped me feel less suicidal and to care more about myself. —AG
When I'm facing intense emotions or stressful situations, it's now easier to identify what I'm experiencing and to not spiral out of control when it happens. As a result of this, I've had less suicidal ideation. —EW
I've been able to connect with my emotions for the first time in my life; I have an understanding of my illness, and i have a desire to live now. I see my own value as a person and what I have to offer. I no longer feel like a mistake or a burden. —AP
This program has changed my life and relationships more than I ever could have imagined. I have more awareness, a calmer temperament, a new perspective, and I am more reflective. —SN
2023 Psychiatric Service Awardees Honored for Innovative Service Programs, in Psychiatric News, the news outlet of the American Psychiatric Association (2023)
- Thomas JG, Sperry SD, Shields RJ, Gregory RJ: A novel recovery-based suicide prevention program in upstate New York. Psychiatric Services 73:701-704, 2022.
- Innovative Suicide Prevention Program Using Psychotherapy Shows Early Success, in Psychiatric News, the news outlet of the American Psychiatric Association (2020)
- "Innovative mental health program at Upstate receives national award," in Upstate News (2023)
- "$1.1 million federal grant will help SUNY Upstate create region's first Suicide Prevention Center," in Localsyr.com from News Channel 9 (2023).
- "Upstate suicide prevention program saving lives in CNY," in CNYCentral from NewsChannel3 (2022)
- "I Got My Life Back": Syracuse's Innovative Way of Battling Suicide Makes a Difference, in The Post Standard (2021)
- Suicide Prevention Program Sees Positive Results, Expands as Demand Grows in WRVO (2018)
- Upstate Creates “First of Its Kind” Program In Region For High-Risk Suicidal Youth, in NewsChannel 9 (2017)
How to Donate
The Psychiatry High Risk Program is a program within the Psychiatry Faculty Practice, Inc., a charitable, not-for-profit corporation. Voluntary donations to the Suicide and Self-Harm Prevention Fund, the Corinne M. Craig Memorial Endowment, or the Zach Helfrich Memorial Endowment are gratefully accepted and help support suicide prevention efforts. To donate to these funds, go to Psychiatry Upstate Foundation