When registering, please select the sessions you are most interested in attending. This is for planning purposes only and you are not required to attend the sessions for which you register. Breakout sessions may change based on level of interest or presenter needs. If changes are made, we will try to highlight them on the website prior to the conference. Otherwise, the final breakout schedule will be included in the conference program.

 


Breakout 1 (9:30 - 10:45)

1a. Creating Connections to Change Lives: Building Peer Support in Your Community

Utilizing the work and success of Peer Support in building the Face It Foundation, Mark will discuss lessons learned, successes achieved, and will provide strategies for building a successful peer support program.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Be able to describe the associations between peer support programs and the reduction of depressive symptoms, social isolation, and suicidal behaviors.
  • Objective 2: Learn strategies for building successful peer support programs.
  • Objective 3: Be able to identify and describe strategies for building alliances to create peer support programs.

Presenter: Mark Meier, LICSW, LMFT, co-founded the Face It Foundation in 2009 to provide free peer support services to men who deal with depression, anxiety, substance use issues, and in many cases have attempted suicide. Today, Face It serves over 150 men each month with 14 support groups, education, retreats, and other recovery-based activities. Along with his work at Face It, Mark is on staff in the University of Minnesota’s School of Medicine, taught a Mood Disorders seminar for 6 years in the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Minnesota and he has been adviser for multiple research studies on depression/anxiety through the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. In addition to his professional and academic work, Mark is the survivor of his own suicide attempt 16 years ago, which led to a hospitalization and personal recovery effort.

1b. Lived Experience Leading Systems Change

The Collective Impact parent/caregiver and young adult Partners, or CIPs, bring decades of lived experience to their participation and leadership in the Children’s Mental Health Collective Impact meetings. With their insights and guidance, state agencies and other collaborating partners are better able to recognize gaps in services, unhelpful programs, and cumbersome policies and practices. As the backbone agency, the Wisconsin Office of Children’s Mental Health provides tangible supports to CIPs and professional stakeholders to ensure equitable and authentic power-sharing. Join this session to learn from system-change leaders who have personal experience in navigating multiple service silos and Wisconsin Office of Children’s Mental Health staff who support systems change work. Resources will be shared to replicate this model of lived experience leadership.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Identify key steps in supporting the leadership and involvement of people with lived experience.
  • Objective 2: Be able to access tools and resources that could enhance lived experience leadership in systems change.
  • Objective 3: Understand best practices for including leaders with lived experience.
  • Objective 4: Brainstorm solutions to the barriers that impede authentic engagement and sharing power.

Presenters: Andrea Turtenwald, MA, joined OCMH in 2018, having served Wisconsin youth, parents and families for over seven years. Andrea's early professional experiences include youth development and service-learning for Military families, as well as providing Child Welfare case management in Milwaukee. More recently, Andrea facilitated parent leadership development through a school-based parent-empowerment program and managed a Social-Emotional Learning program in four Milwaukee schools. Andrea's leadership style is characterized by building cohesion, demonstrating vulnerability, and empowering partners through emotional and tangible support. Andrea earned her Bachelor's Degree in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and her Master's Degree in Public Service from Marquette University. She is passionate about the work of the OCMH, in part, because of her personal journey with self-harm, depression, and anxiety. Her path in life has shown her that increasing positive relationships in people's lives can make all the difference. Andrea is honored to raise up the voices of those with lived experiences as the Family Relations Coordinator with the Office of Children's Mental Health.

Dr. Tony Piparo became a Collective Impact Parent Partner with the Wisconsin Office of Children's Mental Health in 2018, having worked privately with individuals and families suffering from the ravages of stress, anxiety, depression, and trauma for many years.  He has written several books to help those individuals find relief from their struggles.  His newest book, My Son, My Hero, from Tragedy to Hope and Inspiration will be released later in 2019. Tony had his own personal journey with depression and suicide attempts and is proud to raise up the voices of those with lived experiences in honor of his son, who died by suicide in 2017 after a long battle with depression that was diagnosed when he was only eight years old.

Jennifer Helt has been a Collective Impact Parent Partner since August of 2018.  She and her husband have an adopted child who has been diagnosed with developmental trauma impacting their entire family.  She hopes to help other families deal with mental health challenges by trying to improve mental health systems and funding.

Kimberlee Coronado, Collective Impact Partner, Wisconsin Office of Children’s Mental Health

1c. Time Well Spent Together: Person Centered Planning and Gatekeeper Training for Suicide Prevention in People with Disabilities

People with disabilities are often seen as one-dimensional beings defined only by their disability or worse yet, not seen at all. There is limited but important work to be done in finding out more about suicide among people with disabilities and especially for people with intellectual disabilities. Research indicates the prevalence of anxiety disorders may be as high as 25% among persons with intellectual disabilities. It is estimated that 5% to 15% of persons with IDs are affected by mood disorders. Depression screening tools that are adapted for people with disabilities are not widely developed, used, or understood, but research indicates that suicide risk factors may be quite similar among the disability community and their peer group. During this session we will discuss suicide prevention and risk factors among people with disabilities and talk about person-centered planning which is widely used as a problem-solving process design to help plan a more satisfactory life for people with severe disabilities. In discussing person-centered planning, we hope to show a place where gatekeeper suicide prevention may be effective. This interactive presentation is a chance to brainstorm ways bring suicide prevention to the disability community while also sharing powerful suicide prevention factors associated with person-centered planning.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Be able to identify barriers to suicide screening and suicide prevention that may exist for individuals with disabilities.
  • Objective 2: Examine existing practices, such as a comprehensive approach to suicide and person-centered planning, that could provide support and diminish suicide risk factors among individuals with disabilities.
  • Objective 3: Explore how gatekeeper trainings, such as QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer), could be used effectively within the disability community with adaptation.
  • Objective 5: Gain increased awareness of suicide risk and protective factors.

Presenter: Jean Papalia, BS retired from the City of Madison Police Department after 26 years working in patrol. She served as a mental health liaison officer and has trained over 2,000 in QPR Suicide Prevention. She worked on implementing The Gun Shop Project in Dane County and, along with Chuck Lovelace of Essential Shooting Supplies, has started the Safe Storage program for promoting temporary safe storage of firearms. She has presented at several national conferences with her sister, Anne Papalia, focusing on suicide and people with disabilities. She works part time for Wisconsin Department of Health Services on the National Violent Death Reporting System.

Presenter: Dr. Anne Papalia, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Special Education. She holds a Ph.D. in Special Education from Penn State University, an M.Ed. in Counseling from Alfred University, and an M.Ed. in Special Education and a B.S. in Special Education/ Elementary Education from the State University of New York at Geneseo. Dr. Papalia’s academic interests are in learning disabilities, reading instruction for students with disabilities, Duane’s Syndrome, and Animal Assisted Therapy. Her recent publications and presentations involve school emergency planning for students with disabilities, service dog in schools, and therapy dog use with children with disabilities.

1d. Writing Grants That Get the Funding

Have your fundraising efforts stalled? Have they not gotten off the ground? Do you wish you had the expertise to apply for award-winning grants? This workshop will get you on your way. Starting with effective grant research that makes a match likely to yield success, to nonprofit storytelling that paints a compelling picture of your mission, to the data you need to bring it home, this workshop will give you practical take-aways that you can use immediately to start writing winning grants.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Learn how to research grants that match their group’s mission.
  • Objective 2: Learn how to tell a compelling story and provide data on outcomes.
  • Objective 3: Learn to construct a clear and engaging “ask” that is most likely to receive funding.

Presenter: Donna Firman, BBA, is a well-rounded professional with twenty+ years of progressive experience in business, organizational and client development, donor development, training, and results-oriented leadership. She’s equally well versed with for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. For nearly ten years Donna has worked as a social entrepreneur helping organizations to raise money, drive operational excellence, and solve business problems that hold institutions back and prevent growth. She’s trained and energized boards of directors, planned and executed major fundraising events, and created brand identities for not-for-profits. She’s also successfully written governmental and foundation grants. Donna has a unique combination of micro and macro perspectives, with strong relationship building, collaboration and communication skills. She is proud of her many years of volunteer service that started at the age of thirteen. The expectation set by her father that she would always find a way to contribute to a higher calling, has in-part informed the work she does today. Donna holds a BS in Business Administration from Northern Michigan University

1e. LOSS Teams: A Proactive Postvention Prevention Approach

This presentation is the most interesting glimpse inside the effects of trauma on the brain and a peek at why the newly bereaved behave as they do and how we can best support them. You will discover very practical, evidence-based ways to reduce further loss of life in the population at greatest risk of suicide, those newly bereaved. The presenter will share hands-on exercises, research-based models for support, and resources to equip communities to launch LOSS Teams.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Be able to understand the effects of traumatic loss.
  • Objective 2: Learn about an evidence based postvention prevention model, LOSS Teams.
  • Objective 3: Learn about an evidence-based way to reduce suicide contagion.
  • Objective 4: receive a checklist to launch a successful LOSS team in any community.

Presenter: Lory Seffrood currently serves on the HOPE Sauk Prairie Coalition for Suicide Prevention and facilitates a peer-to-peer traumatic and stigmatized grief support group called HOPE. Lory is a Wisconsin Certified Peer Specialist at Sauk County DHS serving on the Medication Assisted Treatment Rapid Response Stabilization Service Team. Lory co-founded INCourage, Sauk County’s first peer-to-peer sober drop-in center and is an advocate on the Sauk County Recovery Coalition. Her most recent initiative is facilitating LOSS Teams aimed at serving suicide and/or drug overdose loss survivors. Lory’s lived experience offers a rich resource in overcoming tragedy to influence healing in others. She is also a suicide loss survivor; Lory lost her daughter and grandsons to suicide in 2015. Lory has authored two books: Victory Smells Like Chocolate; One anorexic’s guide to great desserts! and Victory Curriculum; advance leader guide in the art of the ah-ha.

1f. Promoting Awareness and Sustaining Prevention through Coalition Events

Learn about a variety of ways to spread awareness, break down stigmas, and have fun doing it. If you are just starting a coalition, from a smaller one, or have an established coalition and are looking for new ideas to increase engagement, come hear about free ways to engage your community in suicide prevention efforts. Take back ideas for fundraising and watch survivor-led Public Service Announcements you can use in your local movie theatres and TV stations. There will be time at the end of the session to ask questions and share ideas you have found successful in your communities.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Learn cost effective ways to spread awareness
  • Objective 2: Develop skills to organize fun and engaging stigma reduction activities in their communities.
  • Objective 3: Learn to effectively fundraise for local suicide prevention efforts.
  • Objective 4: Learn to develop and execute safe and effective suicide prevention messaging (i.e. through Public Service Announcements)

Presenter: Susan Springer Judd, MFT, founded the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Iowa County WI in June 2014 after losing her brother to suicide in January 2012. Susan is a Certified QPR Trainer and has a passion for spreading awareness and breaking down stigmas related to suicide. She holds a master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and is currently works full time for the Madison School District as a Nationally Certified Sign Language Interpreter for the Deaf.

Breakout 2 (11:00 - 12:30)

2a. Monitoring and Managing Suicide Risk for those who Self-Injure

This breakout will provide participants with current information about aspects of self-injury that are most strongly associated with suicidal behavior along with a framework for monitoring and managing potential risk. Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is a behavior with a strong relationship to suicidal thinking and attempts; yet many who engaged in NSSI who are never suicidal, making it hard to assess risk and respond appropriately. Clinicians, school personnel, health providers, and parents/guardians need to be well equipped to watch for suicide risk among youth who are self-injuring, knowing when and how to intervene in order to reduce the likelihood of a suicide attempt or death. Yet, most do not know what to really watch for or how to help reduce risk. This session will provide participants with an update based on current research on the features of NSSI most strongly linked to suicide along with a framework to help gauge potential suicide risk. Some specific strategies to help manage and reduce risk for both suicide and NSSI will be provided along with a case example for participants to work through and apply what they’ve learned. If time permits, a brief question and answer period will conclude the session.

Participants will:

  •  Objective 1: Be able to identify at least 3 features of NSSI that are strongly associated with suicidal behavior.
  • Objective 2: Be able to describe an evidence-based framework to conceptualize increasing concern for suicide risk using specific features of NSSI.
  • Objective 3: Be able to identify at least 2 strategies for managing and reducing risk for suicide among those who self-injure.

Presenter: 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. Alternatives to Suicide Peer-To-Peer Groups

Learn about the history, core values, and future possibilities of a peer-led group model for people with lived experience of suicide. Alternatives to Suicide is a peer-to-peer support group developed by people who have personal experience with contemplating or attempting suicide. Alternatives to Suicide groups are designed to be safe spaces for talking about suicidal thoughts in a non-judgmental, supportive environment.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Explore the idea of suicidal thoughts as part of the normal human experience.
  • Objective 2: Examine their values and beliefs regarding suicide and how that impacts what assumptions they might bring to their work with peers and non-peers.
  • Objective 3: Discuss the use of Alternatives to Suicide values for non-peer providers.

Presenter: Val Neff, CPS, is a Certified Peer Specialist who holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and music performance from Lawrence University. She is employed with NAMI Fox Valley as the Assistant Director at Iris Place Peer Run Respite, and she co-facilitates NAMI's Alternatives to Suicide support group and their Young Adult Support and Transition group. She is also a member of the Prevent Suicide Wisconsin Steering Committee, as well as the Tri-County Zero Suicide Initiative. All her experiences, both personal and professional, have instilled in her the importance of individualized person-centered support, as well as the need for more strengths-based approaches in the human services field.

2c.  Building Compassion Resilience at Work and Home

How can you, your colleagues and families thrive in the midst of the complex challenges of your work and life? The CR Toolkits are flexibly implemented resources and activities for you and your team to explore the concepts of compassion fatigue and the skills needed to support your resilience. Come prepared to delve into the system drivers of fatigue and how expectations, boundaries and staff/family culture are key to compassion satisfaction. Apply a new model of self-care to your current understanding and discover your potential role in the implementation of this free resource.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Discuss the implications of compassion fatigue on a professional’s ability to effectively apply evidence-based strategies for clients facing complex challenges and the role of systemic drivers on compassion fatigue.
  • Objective 2: Be able to demonstrate application of boundary setting and self-care strategies in both a personal and professional context.
  • Objective 3: Be able to navigate and implement resources from the toolkits in their work and home setting.

 

Presenter: Sue McKenzie, MA has led the development of educational programs and collaborative projects in the mental health field at a local, state and national level. Ms. McKenzie provided national training under grants from CDC, SAMHSA and the Department of Education. As the Program Director for Rogers InHealth and facilitative lead for WISE (Wisconsin’s Initiative for Stigma Elimination), she works through partnerships to reduce the stigma associated with mental health challenges and increase effective supports. Innovative program design, collaborative leadership skills, and a tenacious passion to share the reality and hope of recovery are key assets she brings to Rogers InHealth and WISE.

2d. The Invisible Population - Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) Youth Suicide Risk and Prevention Efforts

This workshop will provide an overview of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) youth risk behavior data to highlight disparities that exist. We will discuss the stressors that LGBTQ youth face and how those stressors strongly impact the likelihood for engaging in risky behaviors and negative outcomes including suicidal thoughts and attempts, self-harm, and substance use. Why is this so important to learn more about? In Wisconsin, LGB youth are over 3 times more likely to both seriously consider, and attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. The National Center for Transgender Equality reports that 40% of transgender adults reported having made a suicide attempt. 92% of these individuals reported having attempted suicide before the age of 25. Thankfully, this is all not doom and gloom and WE can make a difference. During the presentation participants will have a conversation about how to better support these youth and their families as a preventative measure toward mitigating risky behavior related to identity-based stressors.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Receive an overview of terminology and common definitions (LGBTQ 101).
  • Objective 2: Engage in discussion around stressors experienced by the LGBTQ community and how they relate to suicidal thoughts and attempts.
  • Objective 3: Learn an overview of LGBTQ youth data on risk behaviors and health outcomes statewide and nationally.
  • Objective 4: Learn to be agents of change to improve outcomes for LGBTQ youth.

Presenter: Robin Matthies, MSW, is the Trauma and Resilience Program Manager with the Division of Public Health at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. One of her areas of interest is how toxic stress in childhood and adolescence contributes to risk behaviors and negative health outcomes. Robin has provided multiple trainings across the state on a variety of health-related topics and takes a preventative approach when presenting, specifically focusing on resiliency and protective factors. In her free time Robin volunteers with the Trevor Project as a crisis counselor for LGBTQ youth who are struggling with suicidal ideation, self-harm, and risk behaviors. Robin received her MSW from UW-Madison, with specific focuses on children, youth, families, and policy.

2e. Understanding Racial Trauma Risk

Racial Trauma appears more prevalent now than ever; however, race based trauma has a long-standing place in history. As such defining racial trauma and increasing one’s capacity for empathetic learning become increasingly imperative concepts to enhance community connectedness. This lively presentation aims to meet those objectives. Participants will also be offered wellness recovery as content may be heavy.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Be able to define Racial Trauma.
  • Objective 2: Have an increased capacity for empathy and connectedness.
  • Objective 3: Understand the concepts of Trauma Informed CBT for treatment.

Presenter: Patricia Taylor, LPC, is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Wisconsin and the owner of P Taylor Consulting. Ms. Taylor relies on research and evidence informed interventions to assist clients implement and manage behavioral health, employee wellness and professional development projects. In her private practice, Patricia offers an empathetic ear to patients living with mental illness. Patricia also utilizes holistic, evidence-informed practices that promote wellness in her practice.

Presenter: Erica Lofton is a Young Adult Community Impact Partner for the Wisconsin Office of Children's Mental Health. As a youth consultant, Erica provides consultation, expertise, facilitation, and programming for the purpose of helping educational institutions, child serving agencies, organizations, businesses, groups and individuals increase their knowledge about the mental health needs of children and youth living with a mental illness.

2f.  A Framework for Suicide Prevention in the Schools: The Milwaukee Public Schools Approach

This presentation will provide participants with an overview of best practices for suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention in the school setting, while integrating real-world examples from Wisconsin's largest and most diverse school district, the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). Presenters include lead staff members dedicated to suicide prevention efforts in the district, including school psychologists, school social workers, and school counselors with a wealth of experience working with students from a variety of backgrounds and across all grade levels. For the past 3 years, the presenters have led the initiative to reduce deaths by suicide in Milwaukee. Their efforts to increase connections between MPS and community stakeholders has led to an increase in student and staff efficacy with the identification of students at-risk for suicide. Over these three years, over 3,800 suicide risk assessments have been conducted in the district and have resulted in decrease in overall deaths by suicide. Participants will be provided with in-depth information regarding key aspects of the district's suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention protocols, including the district's use of Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA), QPR Gatekeeper Training, the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale, a district-developed protocol for assessing and managing risk related to self-injury, Crisis Team response after a death by suicide, and procedures for ensuring the monitoring and evaluation of suicide and suicide prevention efforts in the district. Representatives from rural, suburban and urban school districts will walk away with strategies and resources they can use immediately in their own schools.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Gain foundational knowledge of best practices in school-based suicide prevention efforts.
  • Objective 2: Using the information provided, be able to develop a plan to enhance suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention in their district.
  • Objective 3: Learn how suicide prevention aligns with a Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS).

Presenter: Jessica Coyle, Ed.S., is a school psychologist in Milwaukee Public Schools. She has been with the district since 2006 serving the Reagan IB High School community for the past 11 years. Additionally, she is a practicum supervisor and serves as a consultant in her department consisting of over 150 school psychologists. Jessica, along with several of her colleagues, has been credited with assisting in the development of the MPS suicide prevention plan. She believes that a comprehensive approach, including organizational linkages, is crucial for effective suicide prevention. Jessica resides in Milwaukee with her husband, an assistant principal at Nicolet High School, and her two children. She is excited to start Nordic walking this fall.

Presenter: Alecia A. Corbett, MSW, APSW, is a School Social Worker for Milwaukee Public Schools and has worked there 10 years. Her school assignments have given experience for K-12. Currently, she delivers school-based services at a high school, serves as a Rehabilitation for Empowerment, Natural supports, Education, and Work (RENEW) Coach and Crisis Team Facilitator for the district. Her district workgroup experience includes suicide risk assessment, suicide prevention, non-suicidal self-injury, school re-entry, mental health screeners, and threat assessment. She earned a B.A. from Georgia State University in 2005 and M.S.W. from UW – Milwaukee in 2009.

Presenter: Jean Gatz, MS. Ed. is one of two supervisors for the over 145 school psychologists in Milwaukee Public Schools. She started in MPS in 1995 and provided services to students, families, and staff in the schools until 2005. In addition to her school responsibilities, she supervised school psychology graduate students, was a district crisis team facilitator, and a ropes and challenges facilitator (adventure based counseling). From 2005 to 2012 Jean served as a mentor psychologist training and supporting newly hired psychologists in MPS. From 2012 to the present, she has been one of the two supervisors in the Office of Psychological Services. She facilitates professional development throughout the district and is on the Project Aware Core team She is a trainer for QPR and is an adjunct professor at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Special Education Department. Jean received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Sociology from Marquette University (1993), Master’s in Education -School Psychology from University of Wisconsin Whitewater (1995), and Director of Special Education and Pupil Services certification from Marian University.

Presenter: Jill Boeck is a school counselor in Milwaukee Public Schools. She has been with the district since 1996 serving the Rufus King International High School for the past 11 years. Along with several of her colleagues, she has been credited with assisting in the development of the MPS suicide prevention plan. She is a QPR trainer, HOP and Parent and Teen Wellness Circle facilitator. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Alverno College and a Masters in Educational Psychology from UW Milwaukee. She is also a National Board Certified Teacher in School Counseling.

Presenter: Brenda Mikell is a school counselor in Milwaukee Public Schools. She has been with the district since 1995 serving the Rufus King International High School for the past 19 years. Along with several of her colleagues, she has been credited with assisting in the development of the MPS suicide prevention plan. She is a QPR trainer, HOP and Parent and Teen Wellness Circle facilitator. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from St. Norbert College and a Masters in Educational Psychology from UW Milwaukee. She is also a National Board Certified Teacher in School Counseling.

Breakout 3 (3:00 - 4:15)

3a. Language Matters: Safe and Effective Prevention Messaging

In this presentation, participants will explore the power of the language they use. Discussion will include the way suicide is talked about, the way it is messaged in the media, and the impact that specific language and messaging has on people and families affected by suicide. Participants will leave with guidelines on safe and effective reporting on suicide in the news media, entertainment media, and prevention messaging for the general public.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Examine their personal language related to suicide and stigma.
  • Objective 2: Explore and adopt recovery focused, strength-based language that supports safety, help-seeking, and healing.
  • Objective 3: Receive tools to shift language related to suicide from harmful to helpful.
  • Objective 4: Discuss how the news media reports on suicide, the entertainment media, and other organizations that regularly disseminate messages related to suicide.

Presenter: Patty Slatter is a speaker, NAMI Rock County Board Member, Co-Chair of NAMI Rock County’s Paint the Town Yellow 5k for Mental Health and Suicide Awareness, Mental Health America of Wisconsin Faculty Member for the Zero Suicide Initiative, and member of the Rock County Behavioral Health Redesign Steering Committee. Patty is trained in facilitating peer support groups, Youth Mental Health First Aid, and serves on the Prevent Suicide Wisconsin Steering Committee.

Patty’s involvement with mental health and suicide awareness is driven by her lived experience of over 20 years.  After a long road of recovery, Patty shares her story in order to give others hope and assist in identifying treatment gaps.  In every role, she is driven by her passion to raise awareness, support her peers, and increase knowledge and understanding to break the silence around mental health challenges and suicide.

Presenter: Joann Stephens is a mental health consumer and the parent of children with severe emotional disabilities.  She has been active in systems change work, teaching Recovery Concepts, Person Centered Planning and Trauma Informed Care to public and private service providers, community groups, and families and consumers of mental health services.  She has partnered with many agencies and organizations in the state to educate others about best practices in mental health treatment from the standpoint of lived experience.  In 2014, she was hired as the Family Relations Coordinator at the Wisconsin Office of Children’s Mental Health to bring the voice of lived experience to policy and decision-making tables at the highest levels and promote meaningful family involvement within all systems who serve children.  She is currently the Consumer Affairs Coordinator at the Bureau of Prevention, Treatment and Recovery and supports consumer inclusion in systems change work.

3b. Veterans Culture & Reintegration

The session will provide an overview of military culture/combat and its impact on service members, and available services for veterans. The 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 a basic understanding of military culture, increase their awareness of combat veterans’ increased encounters with law enforcement/court systems because of difficulties transitioning after deployments, and learn about veteran specific support services.

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.
  • Objective 4: Learn how to share information with others in order to increase awareness.
  • Objective 5: Learn how to apply material learned when working with Veterans.

Presenter: Mark Flower, Co-founder of Dryhootch of America, was involved with day-to-day functioning of the organization at the executive level and works with his guys as a peer mentor. A veteran from the Cold War era, Mark joined the Army in 1976, and served on active duty with the 25th Infantry Division through 1980. Later 1981 to 2006 actively serving our under contract, he joined the 84th Training Division Milw.,WI. where he served as a Tank Commander.  Mark later served as an instructor/evaluator, then as a field sanitation NCO and a Medic with the 452nd Combat Support Hospital in Milwaukee. Mark struggled with alcoholism and drugs and started his recovery journey in September of 1993. Since that date, he has been substance free and has helped others on their journeys towards recovery by managing halfway houses, including the Manitoba House, Sals House Transitional Living Facility, and Alano Foundation.

3c. Systems Change for Suicide Prevention: A Jackson County Approach

This presentation will provide an overview of the project, Creating a Jackson County that Supports Mental Health. This project was implemented due to the high rate of suicide in Jackson County, particularly among young men ages 18-24. The systems-level strategy aimed to provide primary prevention for suicide by implementing a referral mechanism that identifies, screens, and refers youth to resources before they are in a crisis. This approach relies on an understanding of primary prevention, a coordinating coalition, and buy-in from a variety of stakeholders, including schools, health care settings, and public health. Participants will discuss the various components of the strategy, which included implementing a short screen and referral tool, mindfulness-based education at all age levels, and a social marketing campaign. Finally, participants will learn about the evaluation results from the Jackson County project to demonstrate outcomes of the work.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Understand the need for a systems-level suicide prevention strategy
  • Objective 2: Explore and understand the components of a systems-level strategy for suicide prevention.
  • Objective 3: Learn how a systems-level strategy was implemented in a Wisconsin county.
  • Objective 4: Summarize the evaluation results of this strategy.

Presenter: Sara Kohlbeck, MPH is the Assistant Director of the Comprehensive Injury Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin and a PhD student in the Institute for Health and Equity at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Ms. Kohlbeck has served as academic partner and evaluator on a number of suicide prevention grants in Wisconsin, including a project that is currently implementing the Zero Suicide Model in clinical and non-clinical organizations in Fond du Lac County. Ms. Kohlbeck serves on the Prevent Suicide Wisconsin Steering Committee and Evaluation Subcommittee. Her research interests include disparities in suicide and systems-level risk factors for suicide.

3d. Saving our Youth: Suicide Prevention & Suicide Attempt After-care

Participants will learn effective communication skills and ways to connect with youth in addressing suicidal thoughts and attempts. Interviews with actual clients, role-plays, statistics, research, and resources will be provided to equip participants with the knowledge needed to assist youth who are experiencing suicidal crises. A special emphasis will be placed on after-care for youth who survived a suicide attempt.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Better understand the needs of youth who experience suicidal thoughts and attempts.
  • Objective 2: Learn specific ways to support youth after a suicide attempt.
  • Objective 3: Learn to use effective communication skills specific to youth and build protective factors to help prevent suicide

Presenter: Jerolynn Scaggs, LPC, ADC, PS-IT is an accomplished Psychotherapist and the Owner/Founder of Family Healing and Wellness Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She has over 10 years of experience in treating child traumatic stress. Mrs. Scaggs specializes in child trauma therapy serving a diverse spectrum of clients. She also specializes in counseling for Substance Abuse clients. Mrs. Scaggs is an interactive, dynamic, solution-focused therapist, and her compassionate therapeutic approach is to provide attentiveness and support to help young clients and families to understand and cope with life changes.

Presenter: Lazria Price, LPC-IT, SAC-IT, QTT provides services in the Milwaukee and Racine area with a hands-on approach. She is passionate about mental health and wellness and substance abuse issues that create barriers and stigma within the community. She graduated from University of Phoenix with an Associates Business Management and Bachelor's in Psychology. She obtained her Master's Degree from Springfield College for Mental Health Counseling. Mrs. Price utilizes a myriad of acquired skills to bolster her therapeutic technique such as Nurturing/Parenting Facilitator, Hypnosis for Anxiety and Depression, Suicidal Ideations and Trauma. She considers therapy as Emotional CPR, providing crisis interventions to clients at unexpected times of distress.

3e. Trans 101 and Preventing Suicide in the LGBTQ+ Community

This session aims to teach attendees necessary terminology related to LGBTQ+ people with a focus on transgender people. The presentation will also teach participants how to work with and refer to transgender people respectfully. Participants will receive information on how to form organizations and provide care with the needs of transgender people in mind.

Participants will:

  • Objective 1: Learn how to refer to and work with trans people appropriately
  • Objective 2: Learn about suicide risk in the LGBTQ+, and specifically, the trans community
  • Objective 3: Understand barriers to mental health care for LGBTQ+ people
  • Objective 4: Understand how to build protective factors and bolster resilience to prevent suicide in the LGBTQ+ community.


Presenter: Alex Kestrel has a degree in Gender and Women’s Studies from UW Madison. Alex has presented at the NITT conference twice and presented “Trans 101” at a workplace where they received very positive feedback. Alex is currently a nursing assistant in a hospital psychiatric ward and previously worked as a case manager and as a human service assistant at a crisis unit. Alex is a transgender person who has mental illnesses including experiencing suicidality. They have extensive experience doing grassroots work and support around mental health for transgender people. In addition, they have personally and professionally supported many people during and after suicide attempts.