The Opportunities and Challenges of Suicide Prevention
- Morton M. Silverman, M.D., is the Senior Science Advisor to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC). Dr. Silverman served as the first Chief of the Center for Prevention Research at the NIMH (1983-1985) and as the first Associate Administrator for Prevention at ADAMHA (1985-1987).
Dr. Silverman will review the most up-to-date epidemiological data regarding
suicides and suicide attempts, as well as current thinking about risk factors,
protective factors, and warning signs. He will present different models for
understanding the suicidal process and demonstrate their applicability for
developing and implementing suicide prevention programs, with an emphasis on
public health approaches. He will present an overview of the state-of-the-art in
evidence-based practices for preventing suicide, and suggest a roadmap for
developing community-based suicide prevention programs.
- Become familiar with the challenges to
mounting suicide prevention programs
- Identify opportunities to implement
community-based suicide prevention programs
QPR – Question, Persuade, Refer: Suicide
- Christine Hughs, LCSW
“A Gatekeeper is anyone in a position to recognize a crisis
and warning signs that someone may be contemplating suicide.
This could be you.” (QPR Institute, 1995) Like CPR, QPR
provides the basic tools that may save the life of someone
who is thinking about suicide. Everyone can learn the skills
of Question-Persuade-Refer, the steps that encourage action
and offer hope.
- Identify suicide myths and facts
- Identify verbal, behavioral, and
- Know the three steps of QPR
How Chronic Pain can Lead to Hopelessness
- Lisa Howell, Ph. D.
This talk will provide fundamental knowledge about
chronic pain and it can generate and lead to hopelessness.
- Increase understanding of chronic pain
- Ways to explore hopelessness with
chronic pain patients
- Ways to provide hope and increase
resilience in chronic pain patients
Returning Combat Soldiers
- Norb Laufenberg MSSW, ACSW, LICSW, LCSW
This session will review a basic structure to address
issues facing our combat veterans when they return home. By
reviewing a veteran’s military experience, in basic
training, and training for combat, we will identify a change
in the individual’s identity. Once a soldier is in combat
he/she does as they are taught to do, and told to do,
without question, without emotion, and to the best of their
ability. Military personnel are taught to be proud of their
service, and their sacrifice for their country. When combat
soldiers return home they assume it is all going to return
to the way it was before going to war, however that is not
likely to happen. For returning soldiers, this approach will
encourage them to think about their new identity and two
basic changes; one is their body chemistry has changed, and
a second area of change we will call job confusion. During
this session we will explore these adjustment issues to
better understand what a soldier may go through when they
return home from combat.
Facts & Fiction on Self-Injury
- Jennifer Muehlenkamp, Ph. D.
This session is an introduction to what is currently
known about non-suicidal self-injury and its relationship to
suicidal behavior in adolescents and young adults. The
session will focus on reviewing common misconceptions about
self-injury and discussing the truths. Cutting edge research
pertaining to risk and protective factors for self-injury
will be highlighted along with a discussion of why people
engage in this behavior and what might be done to help stop
it or prevent it. How to respond to someone who is engaging
in self-injury, monitor for suicide risk, and intervene will
also be mentioned. This session will be most appropriate for
individuals who have little to beginning level knowledge of
- Identify common myths of self-injury,
correcting the myth with factual,
empirically based knowledge
- Describe risk and protective factors for
self-injury as well as signs for suicide
- Describe recommended interventions
Men & Suicide: How Avoiding Vulnerability Makes
- Ryan McKelly, Ph.D., LP, HSP
Someone recently stated, “We tell boys not to cry and
then wonder why some men die by suicide.” While suicide is a
complex issue for men, one key component is the way we
socialize boys and men to avoid emotional vulnerability. The
main focus of this presentation is to explore the paradox
between strength and vulnerability, and learn ways to help
men see the benefits of emotional connection with self and
- Describe the several cultural and
developmental challenges men face in being
more emotionally vulnerable with others.
- Identify several potential interventions
that can be used in their respective
settings to help men learn the benefits of
Youth Suicide Prevention: What Works and What
- Dr. Morton Silverman, M.D.
Dr. Silverman will lead a discussion on the
epidemiology of youth suicide, with special reference to
risk and protective factors in adolescents and young adults.
He will review the risks and benefits of school-based
programs and suicide prevention programs being implemented
at colleges and universities. He will present approaches to
evaluating the efficacy of prevention programs, with special
emphasis on gatekeeper training programs.
- Understand the size and scope of the
problem of youth suicide in the U.S.
- Describe effective programs to address
suicide risk in adolescents and young
How Substance Use and Suicide get Inter-twined
- Ronda Lettner, RN, LMFT, CSAC
Suicide risk and substance use/dependence have a high
rate of co-morbidity. This session will address the clinical
picture of inter-relatedness with these disorders. We will
look at neurological function as a contributing factor to
the comorbidity. This discussion will then lead to
describing steps to take toward treatment and reducing risk
- Participants will identify the “chicken
and egg” nature of substance use and
- Participants will describe the brain
dysfunction contributing to substance
- Participants will identify resources and
behavioral steps to take toward treatment
and reduction of relapse risk.
Bullying and Suicide: Real or Media Hype?
- Jeff Reiland, MS, CPT-S, CSAC
The last decade has witnessed a surge in media stories
about bullying and suicide with children and teenagers. Is
this real or is this media hype? This presentation will
explore what is known about the research related to bullying
and suicide, identify recognizable risk factors for suicide
with vulnerable populations of children and teens and
explore solutions for reducing these risk factors.
- Review the current literature related to
bullying and suicide. What is known and not
- Identify the recognizable risk factors
for suicide with vulnerable populations of
children and teens.
- Explore the solutions that can be
developed for reducing these risk factors.
After a Suicide, Honoring Loss and Healing
- Sally Spenser Thomas, Psy. D.
In the aftermath of suicide, individuals, families and
communities can often feel completely isolated and
overwhelmed. This presentation offers examples of support
services and rituals to help those bereaved. Presenter Sally
Spencer-Thomas brings lessons learned from surviving her
brother’s suicide, from her experiences supporting recently
bereaved families, and from her role as the Survivor
Division Chair of the American Association of Suicidology.
- Identify the unique challenges facing
people bereaved by suicide
- Learn about support services and
resources for survivors of suicide loss
Impact of Suicide on Family Members: A Panel
- Panelists: Laura Lee Stigen and her sister Hannah
Stigen, Deb Mahr and her son, Sam Mahr. Facilitator:
Panelists describe either first-hand or from a family
member’s perspective what it’s like for a college age person
struggling with mental health issues or suicidal tendencies.
Historical Trauma and Suicide
- Elizabeth Digby-Britten, ME PD
This session will introduce the different types of
historical trauma and how it can lead to many forms of
escapism and ultimately suicide. We will talk about how this
impacts Native Americans but it can also be seen in other
diverse groups as well. We will go over some basic steps on
how to acknowledge historical trauma and thoughts on how we
can move forward together.
Treating Suicide: The Collaborative Assessment
and Management of Suicide (CAMS)
- Jennifer Muehlenkamp, Ph. D.
Many professionals know how to assess for suicide, but may
lack knowledge on how to treat a person who is acutely
suicidal. The CAMS therapy is used world wide and utilizes a
flexible, collaborative approach that can be applied
regardless of one's therapeutic style. Drawing upon
recommended standards of care for suicidal persons and the
use of a systematic, regular assessment tool, CAMS invites
the patient to join the therapist in examining the factors
contributing to the suicidal state in a proactive and
empowering fashion. The result is often a significant
reduction in suicidality in a short-term therapy model that
also leaves a patient with strong coping/life skills at the
end of therapy. This session will provide an introduction to
CAMS, an empirically supported therapeutic approach
developed by a leading suicide expert, Dr. David Jobes.
Research detailing the effectiveness of the CAMS therapy
with suicidal patients will also be briefly reviewed. This
session is ideal for professionals who regularly intervene
with or directly treat suicidal persons.
- Identify the core assumptions/philosophy
- Understand the basic therapeutic
approach of CAMS to treating suicide
- Describe the effectiveness of CAMS for
treating suicidal persons
Up on the High Wire: Mental Resiliency and Suicide Prevention
- Sally Spencer-Thomas, Psy.D., as a clinical
psychologist, mental health advocate, faculty member and
survivor of her brother’s suicide, Dr. Sally
Spencer-Thomas sees the issues of suicide prevention
from many perspectives.
Are we doing enough to invest in the mental health and
“mental resiliency”? With increasing demands to do more
with less and perform with polish, today’s workforce
relies on human resource professionals to consider
mental health concerns when designing a comprehensive
wellness plan. This workshop looks at the issue of
mental wellness and participants the tools to help
themselves and others sustain a passion for living over
the long haul. As a psychologist, mental health
advocate, and survivors of her brother’s suicide, Dr.
Sally Spencer-Thomas brings a unique perspective to the
topic. From storytelling to discussing the effects of
stress on the brain, Sally will help participants know
how to stay mentally fit, avoid burnout and remain
focused on wellness.
- Make a case for a comprehensive "upstream" mental health
- Define mental resiliency
- Articulate the four approaches to resiliency – be bold, belong, be well, and believe