Breakout 1 (9:35 a.m. - 10:50 a.m.)

1a. Creating a Suicide Prevention Coalition: A Collective Impact Approach

This presentation will share strategies to promote community-wide suicide prevention efforts utilizing a collective impact approach. Through the Community Health Improvement Plan and Process (CHIPP) process, Waukesha County Department of Health and Human Services and community partners that include business, healthcare, education, citizens, law enforcement, and people with lived experience have successfully implemented several suicide prevention strategies. The presentation will outline strategies for identifying community needs, strategies for engaging and supporting community partnerships, strategies for promoting suicide prevention across the lifespan through community initiatives, importance of recognizing successes, and share information about measurable objectives of the Waukesha County Mental Health-Community Health Action Team.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Understand strategies for identifying community level needs.
  • Objective 2: Understand strategies for engaging community partners in suicide prevention initiatives.
  • Objective 3: Understand how to promote suicide prevention across the lifespan.

Mary Madden, NAMI Waukesha Executive Director. A proven leader with 33 years of experience providing community-based services for the mentally ill, Mary joined the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Waukesha County in 2008 as executive director and the agency’s first full-time staff member. Described as a leader who “knows the way, shows the way and goes the way,” she is known as a champion of those with mental illness, using her energy, skills and passion to promote understanding and provide services for those whose illness often causes them to be stigmatized in the community. Mary created partnerships and connections that help those with mental illness on their journey to productive lives. Under her leadership, NAMI, once a small and little-known agency, now has a staff of 18 and a community profile that attracts support from business and community leaders. New and expanded NAMI programs help family members, law enforcement, business leaders, first responders and others understand the challenges faced by those with mental illness. She has strengthened NAMI’s impact through crisis training, youth outreach and education, homeless outreach and services, and suicide awareness and prevention. Mary was named by the Milwaukee Business Journal as a 2016 Woman of Influence. In 2015, her agency was honored as the Small Nonprofit of the Year at the annual Waukesha County Executive Awards. Mary is a graduate of Alverno College where she earned a degree in psychology.

Danielle Birdeau, LPC, Waukesha County Department of Health and Human Services Crisis Intervention Services Coordinator. In her current position as Coordinator of Crisis Intervention Services for the Waukesha County Department of Health and Human Services, Danielle shares 23 years of experience providing and supporting community based mental health services including crisis intervention, Community Support Program, Comprehensive Community Services, Targeted Case Management, outpatient mental health clinic services, and residential mental health. Danielle currently provides leadership for the Waukesha County 24/7 mobile crisis intervention team, Chapter 51 court services team, Zero Suicide implementation team, and quality assurance initiatives. Prior to joining Waukesha County DHHS Danielle worked in various leadership and service delivery capacities for a non-profit mental health service provider. Danielle enjoys sharing information, encouraging learning, improving quality of service programs, and promoting strengths-based services.


1b. Finding Your Fairytale: Rethinking Happily Ever After

As children we believed in magic and fairy tales, but as we start to experience the challenges of life, our hope for our own happily ever after tends to fade away. Finding Your Fairytale is an independent documentary that aims to rekindle that childhood optimism and restore hope for happily ever after. The documentary features local survivors who have overcome significant adversity and are sharing their stories through candid interviews to spread hope and break stigma. The film follows as each person transforms into a classic fairytale character for an emotional photoshoot that symbolically depicts the struggle they have experienced and their success in overcoming it.

Director Angie Kupper will share clips from the documentary, putting a new spin on the classic stories to help you reconnect with your favorite fairytales in a more personal and relatable way. Watch as Cinderella overcomes OCD, Alice finds her way out of the rabbit hole of addiction, and Little Red Riding Hood escapes domestic abuse from the Big Bad Wolf. Angie will also share insights learned throughout the filming process on the impact of sharing our darkest chapters, wearing a crown, and seeing yourself as the hero in your story.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Understand how sharing personal stories of struggle and recovery helps to reduce stigma and increase hope.
  • Objective 2: Understand the many paths to recovery from mental illness, addiction, trauma, suicide loss, and other issues.
  • Objective 3: Rethink narratives of struggle in the context of fairytales to overcome hardships.

Angie Kupper, Masters in Community Psychology, Licensed Professional Counselor. After losing her mother to suicide when she was a teen, Angie Kupper decided to turn her pain into passion and pursued a career in mental health. She received her bachelor's degree from Marquette University in Psychology in 2010 and her master's degree in Community Psychology from Alverno College in 2016. Angie is a licensed professional counselor at Rogers Behavioral Health where she has worked for nearly 10 years. Angie specializes in Exposure and Response Prevention and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as a therapist and behavior specialist in the Child/Adolescent OCD and Anxiety Partial Hospitalization Program. Wanting to spread the message of hope and resilience to a larger audience, Angie became the director of Finding Your Fairytale, an independent documentary featuring the stories of local survivors who have overcome significant adversity, including mental illness, chronic disease, addiction, and traumatic life circumstances and proving that it’s never too late for happily ever after.


1c. You’re Not Alone: Documentary Screening & Panel Discussion

“You’re Not Alone,” a groundbreaking collaboration between the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Milwaukee PBS, is a documentary following four young people navigating mental health challenges. The film built on several years of reporting on youth mental health with the “Kids in Crisis” series. The film encourages young people to seek help for mental health challenges, while calling for greater support from adults and health systems.

The final product went beyond the 27-minute documentary with an accompanying suicide prevention toolkit at jsonline.com/yourenotalone. It includes extra video clips, information about specific mental illnesses and how to find help, suggested group discussion questions and a resource directory.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Understand the mental health challenges experienced by four young people in Wisconsin.
  • Objective 2: Learn about what has been helpful and unhelpful for youth experiencing mental health challenges.
  • Objective 3: Learn about resources to employ while working with youth in a variety of settings.

Alex Hart-Upendo, filmed at age 12, withstood severe bullying and wrote a goodbye note before getting help and starting his own business.

TJ Esser, filmed at age 16, told viewers about his experience coming out as transgender and discussed the importance of support from family, friends, school staff and others for the mental wellness of students who are transitioning.

Barrett Poetker, filmed at age 19, was bullied and had thought about suicide; she now leads workshops about mental wellness.

Reyna Saldana, filmed at age 20, was abused and moved around in the foster system. She has found healing by learning about the effects of trauma and speaking about it around the state.

Rory Linnane, Reporter at USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin. Rory Linnane is a reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Ideas Lab, which focuses on solutions-oriented journalism. She has been covering youth mental health and planning events for several years with the "Kids in Crisis" series, which led to expansion of school-based mental health services. Last spring, she co-produced a related documentary with Milwaukee PBS. The film, “You’re Not Alone,” follows four young people navigating mental health challenges.

Maryann Lazarski is an award-winning journalist, documentarian, and television producer. She is a recipient of the prestigious Silver Circle Award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for devoting 25-plus years to the industry and making significant contributions to Milwaukee television. Maryann is currently in her sixth year as a series and documentary producer for Milwaukee PBS. Maryann serves as the Editorial Producer for Milwaukee PBS, guiding storytelling approaches within the station’s local productions. She is also the executive producer of the Emmy-award-winning 10thirtysix, a news-magazine program on Milwaukee PBS.


1d. Bringing HOPE to Youth in Schools through Hope Squad

Two Wisconsin school districts share their stories about creating change in their high schools to build a culture of care, increase belonging, reduce stigma, address mental health challenges, and reduce youth suicide through the implementation of Hope Squad, a peer-to-peer based suicide prevention program.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Understand the evidence-based practices upon which the Hope Squad program is built.
  • Objective 2: Understand the role of Hope Squad in the reduction of suicidal thoughts, attempts, and deaths of students engaged in the curriculum.
  • Objective 3: Gain contacts and resources for future implementation of Hope Squad in schools.

Tanya Fredrich, PhD, Director of Special Education and Student Services at the Elmbrook School District in Wisconsin. Dr. Fredrich is a graduate of UW Madison School of Education and holds a Master’s degree in Special Education and Administrative Leadership and a Ph.D. in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service. Dr. Fredrich has worked as a special educator with expertise in Emotional/Behavioral Disorders and Educational Autism as well as a building principal prior to her current director role. She is the creator of iSummitWisco, an annual conference of over 600 educators, that features national experts in inclusive practices to create systems change in communities across the nation. She is an adjunct professor at Carroll University, Cardinal Stritch University and University of Wisconsin Eau Claire to promote the next generation of leaders in education. Dr. Fredrich lives in Oconomowoc, WI with her husband Tom and two children, Zachary (16) and William (13).

Aimee Schniedewent, School Psychologist at Brookfield East

Jennie Katrichis, School Psychologist at Brookfield Central. Jennie Katrichis is a graduate of the UW-Whitewater School Psychology Program, and holds a Master’s of Science in Education. This is her 25th year working as a school psychologist. She worked her first 17 years in Milwaukee Public Schools, and then transitioned to the Elmbrook School District. She currently works full-time at Brookfield Central High School, and is an advisor for both Brookfield Central’s Hope Squad and REDgen student groups. She is also a Hope Squad Master Trainer for Wisconsin. Jennie lives in Brookfield, WI, and has two children, Michael (20) and Matthew (17).

Erin Bongers, Public Health Nurse with City of De Pere Health Department. As a Public Health Nurse, Erin is responsible for daily Communicable Disease Surveillance and Investigation, Immunization Program, Child Injury Prevention, and Adult Injury prevention. She serves on the Safe Kids Coalition, Brown County Alcohol and Drug Coalition for Change, Northeast Region STI Workgroup Chair, Brown County Immunization Partners in Prevention, and is the Chair for the Brown County Coalition for Suicide Prevention. Erin also works on the Maternal and Child Health grant objective focusing on adolescent suicide prevention. In 2018, Erin introduced her local school district to Hope Squad. The district wrote for a grant and Erin became a Hope Squad Advisor along with three partners making their school the second in the state to implement the program. Within one year of implementing Hope Squad at Foxview Intermediate School, they have been able to grow this program into both school districts in De Pere including two parochial schools. Erin was a part of planning a Hope Squad Advisor Training with Dr. Gregory Hudnall in September at St. Norbert College where 50 additional school staff around the state were trained as Hope Squad Advisors.

Kari Stryhn, Director of Pupil Services for the School District of Mishicot. Kari previously worked as a Program Support Teacher for the Unified School District of De Pere where she worked with students with a wide variety of needs. While working in De Pere, Kari co-authored two Department of Public Instruction Mental Health Grants which were awarded to the district for just under $75,000 each. These grants allowed them to invest in a variety of interventions and professional development opportunities related to Mental Health and Wellness. As part of these grants, Kari attended the Hope Squad training, along with three other amazing colleagues, in Provo, UT. She was also fortunate in being able to be one of four advisors for the first Hope Squad in De Pere. In her current role, Kari brings her knowledge and passion about keeping children safe and is currently collaborating with the Two Rivers School District to bring Hope Squad to their districts.


1e. Means Matter: A Community Approach to Suicide Prevention and Lethal Means Restriction

Access to firearms in moments of crisis presents a uniquely lethal risk in cases of attempted suicide. Ninety percent of suicide attempts using a gun are fatal, compared to 5% of most common alternative methods. Suicidal acts are often impulsive and temporarily preventing access to the most lethal means can save lives.

This session will include a panel of individuals from public health, law enforcement, educational advocacy, and suicide loss survivors who will share intervention strategies, both in practice and through policy changes, which will protect individuals at risk of suicide with a firearm.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Understand the impact of firearm suicide in Wisconsin and existing programs to address the issue.
  • Objective 2: Learn about temporarily limiting firearm access for people in acute crisis as a part of a comprehensive suicide prevention strategy.
  • Objective 3: Learn about opportunities for intervention and policy change in Wisconsin including Extreme Risk Protection Orders, Gun Shop Project initiatives, gun safety messaging, safe storage, and health care provider best practices.

Heidi Rose, Program Director for WAVE Educational Fund. Heidi has worked to prevent gun violence in Wisconsin for nearly 20 years. At WAVE, Heidi develops and implements grassroots organizing initiatives designed to advance evidence-based solutions to gun violence and leads statewide coalitions that bring together faith, community, health, and law enforcement organizations. Before coming to WAVE, Heidi’s area of focus was in criminal justice and understanding and preventing the cycle of family violence.

Jean Papalia, NVDRS Abstractor, Suicide Prevention Coordinator at Safe Communities MDC, and Retired Law Enforcement. Jean retired from the City of Madison Police after serving 26 years as a patrol officer. She served as a mental health liaison officer and a neighborhood officer. She was awarded the department's Medal of Valor in 2005 for preventing a hostage take-over of a daycare center. In retirement, she works for Safe Communities of Madison - Dane County as their suicide prevention coordinator. She started The Gun Shop Project in Dane County which began a partnership with Chuck Lovelace, a gun shop owner. They started Safe Storage, a collaboration of suicide prevention and gun shop owners and their customers. She also works as an abstractor for the National Violent Death Reporting System, collecting data on homicides, suicides, and undetermined deaths.

Khary Penebaker is a husband, father, and successful businessman who isn’t afraid to stand up for what’s right. When he was 20 months old, Khary’s mother shot and killed herself when she was only 27. Khary’s mother’s gun suicide is what sparked his advocacy with gun violence prevention. Khary Penebaker is Everytown for Gun Safety’s Wisconsin Survivor Fellow and a WAVE (Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort) board member.

Amy Kaleka is a family medicine and obstetrics physician working in Madison, WI with Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin. She’s adjunct faculty with the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Wisconsin. Her interests in Doctors for America was sparked by the Oak Creek Sikh Temple shooting in August 2012 where her uncle was one of 6 victims whose lives were taken. Violence screening has now become a staple in her daily workflow while seeing patients.

Melissa Murphy, MSW, MPH, Research Analyst at the WI Office of Children’s Mental Health. Melissa is the Research Analyst at the WI Office of Children’s Mental Health and holds master’s degrees in both Social Work and Public Health. She has extensive knowledge of federal and state data collection systems and measures over 40 indicators of child health and well being including suicide risk, self-harm and deaths. Her work directly informs the governor’s office and state lawmakers.

Gena Orlando, AFSP Wisconsin Area Director. Gena is a founding member of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) Wisconsin chapter; serving from December 2013 – May 2019 when she accepted a staff role as the Wisconsin Area Director.


1f. From the Ground Up: A Journey to Zero Suicide

The loss of 6 patients to suicide over a 7-month period prompted a desire for Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center (ASMMC) to ‘find a better way’ of delivering suicide care. What began as one hospital’s journey to Zero Suicide, prompted an expansion of best practices in suicide-specific care across one of the nation’s largest healthcare systems. ASMMC’s commitment to Zero Suicide mirrored our system’s endeavor toward high reliability and attracted the attention of leaders across the system, emphasizing that suicide prevention is not just a behavioral health issue, but a population health issue that touches every facet of healthcare, including our own workforce. ASMMC navigated implementation of universal screening in our emergency services, inpatient units, behavioral health and primary care offices. A campaign was launched to educate every team member in our healthcare workforce on the risk factors and symptoms of a suicide crisis. We improved care transitions by providing innovative, evidence-based clinical care for patients at risk for suicide. In this session, you will learn strategies to engage leadership to support workforce and workflow change, identify evidence-based suicide care interventions that can be implemented across the care continuum, and learn strategies to overcome barriers in direct care.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Describe how one hospital garnered leadership support to promote and implement Zero Suicide strategies across a healthcare system to improve patient outcomes and quality.
  • Objective 2: Identify evidence-based strategies for universal screening, care transitions, and suicide specific care that reduces risk within your hospital setting.
  • Objective 3: Examine barriers to execution and formulate tactics for effective implementation of Zero Suicide strategies in direct care settings.

Laura Reinemann, RN, BSN oversees the inpatient behavioral health unit at Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center. She holds a Bachelor of Nursing Degree from University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Ms. Reinemann, has 21 years of experience working in inpatient behavioral health. She is active in the Sheboygan community related to suicide prevention and is a board member for Mental Health America of Sheboygan County and a member of the Healthy Sheboygan County Prevent Suicide Committee. Ms. Reinemann, trained as part of the MHA Wisconsin Zero Suicide Learning Collaborative and has served as a member of ASMMC’s Zero Suicide Implementation team since 2017.

Shelby Kuhn, MSW, LCSW, SAC, CS-IT. Ms. Shelby Kuhn oversees behavioral health outpatient services at ASMMC, including PHP, IOP, and Intake. She holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was accepted into a postgraduate clinical social work fellowship at the Yale Child Study Center, Yale School of Psychiatry. Ms. Kuhn is active in Suicide Care Delivery and trained in interventions specific to the treatment of suicide including DBT, CAMS, CBT-SP, and Assessing and Managing Suicide Risk. Ms. Kuhn trained as part of the MHA Wisconsin Zero Suicide Learning Collaborative and has served as the program manager of ASMMC’s Zero Suicide Implementation team since 2017.

Rebecca Babcock, BSBA, MHA candidate. Ms. Rebecca Babcock is a Strategy and Operations Consultant for AdvocateAuroraHealth in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Ms. Babcock earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee and has more than 19 years of health care experience ranging from c-suite hospital administration support to project management. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in healthcare administration from the University of St. Francis – Joliet, Illinois. Rebecca is project manager for the AdvocateAuroraHealth Zero Suicide Enterprise Expansion Initiative, which has a project scope of bringing ZS to each patient service area throughout the AdvocateAuroraHealth footprint.

Breakout 2 (11:00 - 12:30)

2a. Best Practice for Conceptualizing Suicide Risk and Effective Safety Planning

Many practices for conceptualizing suicide risk among clients are outdated and do not incorporate advances from the field of Suicidology pertaining to contextualizing factors that impact transitions from ideation to action. Using case scenarios and small-group interaction, this session will provide clinicians with an update on current, evidence-based models for conceptualizing suicide risk that also facilitate best-practice safety planning to keep clients out of the hospital. Research evidence regarding effective safety planning and practices will also be reviewed, with a brief highlight of cell phone apps that may enhance in-session prevention work.

  • Objective 1: Describe the new, recommended suicide risk formulation model and apply it to a case example.
  • Objective 2: Describe the research evidence supporting a best-practice model for safety planning.
  • Objective 3: Identify the effective elements of a safety planning approach, including select phone apps, that may reduce hospitalization and prevent suicide deaths.

Jennifer J. Muehlenkamp, PhD, Professor of Psychology and Director of the Suicide Prevention and Research Collaborative (SPARC) at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Jennifer J. Muehlenkamp, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist and Professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She is an internationally renowned expert on non-suicidal self-injury and suicide; having published over 100 research articles and book chapters on the topic of assessment, treatment, and risk and protective factors. She is a co-author of two books (Non-Suicidal Self-Injury in Eating Disorders and Nonsuicidal Self-Injury: Advances in Psychotherapy), and regularly consults with, and trains, behavioral health professionals. Dr. Muehlenkamp’s work has been honored with awards from the American Association of Suicidology and the Self-Injury Awareness Network. She has received over $2 million dollars in local and federal grants to support her work. Dr. Muehlenkamp currently serves as an Associate Editor for the field’s flagship journal, Suicide & Life-Threatening Behavior, and is a consulting editor for Archives of Suicide Research. Dr. Muehlenkamp is also the director of the UWEC Suicide Prevention and Research Collaborative, guiding suicide prevention initiatives on campus. She is a certified Master Trainer for Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) and for AMSR (Assessment and Management of Suicide Risk) evidence-based training programs. Dr. Muehlenkamp is a member of the WI Suicide Prevention steering committee as well as the Prevent Suicide Chippewa Valley coalition, past chair of the Research and Student Divisions of the American Association of Suicidology and is Past-President of the International Society for the Study of Self-Injury.


2b. Creating, Implementing, and Evaluating a Suicide Prevention Training Program at UW-Madison

In 2019, UW-Madison launched a new, homegrown suicide prevention training for all students. This training aims to enhance self-awareness of mental health and suicide; boost capacity to recognize warning signs of suicide in peers, strengthen self-efficacy in responding to peers at-risk for suicide, increase awareness of resources to which students can refer peers in distress. This session will address the process UW-Madison underwent in developing and implementing this training and will share preliminary evaluation findings. The training shares (and the session will highlight) population-level data from UW-Madison that references differences in mental health outcomes and experiences on campus among historically underrepresented and marginalized students.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Describe a process for developing a new, audience-specific training program for suicide prevention.
  • Objective 2: Identify key partners and stakeholders that should be involved in suicide prevention training program development and implementation.
  • Objective 3: List key curriculum elements of an effective suicide prevention training and discuss program evaluation strategy.

Valerie Donovan, MS, Population Health and Prevention Specialist at the University of Wisconsin. Valerie began working at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in January 2013 as a member of the prevention team in University Health Services. She is currently supporting efforts around suicide prevention, mental health promotion, and well-being. Valerie works collaboratively with partners and stakeholders to create and sustain conditions (policies, systems, environments) that promote the health and well-being of UW-Madison students. She supports a strategic, population-level approach to suicide prevention, mental health promotion, and student wellness. She is the chair of UW-Madison’s Suicide Prevention Council and the co-chair of UWell, both groups that offer an infrastructure for partners (including students, faculty, staff, community members, and other stakeholders) to come together, build consensus, share resources, and advance evidence-based health promotion strategies at UW-Madison.

Rachel Dyer, MS, first-year Ph.D. student in counseling psychology at UW-Madison. Rachel has been involved in suicide prevention work since she served on the UW-Madison Mental Health Matters Student Committee as an undergraduate in 2015. Since then, Rachel has sat on the UW-Madison Suicide Prevention Council, representing both undergraduate and graduate students, taught the undergraduate Psychology of Suicide course, and assumed the Suicide Prevention Graduate Assistant position where she provided in-person suicide prevention trainings for various groups and divisions at UW-Madison. Her greatest accomplishment in this work has been spearheading the development of an online, homegrown suicide prevention training program for UW-Madison students. In addition to suicide prevention, Rachel focuses on the experiences and wellbeing of queer and trans people, and sexual and reproductive health and rights.


2c. Responding to and Dealing with Suicide Loss

Part 1: Healing Hearts’ Approach to Building Resiliency in Children and Families in the Face of Loss and Adversity

Healing Hearts of Waukesha County provides peer-to-peer grief support for children, teens and families who are grieving the loss of a loved one due to death, divorce, abandonment, separation, military deployment, incarceration, deportation and other life-altering events. Healing Hearts Curriculum is designed to strengthen resiliency skills in children and families while honoring the loss and the feelings associated with it. This session will address the impact of suicide loss on surviving children and families and best practice model to support these families.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Understand the principles of grief; special features of suicide grief and tasks of mourning.
  • Objective 2: Understand what children and families experience after the death of someone to suicide.
  • Objective 3: Identify grief support model that creates opportunities for children and families to mourn and heal from their losses.

Melissa Minkley, MSW, CT, Executive Director for Healing Hearts of Waukesha County is the Executive Director for Healing Hearts of Waukesha County a nonprofit organization that provides grief support to children and families coping with an array of losses. She is a social worker with over 25 years of experience in health care supporting individuals and families from diagnosis through end of life and bereavement. In addition, she is the co-founder of Healing Life’s Losses, LLC an organization that is committed to offering services of education, training and support to those who are grieving and those who companion them. Her personal experience of loss as a child and adult has given insight into the impact grief has on individuals, families and friends.

Morgan Griffin, Program Director, Healing Hearts of Waukesha County. Morgan serves as the Program Director at Healing Hearts of Waukesha County. She has her BS degree in Psychology with a Certificate in Child and Adolescent Studies. She has received additional training in childhood adversity and trauma.

Part 2: Communities in Crisis: A Coordinated Faith-Based Response

In May 2015, The Salvation Army of Milwaukee County and the Milwaukee Police Department entered into a partnership to provide emotional and spiritual care to community members who experience trauma or violence. Since the implementation of the program, over 60 volunteer chaplains, with appropriate CISM training, from over 19 different denominations and representing a diversity of age, race, language, and background, have responded to critical incidents at the request of responding officers on scene. Homicides, suicide completions, drug overdoses, fatal accidents, fatal fires, infant deaths, line-of-duty deaths -- our chaplains have responded to it all. Each instance, providing a listening ear, emotional and spiritual care, and helping connect families to community resources that can help them move forward towards healing. Join us as we take a look at the development of the program, reflect on the unique police - faith community partnership, and as we discuss the multitude of ways the chaplains are making a difference in the lives of people affected by violence and trauma in the city of Milwaukee.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Participants will learn the history of the Milwaukee Chaplaincy Program-- how and why it was created, and the impact it's had on Milwaukee
  • Objective 2: Participants will reflect on the importance of building partnerships in the community (between the police, faith organizations, and other interested parties) regarding trauma care
  • Objective 3: Participants will learn some tips and guidelines on how they might create a similar program in their own communities

Pastor Alexis Twito, Chaplaincy Program Coordinator. Pastor Alexis Twito is a born-and-raised Milwaukeean. All of her studies, in the USA and abroad, have led her to have a deep desire for serving others, particularly those who are vulnerable or suffering. She has a passion for social justice ministries, especially around areas of poverty, racism, police-community relations, and trauma-informed care. Pastor Twito is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), but currently serves as the Coordinator for The Salvation Army Chaplaincy Program in Milwaukee, overseeing 55 volunteer chaplains who provide emotional and spiritual care for those experiencing trauma and managing calls for service from the Milwaukee Police Department. When Pastor Twito is not busy with all her work commitments, she’s spending time with her niece and nephews, traveling, hanging out with friends, reading, going to movies, competing in pub trivia with her team “Serious Inquiries Only,” and relaxing along the Lake Michigan lakefront.


2d. Holistic Approaches for Addressing Trauma

Part 1: Acting Shakespeare: Emotional Re-education for Trauma Survivors

Feast of Crispian (FoC) is a non-profit organization that uses acting skills and the rich language of Shakespeare to allow people challenged by the symptoms of trauma to explore and express the big emotions that may be overwhelming them or to reconnect with and embody feelings lost in disassociation. Feeling and expressing a full range of emotions in a healthy way is essential to having satisfying relationships and connected relationships are essential in suicide prevention. With special techniques, participants will immediately be acting Shakespeare and connecting with the emotions and the humanity of the scenes. This session will explain the theories of the work and the basic brain science of trauma as well as give participants a felt-sense experience of the work. FoC has been working with military veterans for seven years but this work is applicable to anyone working in the area of healing trauma.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Understand the basic brain science of trauma.
  • Objective 2: Learn about how Shakespeare is special for emotional re-education.
  • Objective 3: Learn about arts-based programming that is essential to suicide prevention.

Nancy Smith-Watson, BA, LMT, Program Director of Feast of Crispian. Nancy is the Program Director of and an actor with Feast of Crispian and a somatic bodywork therapist. After graduating from Circle in the Square Conservatory in 1986, she worked as an actor, trained in massage and somatic bodywork at the Austin School of Massage, and raised three daughters. In 2002 - 2003, Nancy acted with the Montana Repertory Theater, performing in 39 states. In 2012, she co-founded Feast of Crispian with partners, Bill Watson and Jim Tasse.

Part 2: Finding Freedom on Your Yoga Mat

Combining yoga, breath techniques and other holistic therapies to help loosen the emotional and physical tightness in the body caused by mental health disorders, addiction, and trauma. The intention is to find peace, hope and stability during a time when that is missing. To allow participants to surrender in order to let go of pain and reconnect to love and the gift of life. Modalities explored will include meditation, tapping, affirmations, mudras, gentle postures and breath work.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Discuss therapeutic approaches using Yoga philosophies to provide support to those struggling with suicidal thoughts, mental health disorders, addiction, trauma, and chronic pain.
  • Objective 2: Demonstrate and practice yoga postures, breath work, meditation, and other holistic therapies to showcase the benefits to those struggling.
  • Objective 3: Create a plan to integrate holistic skills into daily life that aid in the freedom needed.

Cheryl Killilea, 140 hour YogaFit Certified Trauma Informed Yoga Instructor and Owner at Changing Lanes Fitness & Nutrition LLC. Cheryl Killilea is a local entrepreneur, wife and mother of 2. Her daughter has struggled with clinical depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts for over 10 years and this compelled Cheryl to pursue a 140-hour trauma informed yoga certification in hopes to help others that are struggling like her daughter. She offers a Freedom Flow 8-week series in her private studio focusing on various topics and including holistic therapies to help those with mental health disorders, suicidal thoughts, trauma, chronic pain and addictions. Cheryl is also a NASM certified personal trainer, wellness coaching and nutrition specialist. Cheryl enjoys sharing her passion for yoga and other holistic therapies not only as an instructor but also as a participant that has endured her own trauma, PTSD, and addiction. It is during those moments that she found yoga to help her heal on and off the mat and wishes to give others that same gift. She doesn’t believe this is a replacement for traditional therapies, but an enhancement and it offers participants the opportunity to take control over their current situation.


2e. Addressing the Challenges Facing US Veterans and Military Children

Part 1: How Are Our US Military Children Doing?

Over 2.1 million military children reside in the US and have experienced at least one deployment of a family member. That number is much higher when including members of the US National Guard and Reserves, almost 10,000 strong in the state of WI. Yet very little resources with knowledge of the military family/lifestyle exist for this resilient population. 20 years into the war on terror, current research tells us our US military children are depressed, anxious, and 3 times more at risk for suicide. This weighs heavily on our US service member's mission. Do you know how you can help?

Participants will:

  • Understand the lifestyle of the military family.
  • Learn about the current health of US military children.
  • Gain tools and resources to employ when working with military children in a variety of settings.

Cindy Brosig, MSN, RN, Animal-Assisted Therapy Practitioner, Operation H.E.E.L., LLC Owner/Founder. Cindy Brosig is a USAF Nurse Corps Veteran, military family member, and Veteran-Owned Business member. She received the WDVA Woman Veteran of the Year Award in 2016 for her Animal-Assisted Therapy Program for Military Children and tireless volunteerism in various US Veteran organizations.

Part 2: Veteran Culture

Overview of military culture/combat, its impact on service members and available services for veterans. Presentation will include dynamics of combat experience versus civilian experience, explanation of issues stemming from transition challenges, mental health issues (increasing suicide concerns, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc.), alcohol/drug abuse and domestic violence. Attendees will develop basic understanding of military culture, be aware that combat veterans are increasingly encountering law enforcement/court systems because of difficulties transitioning after deployments and know where to refer them for services/support.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Understand the reintegration process Veterans face.
  • Objective 2: Comprehend differences between home life and life at war for Veterans.
  • Objective 3: Understand various stressors faced by veterans that may relate to suicidal thoughts and attempts

Mark Flower, Veteran Advocate, Veterans Health Coalition, Mental Health America of Wisconsin. Mark Flower, a United States Army Veteran and Staff Sargent in his 17-year career held 3 mos’s 11B Infantry, 19E Armor and 91B Medic, a Vet in recovery, and an advocate for change. Mark is currently a community engagement consultant at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He also works with the Milwaukee VA, is a Co-founder of Dryhootch of America, and is very involved with Milwaukee area Veterans, working as the Veteran Peer Coordinator for Milwaukee County Veterans Court, helping with the new statewide Veterans Peer Run Respite, The R&R House. He also is involved with the Health Services Research and Development Service (HSR&D) (VA), advocating for Veteran engagement as a partner in research. Mark is a member of the Expert Technical Forum Center Information Dissemination and Education Resources (CIDER) (VA), and works with the Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Veteran Suicide Prevention (VA). In the community, he is constantly advocating for the wellbeing of our Veterans and the broader community.


2f. The Role of Spirituality When Discussing Suicide

While many individuals find spiritual beliefs and practices helpful during times of crisis, faith communities can often miss the mark when discussing suicide and thoughts of suicide. This workshop will provide an opportunity to examine and discuss common spiritual narratives and messages about suicide, including harmful spiritual narratives in need of reframing when discussing suicide. Participants will explore ways to sensitively engage with spiritual questions when discussing suicide. Open to all, regardless of religious affiliation.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Be able to identify common spiritual understandings of suicide prevalent in U.S. culture.
  • Objective 2: Gain an understanding of the impact of spiritual understandings of suicide, both helpful and harmful.
  • Objective 3: Explore ways to sensitively engage with spiritual questions when discussing suicide.

Victoria (Vic) Welle, Master of Theological Studies, Certified Peer Specialist. Victoria (Vic) Welle is an activist, psychiatric survivor, and once-aspiring minister who remains passionate about creating trauma-informed, culturally sensitive spiritual support for people experiencing emotional distress. Victoria studied theology at Loyola University Chicago and the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University. Vic serves as co-chair of the Wisconsin Certified Peer Specialist Advisory Committee and previously served as director of Monarch House Peer Run Respite.

Breakout 3 (1:20 p.m. - 2:35 p.m.)

3a. Implementation of Zero Suicide with Children & Adolescents

In 2016 Catalpa Health began the process of looking at how we identify, assess and treat high risk clients. This initiative included all staff at our agency on different levels. Zero Suicide is a framework that looks at suicide as a preventable issue. Zero Suicide initiative has shaped the way that we have interacted with clients and with each other. Training and tools for providers have been a large part of what we have chosen to focus on in order to increase provider confidence in working with high risk clients.

At Catalpa Health we chose to send some staff to be trained by Zero Suicide. Upon their return we developed a steering committee with a variety of team members. Subcommittees were developed in order to really get to work on the various areas that are of emphasis in Zero Suicide. Some specific things we got to work on are trainings, documentation, communication with providers inside and outside of Catalpa Health, caring messages.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Learn about the framework for implementing Zero Suicide policies in their agency.
  • Objective 2: Understand specific therapeutic interventions for high risk clients.
  • Objective 3: Be able to employ strategies for assessing and documenting client risk.

Scott Radtke, MSE, LPC, NCC, Chief Clinical Officer, Catalpa Health. Scott joined Catalpa as Day Treatment Manager in February 2016. He has worked in the counseling field for twenty years and has significant clinical and leadership experience, as well as a passion and commitment to the mission and families served by Catalpa. Scott earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology and his master’s in counseling from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Prior to working at Catalpa, he served as the associate dean of student health and wellness at Lawrence University.

Amy Gunderson, LPC, Clinical Mental Health Therapist, Catalpa Health. Amy is licensed in professional counseling and is a certified social worker. She is also nationally certified in trauma focused cognitive behavior therapy and provides supervision and consultation to therapists regarding trauma. Amy works with children of all ages and their families with a wide variety of diagnoses. Amy often works with children and adolescents that are involved in the child welfare system. Additionally, Amy works with children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders as well as cognitive functioning limitations. Amy received her Master of Science degree in clinical mental health counseling with an emphasis in children and adolescents from the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

Gina Day, LPC, NCC, Mental Health Therapist and Clinic Project Coordinator, Catalpa Health. Gina is a mental health therapist who treats children of all ages with ADHD, anger issues, anxiety disorders, OCD and related disorders, tics, behavior management issues, self-esteem issues, social skills concerns, autism spectrum disorders and depression. Gina holds her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and Spanish from St. Norbert College and her Master of Arts degree in community counseling with child/adolescent specialization from Marquette University.


3b. Child Death Review in Wisconsin: Moving Discussion to Action

The death of a child is a tragic event, and many questions surrounding their death often remain unanswered. Child Death Review (CDR) teams aim to answer these questions in order to understand how a child’s death may have been prevented, with the goal of preventing similar child deaths in the future through policy and program implementation. Numerous prevention activities surrounding suicide are being carried out in Wisconsin as a result of Child Death Review, including the development of the Suicide Death Investigation Form and utilizing Lethal Means Restriction.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Learn the history, purpose, and structure of Child Death Review in Wisconsin
  • Objective 2: Understand how Child Death Review is used to influence changes in policy or practice
  • Objective 3: Identify examples of prevention recommendations and initiatives from a local CDR team related to child deaths due to suicide

Natasha Tynczuk, MPH, Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin, is the data project Manager at Children’s Health Alliance, working within their Injury Prevention and Child Death Review Initiative. She is a recent graduate of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Zilber School of Public Health, where she received her Masters in Public Health with an emphasis in Epidemiology. In her role at the Alliance, she provides technical assistance to child death review teams throughout Wisconsin and assists teams with improving data quality and translating their data into prevention recommendations.

Teresa Paulus has been a Public Health Nurse for 30 years with Winnebago County Health Department. Co-chairs the Winnebago County Child Death Review Team (CDRT). Steering Committee member for the National Center for Fatality Review and Prevention/Action Team for Youth Suicide Prevention. Team member for Wisconsin’s SPRC Community of Practice on State Infrastructure for Suicide Prevention. Leads community efforts based on CDRT recommendations notably in the area of Suicide Prevention: Lethal Means Restriction, Memorialization after a Suicide, Data collection through the Suicide Death Investigation Form. Teresa knows the all-consuming grief of losing a child and values the work of the Child Death Review Team in saving the lives of our children.


3c. Mindful Self-Compassion

When we sign on to the work of preventing suicide, we become a resource to individuals coping with tremendous anguish and pain.

  • How can we face such suffering while remaining compassionate and effective in our work?
  • Cope with the inevitable mistakes we all make as humans?
  • And can we be as kind and caring toward ourselves as we are to a dear friend?

Discover how mindful self-compassion can become an essential inner resource in our daily lives for remaining balanced and resilient. When we nurture our self-compassion and include ourselves in our circle of care, we are able to change how we talk to ourselves, and how we relate to the inevitable struggles and pain in life - We reframe our narrative! Join me and we’ll cover the basics of Mindful Self-Compassion, and together explore several Mindful Self-Compassion practices to take with you into your workday and your life.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Describe the theory and research supporting mindful self-compassion, particularly as it supports emotional well-being.
  • Objective 2: Understand how self-compassion practices support emotional regulation during tough circumstances.
  • Objective 3: Discover how practicing self-compassion nurtures and sustains our compassion for others when working in our suicide prevention roles.

Barbara Moser, MD, Trained Teacher in Mindful Self-Compassion. Barbara Moser is a board-certified family practice physician and Trained Teacher in Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) through the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion https://centerformsc.org/. She spent the majority of her medical career providing integrated medical and behavioral health care for college students, and over the past 12 years has been a strong advocate for emotional wellness and suicide prevention in the Greater Milwaukee region. Barbara has lived with her own depression and episodic suicidal behavior and has found MSC practices to be a key resource in increasing capacity for emotional regulation, balance and resilience, and particularly helpful for persons who live with ongoing mental health issues. Barbara received her MD from Northwestern University in Chicago in 1984, and she completed her family practice residency at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester MA in 1987.


3d. Developing an Upstream Approach through Collaboration: Price County’s Story with Sources of Strength

The mission of Sources of Strength is to prevent suicide by increasing help seeking behaviors and promoting connections between peers and caring adults. Price County School Districts have realized that having a common process across school districts regarding how they approach mental health provides stability for students who move between the schools. Sharing consistent, strengths-based messaging in the schools on mental health, smoking cessation, and career planning is of vast importance. Sources of Strength was brought to the Price County School Districts in the fall of 2019. This program uses peer social networks to address suicide, bullying, and substance use and mental health challenges by addressing the root causes of these problems. Students and staff leverage their peer influence and change the conversation to focus on personal strengths on which they can rely when they encounter life crises. Learn about how the schools used a fun and creative competition to engage the School Districts across the county.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Name one way the development of a coalition makes a positive impact on school districts
  • Objective 2: Identify one funding opportunity to bring mental health education into school districts
  • Objective 3: Identify one way schools can collaborate with each other to bring evidence based mental health education to staff, students, and the broader community

Suzanne Daniels, Public Health Nurse, Price County Health and Human Services. Susie Daniels has been registered nurse in the state of Wisconsin for the last 35 years. Susie started out as a floor nurse in the Birthing Center at Marshfield Medical Center (formally, St. Joseph’s Hospital). She then transitioned into the public sector and has worked as a Public Health Nurse for 33 years. Her nursing focus has always been Maternal and Child Health with nursing roles in reproductive health, Health Check, communicable disease investigation, school nursing and case management with high risk pregnant women and children. Passionate about the future of the health of women and children, Susie hopes to be able to make a difference in the communities she works with “Strong families, Strong communities” is the vision of their Coalition Susie currently lives in Park Falls with her husband Bill and golden doodle “Jasper”. She enjoys visiting her two daughters and being a “Nana” to two beautiful granddaughters.

Jacki Franzoi, K12 School Counselor, Prentice School District. Jackie has been the K12 School Counselor for the Prentice School District since the 2016-2017 school year. Prior to being a school counselor, she worked with mostly low-income single mothers in helping them find employment, sometimes through additional schooling and on the job training. While her community is small, she is proud of all the things they are able to offer students and community members. Being from a small northwoods community herself, she knows the challenges they face but is proud of the work that the Price County school districts have been able to collaborate on in order to provide the best services for their students. In her free time, she enjoys being outside, playing sports, and spending time with family and friends.

Kelly Patterson, High School Guidance Counselor, Chequamegon. Kelly loves her small community and all the opportunities they can offer the youth in their area. She started at Chequamegon during the 2012-2013 school year. Each year, she focused on working with all students in the areas of personal/social growth, academic counseling, and career exploration. Kelly particularly loves talking with students about future plans, whether that be the workforce, apprenticeship, college, or military. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, walking with friends, and watching her two girls (Harper & Macy) grow!

Becky Steinbach, Mental Health/AODA Coordinator, School District of Phillips. Having grown up in the community, she is grateful for the opportunity to work with the youth and families within the district, as well as with the wider community through coalition and committee work. Becky recently got married and has three children and two cats at home. She enjoys reading and being in the sun any chance she gets.


3e. Speaking About Suicide: Tips on Narrative Sharing for Personal and Collective Change

Neuroscience confirms that our stories are one of the most powerful vehicles for changing hearts and minds. In this interactive workshop, Leah will share some insights she has gained from nearly 20 years of sharing her narrative for personal healing and collective change, as well as supporting suicide loss and attempt survivors in their process of doing so. Topics will include: the risks and benefits of public speaking; tips for structuring your story; public health recommendations when speaking about suicide; working through nerves and the “vulnerability hangover;” and self/community care for public speakers. Participants will learn strategies and best practices for crafting and sharing their own narratives, but there will be no expectation of disclosure of personal experiences. You are invited to bring a journal or notebook. Paper and writing utensils will be provided. All are welcome to this trauma-informed space.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Describe common risks and benefits when speaking publicly about suicide;
  • Objective 2: Name key public health considerations when speaking about suicide;
  • Objective 3: Understand the elements that comprise a compelling story that leads people to act; and
  • Objective 4: Name strategies for self and community care before and after public speaking.

Leah Harris, M.A. (she/her/hers) is a writer, activist, and suicide attempt survivor who promotes human rights and social justice-based, intersectional approaches to understanding and responding to suicide. Since 2012, she has worked across systems and sectors as a trauma-informed care trainer and curriculum developer with organizations including the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) and the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She is a faculty member with the Zero Suicide Initiative, created to provide safer care in hospital settings. Leah is a 2018 winner of the American Association for Suicidology’s (AAS) Paul G. Quinnett Lived Experience Writing Contest. Her writing is included in the 2019 anthology We've Been Too Patient, edited by L.D. Green and Kelechi Ubozoh. Her story is featured in the award-winning documentary about suicide, The S Word. Leah is a correspondent with the webzine Mad in America, reporting on politics and technology. She lives in the Washington, DC area and is the basketball mom of one amazing teenager. leahidaharris.com


3f. Healing Traumatized Hearts, Living in Community

With over thirty years of experience providing retreats to trauma survivors and veterans, Patricia Clason will share with you the simple, yet powerful format that has helped thousands heal their hearts and choose life. Peer compassion, support, empathy and understanding create the safety for releasing emotions decisions and finding community and a path to trauma recovery.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Understand the importance of developing safety through common ground
  • Objective 2: Understand how trauma affects the brain and interpersonal connection
  • Objective 3: Learn about the power of sharing a story in a non-judgmental, peer group


Patricia Clason, Program Founder, Healing Warrior Hearts, Taking It Lightly, Starfish Foundation. Patricia Clason is co-founder of Bamboo Bridge, Vets Journey Home and Healing Warrior Hearts, emotional healing programs for veterans, helping to heal warrior hearts for over twenty-five years. She is also the creator of Taking It Lightly, an emotional healing program for the general public. A weekend in Colorado in 1983 introduced Patricia to Understanding Yourself and Others, which morphed into Taking It Lightly in 1986 (read her story at http://www.lightly.com/ lightly.html#patricia). Patricia also co-authored and teaches Step Into the Light, Walking in the Light, and Dancing in DeLight, Renewal for Sexual Assault Survivors and Grief Relief, all weekend intensives for emotional intelligence and healing. She is the co-instructor for the Trauma Counseling Certificate Program at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee School of Continuing Education http://uwm.edu/sce/program_area/human-services/trauma-counseling/ She also teaches the Trauma Recovery Facilitation Training with Curtis Mitchell, a four-day program for facilitators on emotional healing and somatic release work. Thirty-five plus years of doing her own personal growth work and studying psychology and life have given her deep compassion, understanding and empathy for the challenges that are brought to the Taking It Lightly and Healing Warrior Hearts retreats.