[Skip to Content]

Psychiatry High Risk Program

Welcome to Upstate Medical University’s Psychiatry High Risk Program!  The Psychiatry High Risk Program provides up to 12 months of intensive and comprehensive evidence-based treatment for youths and young adults (ages 16 to 40) who struggle with suicidal thoughts or behaviors.  Conditions that commonly occur in high risk individuals and addressed through this program include depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, eating disorders, and addictions.  The program encompasses treatment based upon the most up-to-date understanding of the causes of these problems, including both neurobiological and psychosocial contributions.

What to expect

 A careful and comprehensive assessment, including testing and diagnostic evaluation, is provided to tailor the treatment plan to individual needs. Core treatment principles within individual therapy sessions are based upon dynamic deconstructive psychotherapy, which has been shown in research studies to reduce depression and suicide-related behaviors in vulnerable individuals, and aims to rewire the brain to process emotions in healthier and more adaptive ways (www.upstate.edu.ddp).  Depending on assessed need, other treatments may be added, including family therapy sessions, twelve step, 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 video-recording sessions and monitoring of progress through quarterly outcome assessments.


Psychiatric medications are sometimes helpful as an adjunct to therapy to reduce 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

Abigail Riggall, LCSW-R.  Therapist and Assistant Director

Ann Arezzo, FPMHNP.  Nurse Practitioner

Glenn Forsythe, LCSW.  Therapist 

Michelle Gallagher, PhD.  Therapist

Cynthia Malek, CASAC, LCSWR.  Therapist

Robert Gregory, MD.  Director 

Contact Us

For further information, or for an intake, please call:

(315) 464- 3117

Psychiatry High Risk Program
Suite 217, 600 East Genesee St.
Syracuse, NY 13202
Phone: (315) 464-3117
Fax: (315) 464-3141
For questions about billing or payment, call (315) 464-3117 or (315) 464-3265


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 think I had one.  TO

I am better at recognizing my emotions and processing them. I am able to sit better with the uncertain.  AB

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 

National Media: 

Innovative Suicide Prevention Program Using Psychotherapy Shows Early Success, in Psychiatric News, the news outlet of the American Psychiatric Association (2020)  https://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/doi/10.1176/appi.pn.2020.6b16


Local Media:

Upstate’s Psychiatry High Risk Program adds insurers and staff to meet demand, in Upstate Online (2018): http://upstateonline.info/static/October18-October252018/blog/story-1/index.html

Suicide prevention program sees positive results, expands as demand grows, in WRVO (2018): http://www.wrvo.org/post/suicide-prevention-program-sees-positive-results-expands-demand-grows 

Upstate Medical's High Risk Program grows as demand soars, in Spectrum News (2018): http://spectrumlocalnews.com/nys/central-ny/news/2018/10/16/upstate-medical-university-program-expanding

Rising suicide rates– what to do if someone you care for is struggling, in Upstate on Air (2018): http://blogs.upstate.edu/healthlinkonair/2018/06/15/rising-suicide-rates-and-what-to-do-if-someone-you-care-for-is-struggling/

New Upstate psychiatric program targets suicidal teens, young adults, in The Post Standard (2017): http://www.syracuse.com/health/index.ssf/2017/03/new_upstate_psychiatric_program_targets_suicidal_teens_young_adults.html

Upstate creates “first of its kind” program in region for high-risk suicidal youth, in NewsChannel 9 (2017): http://www.localsyr.com/news/local-news/upstate-creates-first-of-its-kind-program-in-region-for-high-risk-sucidal-youth/667546346

New psychiatric program launched to help at-risk youth, in WRVO (2017): http://wrvo.org/post/new-psychiatric-program-launched-help-risk-youth