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Thursday, October 20, 2011

National Suicide Survivors Day

From Christina Benton, Suicide Prevention Manger, Virginia Department of Health

On November 19, 2011, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) will sponsor an event to provide an opportunity for the survivor community to come together for support, healing, and information. Simultaneous conferences for survivors of suicide loss will take place throughout the U.S. and internationally.
Each conference site is organized locally, but they’re all connected in spirit as participants across the globe watch a special 90-minute AFSP broadcast together. In the U.S., conference sites will show the broadcast together from 1-2:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

In Virginia, there are four local conference sites taking part in this event. These events are taking place in Fishersville, Richmond, Salem, and Woodbridge. For information about each of the four events please see the contact information included at the bottom of this email.

For those survivors of suicide loss who don't live near a conference site or who find it difficult to attend in person, the 90-minute broadcast will also be available live on the AFSP website from 1-2:30 pm, Eastern Standard Time, with a live online chat immediately following the program. It will then be saved on the website so that survivors can watch it again throughout the year at anytime.

To register to watch from your home computer or to learn more about the event, please use the following link, http://www.afsp.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.viewPage&page_id=FEE7D778-CF08-CB44-DA1285B6BBCF366E

Information on Local Virginia Conference Sites (all will take place on Saturday, November 19, 2011)

FISHERSVILLE
Augusta Health Community Care Building, 64 Sports Medicine Drive, Fishersville, VA 22939
Conference Starts: 12:30 p.m. EST
Contact: Nancy Koplin, nkoplin@augustahealth.com, 540-332-4012

RICHMOND
Richmond Public Library, 101 East Franklin Street, Richmond, VA 23219
Conference Starts: 12:30 pm EST
Contact: Ashlee Witt, richmond.afsp@gmail.com, 804-894-7158

SALEM
Education Center Auditorium/Lewis-Gale Medical Center, 1900 Electric Road, Salem, VA 24153 Conference Starts: 12:30 pm EST
Website: www.mharv.com
Contact: Diane Kelly (MHA of Roanoke Valley), mharv@infionline.net, 540-344-0931

WOODBRIDGE
Sentara (Potomac) Hospital 2300 Optiz Blvd. Woodbridge, VA 22191
Conference Starts: 12:30 pm EST
Contact: Victoria Graham, vickyilynngraham@hotmail.com, 703-221-1144


There are also two local conferences taking place in the Washington DC Metro Area. Their information is:

Alexandria
Residence Inn Alexandria Old Town, 1456 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
Conference Starts: 12:00 p.m. EST
Website: www.afsp.org/ncac
Contact: Dennis Tackett, isos.afspncac@gmail.com, 703-644-2112

Washington DC
Howard University, 2455 6th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001
Conference Starts: 12:00 p.m. EST
Website: www.zphibalpha.org
Contact: Zikia Jones-Martin, 678-437-7727, zikiajones@yahoo.com

Monday, October 3, 2011

Suicide Prevention Training - ASIST

Staunton City Schools, in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Health, is hosting an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) program in Staunton, VA October 20-21, 2011.

ASIST is the most widely used intervention skills training in the US. It is a two-day intensive, interactive and practice-dominated course designed to help caregivers recognize risk for suicide, intervene to prevent immediate harm and link persons at risk to the next level of care.

ASIST is often used by people in a variety of “front line” positions. It is for all caregivers (any person in a position of trust). It is suitable for school counselors, psychologists, social workers, administrators, nurses, case workers, police/correctional/juvenile justice staff, soldiers, organizations working with military/veterans, social service staff, foster care staff, clergy, advocates for elderly and all 'natural helpers' who work in the field of human service (regardless of the population served).

Because of the support of the Virginia Department of Health's Division of Prevention and Health Promotion, this training will be offered at no cost to participants; the training is typically valued at $250. All training materials will be provided; meals will be "on your own".

Because of the demand for seats, please register only if you are able to attend the full two days, and are not 'on-call' for other duties during that time.

All participants will receive a certificate documenting 14 hours of instruction. Continuing Education credits are available for licensed social workers, licensed professional counselors, and law enforcement upon request. Participants who miss any part of the training will not receive CEUs or a certificate.


Training Details
Location:
Memorial Baptist Church
224 Taylor St.
Staunton, Va

Registration:
October 20th-21st
8:00am – 4:00pm (both days)
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/StauntonASIST

Please contact Christina Benton for any questions at christina.benton@vdh.virginia.gov or 804-864-7736.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Limited Seats Open for Public Speaking Training for Survivors of Suicide Loss

There are a few seats open due to cancellations. Act NOW!

The Virginia Department of Health will be offering a series of two day trainings for survivors of suicide loss who are interested in learning how to tell their story safely to friends, various audiences, and the media. Suicide survivors (those who have lost a loved one to suicide) play an important role in increasing awareness about suicide. By speaking about their personal loss and telling the story about their loved one’s life and death, survivors can promote healing and understanding, which in turn supports and encourages suicide prevention efforts. Suicide is a very complex issue and a great deal of research has been done about how to talk about suicide in a safe manner and in a way that will not increase the risk for those who may be vulnerable. This two-day training assists speakers in honing a message that tells their story in a safe and effective manner.

Survivors who complete the training are certainly not required to tell their story publicly after the training, but most do go on to speak at local suicide prevention conferences and local venues such as rotary, their church, legislative committees, etc. The training was developed by NAMI NH and is part of their Connect Suicide Prevention Project, which is listed on the Suicide Prevention Resource Center’s Best Practice Registry.

It is suggested that survivors be at least two years from their loss before attending; however, some survivors are ready earlier and should feel free to talk with us if you would like to attend.

The training is conducted over the course of two days and you will be asked to commit to both training days. The first day of the training will focus on the basics of public speaking, issues to be aware of around speaking about suicide, safe messaging, honing your message for particular audiences/media, and composing your personal story. The second day of the training will give you an opportunity to share your presentation, evaluate yourself, get feedback from the group, discuss how to be responsive to your audience, and review possible responses to difficult questions. There will be a homework assignment for the night of day one.

The training is free of charge to participants and is made possible through funding from SAMHSA.

Each training is limited to 8 participants. Information on training dates, location and registration can be found below:

September 21-22, 2011 - Harrisonburg, Virginia8:30am-4:30pm both days
Blue Ridge Hall, James Madison University
601 University Blvd
Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807
Register: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SurvivorTrainingHarrisonburg
For questions, please contact Christina Benton at christina.benton@vdh.virginia.gov or 804-864-7736

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Workshop Teaches Tools for Preventing Suicide


Congrats to Amy, Karen and Kerima on building a suicide-safer community. Great coverage by WSET.com. Check out the article at http://www.wset.com/story/14960721/workshop-teaches-tools-for-preventing-suicide

Thanks for to all who participated!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Public Speaking Training for VA Survivors of Suicide Loss

The Virginia Department of Health will be offering a series of two day trainings for survivors of suicide loss who are interested in learning how to tell their story safely to friends, various audiences, and the media. Suicide survivors (those who have lost a loved one to suicide) play an important role in increasing awareness about suicide. By speaking about their personal loss and telling the story about their loved one’s life and death, survivors can promote healing and understanding, which in turn supports and encourages suicide prevention efforts. Suicide is a very complex issue and a great deal of research has been done about how to talk about suicide in a safe manner and in a way that will not increase the risk for those who may be vulnerable. This two-day training assists speakers in honing a message that tells their story in a safe and effective manner.

Survivors who complete the training are certainly not required to tell their story publicly after the training, but most do go on to speak at local suicide prevention conferences and local venues such as rotary, their church, legislative committees, etc. The training was developed by NAMI NH and is part of their Connect Suicide Prevention Project, which is listed on the Suicide Prevention Resource Center’s Best Practice Registry.

It is suggested that survivors be at least two years from their loss before attending; however, some survivors are ready earlier and should feel free to talk with us if you would like to attend.

The training is conducted over the course of two days and you will be asked to commit to both training days. The first day of the training will focus on the basics of public speaking, issues to be aware of around speaking about suicide, safe messaging, honing your message for particular audiences/media, and composing your personal story. The second day of the training will give you an opportunity to share your presentation, evaluate yourself, get feedback from the group, discuss how to be responsive to your audience, and review possible responses to difficult questions. There will be a homework assignment for the night of day one.

The training is free of charge to participants and is made possible through funding from SAMHSA.

Each training is limited to 8 participants. Information on training dates, location and registration can be found below:

July 12-13, 2011 – Norfolk, Virginia8:30am-4:30pm both days
The Planning Council
5365 Robin Hood Road, Suite 700
Norfolk, VA 23513
Register: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SurvivorTrainingNorfolk

August 17-18, 2011 - Woodbridge, Virginia (Co-Hosted by ACTS Helpline)
8:30am-4:30pm both days
James J. McCoart Administration Building
1 County Complex Court
Woodbridge, VA 22192
Register: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SurvivorTrainingWoodbridge

September 21-22, 2011 - Harrisonburg, Virginia8:30am-4:30pm both days
Blue Ridge Hall, James Madison University
601 University Blvd
Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807
Register: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SurvivorTrainingHarrisonburg

For questions, please contact Christina Benton at christina.benton@vdh.virginia.gov or 804-864-7736.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Regional Summits

The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services in partnership with the Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program (Virginia Department of Veteran Services) will be hosting seven regional suicide prevention summits across Virginia during May and June of 2011. These one day summits are a way for communities to come together to learn about how suicide is affecting their communities, prevention resources and services available to them, their communities' needs in regard to suicide and what they can do to address those needs.

These summits will be held in seven locations across the state:
Abingdon, VA May 10, 2011
Roanoke, VA May 11, 2011
Harrisonburg, VA May 24, 2011
Fredericksburg, VA May 25, 2011
Chesterfield, VA June 1, 2011
Annandale, VA June 6, 2011
Hampton, VA June 15, 2011

These summits are open to everyone in the community. Since the afternoon of the summits are focused on community planning, you are strongly encouraged to attend a summit within the region in which you live or work. The opportunity to network and plan with peers from your area will be more valuable to you and we would like to make limited space available to members of the same communities.

REGISTRATIONThe following link can be used to register for a summit in your region:
http://www.vcu.edu/partnership/vsps/index.htmlThere is a $15 fee to attend the summits. The above registration link will contain more detailed information about the summits, a sample agenda, summits locations, and directions.

Please feel free to pass this information along to anyone you think would be interested. We look forward to seeing you at one of the summits!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Regional Summits on Suicide Prevention

The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services
in partnership with the Virginia Department of Health and Virginia Wounded Warrior Program, Virginia Department of Veterans Services
present 2011 regional summits on:

Suicide Prevention

The summits are open to all community members, especially
:
 Mental Health Professionals (public or private)
 Para-Professionals
 Veterans
 School Personnel First Responders AND Law Enforcement Medical Professionals
 Suicide Survivors/Family Members
 Older Adult Community Members
 Faith Based Community Members
 Organizations focused on Suicide Prevention
 Local Health Districts and Local Departments of Social Services

At each one-day summit, there will be presentations on:
 the most current suicide data from each region;
 suicide prevention education and training resources;
 Virginia Wounded Warrior Program, veteran needs and services available to them;
 a survivor’s experience.

Facilitated discussions will be held on: how suicide is affecting communities;
 community needs in regard to suicide;
 what communities can do to address their needs regarding suicide.

Dates and Locations of Each Summit:
May 10 - Abingdon
May 11 - Roanoke
May 24 - Harrisonburg
May 25 - Fredericksburg
June 1 - Chesterfield
June 6 - Annandale
June 15 - Hampton

On-line registration will open for this statewide training on Monday April 11, 2011. Please look for more details coming to you soon!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Reach out. Check in. Save a life.


Reach Out. Check In. Save a Life. was created in order to promote positive human interaction.

Every day in the United States, there are approximately 95 deaths by suicide, 45 deaths by homicide, countless individuals losing a battle with substance abuse and millions of people suffering from depression. Odds are, if you’re reading this, you or someone you know is affected by one of the above scenarios. We believe simple human interaction can play a large role in reducing these numbers.

Reach Out. Check In. Save a Life. encourages everyone to take some time out of their day to reach out and connect with someone who might be struggling. Make plans to meet up with a friend for lunch or coffee. Smile and say hello to someone at school who seems alone and without a group of friends to hang out with. Go to dinner with a family member. People need to feel connected to others, and to feel that someone notices them and cares. You never know who might be feeling alone and something as simple as a smile or a conversation can go a long way in showing someone that people care.

You’re encouraged to listen to your intuition. If you feel that someone you know (or maybe you don’t know) is having a rough time, reach out. Start a simple conversation. The goal is not to take on that individual’s problems, rather to give a listening ear.

Most of the time, listening is enough help in and of itself. This action can go a long way in making someone feel less isolated and may help reduce the odds of relatively smaller stresses in life turning into large ones. We hope you take some time to browse this website. You’ll find ideas for how to reach out, what warning signs to look for and ways to find resources to be able to help someone in need.

Check it out! www.reachoutcheckin.com

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

SAMHSA's 10x10 Campaign


SAMNOW AVAILABLE: FREE 10x10 Wellness Campaign Brochures and Posters
The 10x10 Wellness Campaign launched its free brochures and posters for clinicians, community organizations, consumers/survivors and peers who want to take action to improve the life expectancy of people with behavioral health challenges by 10 years in the next 10 years.

The new resources include:
1. Top Three Ways to Promote Wellness poster (SMA10-4569)
2. Eight Dimensions of Wellness poster (SMA10-4568)
3. Informational brochure for primary care providers that provides strategies for talking about wellness and connecting with patients’ behavioral health care providers (SMA10-4566)
4. Motivational brochure for consumers/survivors/peers that describes how to incorporate the Eight Dimensions of Wellness into everyday life (SMA10-4567)
5. Informational brochure to raise awareness about the disparity in early mortality for people with behavioral health problems and gain “champions” for the 10x10 Wellness Campaign (SMA10-4565)

These consumer-centered tools establish a shared language for talking about how wellness can support recovery for individuals with behavioral health challenges.
To order or download these free materials, visit http://store.samhsa.gov/product/SMA10-4566 or call toll free 1-877-SAMHSA-7 (877-726-4727). To learn about the other resources available through the 10x10 Wellness Campaign, SAMHSA and the FDA’s Office of Women’s Health, visit: http://www.promoteacceptance.samhsa.gov/10by10/resources.aspx and www.fda.gov/womens.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Lifekeepers Quilt

I am now the local organizer for the Lifekeeper's Quilt for Virginia. I hope that you will join with me in this effort and honor the memory or our loved one by crafting a quilt square for Virginia's new AFSP Lifekeeper Memory Quilt.

This quilt will be publicly displayed at local and national events to put a human face on the tragedy of suicide and the devastating toll it has taken on our community. As each square is stitched together with others, we will also be reminded that none of us are alone - there are thousands of others who also feel the pain and loneliness of losing a loved one to suicide. You can find out more about the Lifekeeper's Quilt at www.afsp.org/quilts.

Crafting a quilt square is easy to do - no sewing is required. To get started, contact Christy Letsom, 757-622-9268 ext 3041 or email me cletsom@theplanningcouncil.org.

Thank you for sharing your story. Together, we show that behind the statistics are the stories and memories of those we loved so dearly.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Gatekeeper Training Simulation Increases Likelihood Teacher will Act

Gatekeeper Training Simulation Increases Likelihood that Teachers Will Act to Prevent Youth Suicide

A national study among over 300 high school teachers across the U.S. reveals that completing a new online, interactive gatekeeper training simulation results in statistically significant gains in the likelihood that a teacher will intervene with a student exhibiting signs of depression and suicidal ideation.

Unlike any other gatekeeper training, At-Risk for High School Educators engages learners in simulated conversations with student avatars that are fully animated and emotionally responsive.
The study analyzed the results of surveys taken by 327 teachers who completed the training simulation, versus teachers in a control group who did not. Additional findings strongly suggest that the training simulation significantly increases:

1. Teachers' ability to identify, approach, and refer at-risk students; and
2. Teachers' confidence in their ability to help a suicidal student

Click here to download a complete report of the study.



Launched in September 2010, the At-Risk for High School Educators program has been adopted by Texas and New York to provide training to more than 70,000 high school educators. More information about this program is available at www.kognito.com/atrisk.


If you are interested in learning more about the study or Kognito's suite of gatekeeper training simulations for teachers, students, families of returning veterans, and medical personnel please contact us at 212-675-9234 or info@kognito.com.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Public Speaking for VA Survivors of Suicide

The Virginia Department of Health, in partnership with NAMI New Hampshire will be offering a two day training for survivors of suicide loss who are interested in learning how to tell their story safely to friends, to various audiences, and to the media. Suicide survivors (those who have lost a loved one to suicide) play an important role in increasing awareness about suicide. By speaking about their personal loss and telling the story about their loved one’s life and death, survivors can promote healing and understanding, which in turn supports and encourages suicide prevention efforts. Suicide is a very complex issue and a great deal of research has been done about how to talk about suicide in a safe manner and in a way that will not increase the risk for those who are vulnerable. This two-day training assists speakers in honing a message that tells their story in a safe and effective manner.

Survivors who complete the training are certainly not required to tell their story publicly after the training, but most do go on to speak at local suicide postvention trainings, suicide prevention conferences, and local venues such as rotary, their church, legislative committees, etc. The training was developed by NAMI NH and is part of their Connect Suicide Prevention Project, which is listed on the Suicide Prevention Resource Center’s Best Practice Registry.

It is suggested that survivors be at least two years from their loss before attending; however, some survivors are ready earlier and should feel free to talk with us if you would like to attend.
The training is conducted over the course of two days and you will be asked to commit to both training days. The first day of the training will focus on the basics of public speaking, issues to be aware of around speaking about suicide, safe messaging, honing your message for particular audiences/media, and composing your personal story. The second day of the training will give you an opportunity to share your presentation, evaluate yourself, get feedback from the group, discuss how to be responsive to your audience, and review possible responses to difficult questions. There will be a homework assignment for the night of day one.

When: February 22 -23, 2011
Time: 9-4pm both days
Where: Richmond, VA (exact location TBA)
The training is free of charge to participants and is made possible through funding from SAMHSA.

The training is limited to 8 participants. Go here to register, http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/survivortraining For questions, please contact Christina Benton at christina.benton@vdh.virginia.gov or 804-864-7736.

Suicide Prevention Training for Mental Health Clinicians

Most mental health clinicians have had little or no formal training in assessing suicide risk, yet they are often called upon to do so. Recognizing and Responding to Suicide Risk: Essential Skills for Clinicians (RRSR) has been developed by the American Association of Suicidology specifically to fill this training gap. RRSR is an advanced, interactive training based on established core competencies that mental health professionals need in order to effectively assess and manage suicide risk in their patients. The program has several components, including a web-based assessment; two on-line, self-paced modules; a two-day face-to-face workshop; and post-workshop mentorship through on-line learning activities.

RRSR is appropriate for any mental health clinicians working with patients on an ongoing basis. Participants can include licensed private counselors, licensed clinical social workers, clinical psychologists, psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses, addiction counselors, licensed marriage and family therapists and pastoral counselors.

Additional information about RRSR is available at http://www.suicidology.org/web/guest/education-and-training/rrsr

The Virginia Department of Health will host 4 RRSR trainings in 2011. This training is for all mental health professionals, regardless of your place of work. Through a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) each training will be offered at no cost to 40 participants; the training is typically valued at $250. All training materials will be provided.
Continuing Education Credits are available for physicians/psychiatrists, social workers, counselors, and psychologist. Additional information about CEUs will be provided to registered participants prior to the training date.

The training will be from 8:30-4:45 both days. One hour will be given for lunch; meals will be "on your own".

Because of the demand for seats, please register only if you are able to attend the full two days, and are not 'on-call' for other duties during that time.
2010 Training Dates, Locations, and Registration:

February 28- March 1, 2011
Richmond, VA
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RRSRRichmond
April 12-13, 2011
Ashburn, VA
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RRSRNOVA
May 2-3, 2011
Virginia Beach, VA
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RRSRVABeach

September 19-20, 2011
Lynchburg, VA
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RRSRLynchburg