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Monday, October 19, 2009

Trainers Conference: October 27-29th

Don't wait! Register now for the 2009 ASIST Trainers Conference. This is a training opportunity for all ASIST X trainers in Virginia, Maryland, DC and North Carolina. It provides an opportunity to update skills, expand competency and network with other ASIST trainers. There are only 30 slots available! The cost of the training is only $175.00. This includes meals and lodging. Register now at Email Christy Letsom if you need a copy of the training registration information in pdf format. October 24th is the registration deadline.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Webinar: Connections to Care

The TeenScreen National Center for Mental Health Checkups
invites you to join our next webinar:

Connections to Care:

Developing a Mental Health Service Capacity
for Youth in Rural Communities

Wednesday, November 11
3 p.m. – 4 p.m. EDT

Steven Adelsheim, M.D.

Director, Center for Rural and Community Behavioral Health
Professor of Psychiatry, Pediatrics, & Family/Community Medicine
University of New Mexico Department of Psychiatry

To register please click here or copy and paste the below link in your browser
...from TeenScreen

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Campus Suicide Prevention Center

From the Weekly SPARK: The newly created Campus Suicide Prevention Center of Virginia (CSPC), based at James Madison University, plans to develop strategies and activities for suicide prevention and mental health promotion at colleges across the state. The first CSPC event, “The Healthy Minds Study Guided Work Day,” will take place on the JMU campus October 15. The event will include student planning teams from eight Virginia colleges, who will use expertise from SPRC and the University of Michigan School of Public Health, as well as Virginia-specific survey data, to guide their planning efforts. Check them out at

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Campus Suicide Prevention Conference

If you have not already registered for the statewide conference on reducing risk for suicide on Virginia’s college and university campuses, please do so by the Friday, Oct. 9th deadline.

“Campus Suicide Prevention: The Big Picture”, is a one-day event during which speakers will present strategies for assessing and promoting student mental health as well as responding to students who are at risk for suicide. Data from the 2009 Healthy Minds Survey, which provides information specific to college student mental health, will also be presented. Eight of the 16 participating campuses were from Virginia in 2009 (a consortium supported by the Virginia Department of Health).

The date is Oct. 16, 2009 and the location is James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. A light breakfast will be available after 8:15 and the conference will start at 9:00. The day’s events will end at 4:00pm. Lunch will be provided.

The conference is offered at no cost to participants. Lodging is still available for those who come from a distance. See the attachment or the website for additional details.

Registration, the day’s agenda, lodging information and directions are available on-line at

We look forward to seeing you there,


Jane Wiggins, Ph.D., Director
The Campus Suicide Prevention Center of Virginia
MSC 9008 James Madison University
601 University Blvd.
Harrisonburg, VA 22801

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Statewide Directory

We are in the final stages of compiling a list of all suicide prevention resources in the State of Virginia. If you are aware of any program, survivor of suicide, prevention, education, advocacy, intervention or otherwise, please be in touch with Christy Letsom at the Crisis Line at This information will soon be available via the Crisis Line website at

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Have YOU Registered???

Don't forget to register for the Virginia Stakeholders Meeting September 30, 2009. It will be a great opportunity to connect with others who are actively working to prevent and intervene at a time of suicidal crisis. You can register at Look for the blue box on the opening page. Look forward to seeing you all there!!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Stakeholders Meeting!!!!

On September 30, 2009, there will be a meeting in Richmond hosted by Virginia Department of Health gathering the Suicide Prevention Stakeholders in the Commonwealth. Please SAVE THE DATE. More information will follow regarding the meeting but early registration is most appreciated. You can register for the meeting by following the link at Please forward this information to anyone working in suicide prevention in the state.


2009 Suicide Prevention Stakeholders Meeting
September 30, 2009
Richmond, Virginia
Location to be Announced

Sponsored by: The Division of Injury and Violence Prevention, Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Suicide Prevention Coalition

Topics include:
Suicide in Virginia: An update from the Virginia Violent Death Reporting System (VVDRS)
Comprehensive Approach to Suicide Prevention
Incorporating Cultural Competency into Suicide Prevention
Suicide Prevention Training Occurring in Virginia
Importance of Training with Fidelity

Please register early at

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Creating a Directory

In collaboration with the Department of Health, I am attempting to create a statewide suicide prention stakeholders directory. I know that there are many out there interested in being a part of this directory, but I don't know who you all are. Please contact me if you are part of an SOS group, a local coalition, researcher or any group that should be a part of this directory. You can email me directly at

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Suicide Gene?

National Institute of Mental Health
A new study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health found a strong association between stressful life events and the development of major depression, but did not support the role of a particular gene variation previously thought to increase risk. A 2003 study had reported an increased risk for major depression among people with a particular gene variation who were exposed to a number of stressful life events over a five-year period. The new meta-analysis examined 14 studies that attempted to replicate the results of the 2003 study and found no association between the gene variant and major depression (alone or in conjunction with stressful life events) in any of the studies analyzed.

More information can be found at
.....from Weekly SPARK

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pioneer in Suicide Prevention Dies

Edwin S. Shneidman, a pioneer in the field of suicide prevention and a prolific thinker and writer who believed that life is enriched by contemplation of death and dying, has died. He was 91.

Shneidman, one of the founders of the Los Angeles Suicide Prevention Center, believed that two simple questions -- "Where do you hurt?" and "How may I help you?" -- could begin to unlock the suicidal impulse.

Shneidman, along with Norman Farberow and Robert Litman, established the center in an abandoned tuberculosis hospital on the grounds of Los Angeles County Hospital in 1958. Staff members offered counseling and support over the phone to the depressed and suicidal. It represented a radical idea in mental health care in America.
...excerpted from LA Times.

Military and Veterans' Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

New Resources Available on Military and Veterans' Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
• TRICARE Management Activity (TMA) has recently published A TRICARE Guide: Understanding Behavioral Health. The guide is an important tool to reduce the stigma associated with getting help for behavioral and mental health issues.
• The Army has developed a campaign plan for health promotion, risk reduction and suicide prevention.
• The Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran's Association (IAVA) has created a website to support military families and friends in identifying warning signs in their loved ones and to provide tips on how to engage in conversations about mental health and seeking help.
To learn more got to SPAN USA.
..from E-News, SPAN USA

AFSP/SPAN Merger Complete

SPAN USA, as a division of AFSP, will spearhead the foundation's advocacy and public policy initiatives from our Washington, D.C. office. Five former members of SPAN USA's board of directors have been appointed to AFSP's national board of directors and a 15-member public policy council has been established to guide the organization's advocacy agenda.
...from E-News, SPAN

Thursday, April 23, 2009

“Teens in Crisis”

Special Guest Speaker: Dr. Jerry Reed, Director, SPRC

Date: May 13, 2009
Time: 8:30am to 4:00pm
Location: Germanna Community College, Daniel Technology Center, Culpeper, Va.
Cost: Free and lunch is provided

• Communities in Action
• Intervention System for Schools
• Aftermath: Developing a Community Response

RSVP: Linda Hawkins at

Sponsored by: Teen Suicide Prevention Grant, Healthy Culpeper Prevention Coalition,
Mental Health Association of Fauquier, Orange County Interagency Council,
Fauquier CADRE, and Madison County Prevention Coalition

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Trends in ER visits, 1992-2001

[Crisis] Over the course of the decade studied, the rate of emergency department (ED) visits in the U.S. that were related to suicide attempts virtually doubled. The observed increases were concentrated in metropolitan areas, among non-Hispanic whites, in individuals under 15 years of age or between the ages of 50 and 69. Emergency departments are under-recognized for their importance as sites for suicide prevention. [Read more]
...from SPRC, Weekly SPARK

Monday, February 2, 2009

SPRC: GLBT Youth Research

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) has released Suicide risk and prevention for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. Written by SPRC staff and reviewed by experts in sexual and gender minority issues, suicide, and suicide prevention, and by youth, this publication addresses the special concerns related to suicide prevention among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth. Research conducted by experts in mental health, suicide prevention, and other fields shows that a higher proportion of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth consider and attempt suicide compared to their heterosexual peers. Based on the higher rate of suicide attempts among lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth and the relative seriousness of these attempts, the authors of this report postulate that it is likely these youth experience higher rates of suicide deaths than non-LGB youth. Less research about transgender youth is available, but these youth generally share risk factors associated with suicidal behavior (such as victimization, depression and substance abuse) with their LGB peers.

Suicide risk and prevention for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth draws on research from the past ten years to summarize the current state of knowledge about suicidality in LGBT youth, and outlines twenty-one recommendations for helping to reduce suicidal behavior in this group. These recommendations are appropriate for agencies, organizations, and individuals such as school staff, health and social service providers, suicide prevention programs, and researchers, as well as funders and organizations serving LGBT youth. Recommendations are in the following areas:
• lowering risk specific to or disparately affecting LGBT youth
• improving provider recognition of youth at risk
• increasing outreach and access to services
• increasing coping and protective factors among these youth
The paper, coauthored by Effie Malley, Marc Posner, and Lloyd Potter, includes a resource appendix and an extensive bibliography. The paper may be downloaded from the SPRC site at

SPRC provides prevention support, training, and resources to assist states, tribal nations, organizations, and individuals to develop suicide prevention programs, interventions, and policies. Supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), SPRC is operated by the Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), in Newton, Massachusetts.

10th Annual SOS Webcast Available

On Saturday, November 22, 2008 survivors of suicide loss joined together from over 175 locations in the U.S. and abroad for support, healing, information and empowerment. The day of conferences connected survivors through a 90-minute program, viewed simultaneously around the world by webcast, satellite and DVD from 1-2:30pm EST. This broadcast is now available on the AFSP website so survivors can watch it free of charge, on their own computers, anytime. Click here to watch now. (You'll be asked to fill out a short registration form first, then the direct webcast link will pop up on your screen.) Starting in January, you may also purchase a DVD version for $19.95 by visiting the AFSP Store.

Save the date for AFSP's 11th National Survivors of Suicide Day
Saturday, November 21, 2009

...from SPAN USA email

Action Alert for our friends in Georgia: SPAN GA

Survivors of Suicide and the Suicide Prevention Community
We are in need of your assistance quickly!!!
On January 14th, 2009, the Governor released his 2009 Fiscal Year final recommendations as well as the 2010 Budget Recommendations. These recommendations included discontinuing all suicide prevention activities and removed ALL funding for FY2010 and all funds not currently encumbered for FY2009. Basically, our Suicide Prevention Program put in place in 2006 by HB 1092 was not just given cuts as other programs were, but eliminated. We will lose our funding to retain a Suicide Prevention Coordinator, our Epidemiologist and all related activities will cease. This is years worth of work to get this program and funding in place- lost, bringing us back to starting over. All of our suicide prevention work so far was begun and sustained by bringing the grassroots voice of the people and our communities, to the government. And it is important that our voices are heard from every county in Georgia.
So far, these cuts are all recommendations, so there is time…YOU CAN HELP!! We are asking that you CALL AND WRITE your state Senator, Representative and Governor Perdue, and ask them to support the restoration of funding for the Suicide Prevention Program.

This is an action that needs to be taken NOW, this week and next. The legislature will be making this final determination soon.

I want to remind each of you that this grassroots movement is the basis for which our nation was founded. We are constituents in our Senators, Representatives and Governors communities. We have the first amendment right to write and call and ask for our leaders to support our needs. They are people just like we are. When enough of us ask the same request, the request itself is taken to a much more powerful level. Help us to let the voice of survivors and the suicide prevention community be heard!

Don’t be shy, and when you call, ask for your legislator. It is best to speak directly to your legislator, so try to achieve that. But if it is not possible, leave a detailed message for them. They do keep track of these calls and the subject of the calls, so be sure to leave the message that you would like to speak with your legislator about restoring the funding to the Suicide Prevention Program. Be polite and be positive!
Read the Facts Sheet about the program as well as the sample letter and know what you would like to say. Use the talking points as your guide.

For a letter, you need to get it off quickly. A personal letter is the best choice. We have included a sample letter. Feel free to create a letter completely of your own or using this sample as a guideline for your talking points within the letter, or use the sample text for your own letter. Sign it personally. Again, be polite and positive!

• Disappointed at the cuts to the Suicide Prevention Program
• Relate your personal story. (short and succinct)
• The economic crisis and unemployment contribute to depression and suicide risk. In this economic time it is more imperative that the funding is in place to support these needs.
• Suicide is preventable.
• With a small amount of funding, the Suicide Prevention Program has done an incredible amount of population based work that has positively impacted our communities statewide and we support the continuation of this work. (see program facts sheet)
• Ask your legislator to support the restoration of all funding for the Suicide Prevention Program.

As we need voices from all over the state, please forward this to any and all of your friends, family and colleagues in Georgia! Start your own email tree…send it on to everyone that you can and ask them to respond quickly.

I have attached the fact sheet that will be provided to the legislators as well as a sample letter. Please review them.


If you do not know who your Senator or Representatives or need to find their exact mailing address and phone, you can go to this link and put in your zip code and it will take you to a list of the legislators for your address.

Then if you click on the legislator’s name, it will take you to more information. (If the link doesn’t open, just copy and paste into your browser.) When you are directed to your Legislator, there will be tabs over the picture and one will say contact. Click on it and it will give you their mailing address and phone numbers.

Please use the Atlanta address and phone at the Capitol because the legislature is in session.

After you call and/or mail a letter, contact us to let us know what happened with your contact. It is an important part of advocacy to keep track of contacts and coverage. We would like to be able to know how many Senators and Representatives that we reached and how many calls and letters they received. Then as we make our personal appointments to meet with them, we are able to better represent you in every community in Georgia. Feel free to call or email just to give a brief update on what action you were able to take and what happened.

So my contact information is:

Sheri McGuinness
770-517-6405 Home Office
770-354-7616 Cell