Past Conferences

2019 UVU Conference on Suicide Prevention

Opening Keynote – Craig Miller – (Grande Ballroom - 9:00 am – 10:00 am)

Craig Miller is an author, speaker, and suicide attempt survivor. For years he struggled with OCD, extreme anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. After a suicide attempt at age 20, Craig became dedicated to understanding what led him to such a decision, and more importantly, how he could gain control of himself and his life to ensure it would never happen again. He published his first book in 2012 titled, This is How it Feels: A Memoir of Attempting Suicide and Finding Life. Craig and his story have been featured in dozens of media outlets, including the documentary, A Voice at the Table – and the full-length film ‘The S Word.’

Discovering and Developing Resiliency – Christian Moore, MSW, LCSW - (Ragan Theatre - 10:45 am – 11:45 am)

Resilience is a necessary and valuable tool for reducing suicide risk. Come and join internationally renowned speaker, social worker, and author, Christian Moore, as he leads an insightful discussion into discovering and developing resiliency. During this session, participants will be introduced to four sources of resilience that help people look at problems differently. These four sources are: Relational Resilience: The ability to draw motivation from the support of others and others’ dependence on you. Street Resilience: Using disrespect, discrimination, and mistakes as fuel to propel you forward in life. Resource Resilience: The recognition that resilience can be increased by accessing seen and unseen resources around you. Rock Bottom Resilience: The belief in your ability, even when you’re at your lowest point, to change your circumstances, combat hopelessness and fight on.

Social Attitudes Regarding Disabilities and Suicidal Ideation: Emily M. Lund, PhD, CRC (Centre Stage – 10:45 am – 11:45 am)

Researchers have consistently found that people with disabilities experience increased rates of suicidal thoughts and behaviors relative to those without disabilities. One possible reason for this alarming trend is the impact of social attitudes towards disability, particularly social attitudes toward suicide and disability. Research has found that people tend to view suicide as more “understandable”, “justified”, or “permissible” when a hypothetical suicidal individual has a disability than when they do not. Such social attitudes may need to be directly addressed and countered when working with individuals with disabilities who are experiencing suicidal ideation or have engaged in suicidal behaviors. This presentation will discuss these issues and provide evidence-based strategies for disability-affirmative gatekeeping, crisis and post-crisis support, and longer-term clinical support to individuals with disabilities who are experiencing suicidality.

The Effectiveness of Psychotherapy and Pharmacotherapy: Derrick Pickering, FNP-C, APRN; Esme Anderson FNP-BC, APRN, and Alison Warcup Psychiatric NP (SC 213AB – 10:45 am – 11:45 am)

It has been recommended by the American Psychiatric Association that, when psychotherapy is not progressing or when unipolar depression is severe, psychotherapy should be combined with pharmacotherapy. This is particularly true if one has suicidal ideation. The practice has been widely studied, and it has been found that the combination of psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy is more effective than either alone. Come and learn about the efficacy, uses, evidence-based treatment guidelines, side effects, and new treatments available. A question and answer session will be included, as well.

An Overview of the Importance of Crisis Response Action Planning: Lori Thorn, and Carrie Whitney (SC 206 ABC – 10:45 am – 11:45 am)

Join Lori and Carrie as they present an overview of the Crisis Response Action Plan developed in Alpine School District. In the event of a crisis (death of a student or teacher, etc.), there is a crisis response that happens at both the school and district levels simultaneously. Strength comes from this team approach. The presenters will share the unique structures in place within the Alpine School District, that have built the capacity of all service providers, expanding crisis response within the district.

Healing After Suicide Loss: A Survivor’s Perspective – Taryn Hiatt (Ragan Theatre – 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm)

During this session, participants will discuss why grief after suicide loss is different. Taryn will share common themes that survivors grapple with after suicide loss, as well as post-traumatic growth after loss – and when to seek professional help.

Best Practices: Reducing ACEs and Increasing Counter-ACEs: Ali Crandall, Ph.D., MPH (Centre Stage – 12:00 pm– 1:00 pm)

Over the past two decades, a number of studies have shown a relationship between (ACEs) and worse adult physical and mental health, non-suicidal self-injury, and suicide attempts. Less well understood is how advantageous childhood experiences (counter-ACEs) may lead to better adult health, even in the presence of adversity. Recently, a team of researchers from Brigham Young University and United Way examined how counter-ACEs and ACEs affect adult physical and mental health. This presentation will cover three main areas. 1) An overview of the results from the recent BYU counter-ACE study (and its application to suicidality); 2) A discussion of how these results can be applied to practice settings (e.g., county health departments, counseling, and therapy, non-profits, etc.) and in the community; and 3) Provide a synthesis of some best practice efforts to reduce ACEs and increase counter-ACEs. Ultimately, participants will come away from the session with an understanding of practical solutions to addressing adverse childhood experiences and a hopeful approach to reducing mental illnesses and suicidality.

For Every Dark Night, There’s a Brighter Day: Koki Cline, LCSW and Sierra Brown (SC 213 AB – 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm)

Koki and Sierra met five years ago during her 9th-grade year. She shares her powerful story as an adult survivor of childhood abuse and neglect, a suicide loss survivor, and a suicide attempt survivor. Her message is one of resilience, hope, and recovery. The presentation covers lessons learned through both the lens of Sierra and her family - and Koki, a mental health professional. In this Q&A format, Sierra and Koki will cover topics such as coping strategies, help-seeking, clinical work with loss survivors, trauma and suicide, and overcoming barriers for treatment.    

Suicide Prevention in the Workplace: What Can You Do? : Marla Brannum, CHES (SC 206 ABC – 12:00pm – 1:00pm)

We spend at least 40 hours each week at work. It’s almost a ‘home away from home.’ When we’re struggling with emotional mental or environmental issues in our personal lives, we don’t leave it at the door when we get to work. So how do we handle it? The struggle is real, and the suicide rates prove this with working adult men having the highest rates of suicide. With that in mind, what can be done in the workplace? Come learn what tools are available and some methods to help address suicide prevention in the workplace.

Afternoon Plenary Session – Anna Straussman Mueller, Ph.D. – (Grande Ballroom - 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm)

Anna S. Mueller, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at Indiana University. Using both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, Mueller’s research examines (1) the mechanisms that drive suicide contagion; (2) the social roots of adolescent suicide; and (3) the experience of suicide bereavement in adolescence. Her research on youth suicide has won numerous awards for its contribution to knowledge, including the Eliot Friedson Outstanding Publication Award from the American Sociological Association. Her research can be read in the American Sociological Review, Social Science & Medicine, the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, the American Journal of Public Health, among others. For more information on Dr. Mueller, visit her website: www.annasmueller.com

Understanding the Empirical Research on Religion, Sexuality, and Suicide – James S. McGraw, CPD (Ragan Theatre – 3:15 pm – 4:15 pm)

In late 2015 through 2016, there were a number of highly publicized deaths by suicide by young gay men (ages 17-28) who were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Their deaths were linked by media outlets, at least in part, to the conflict between their sexual and religious identities. Those events re-sparked the debate about the potentially harmful role that religion can play in suicidality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and same-sex attracted (LGBQ/SSA) persons. However, to date, no quantitative empirical research has been published on the prevalence or predictors of suicidality among Latter-day Saint LGBQ/SSA individuals. In this presentation, Mr. McGraw will discuss how religion can be both a protective and risk factor for queer folk. He will then describe some of the religious protective and risk factors and recommendations for clinicians, as they relate to these populations – and what we STILL don’t know.

Good Postvention is Prevention – Amy Mikkelsen, MPH, CPH, and Allison Whitworth, MHA, CHES (Centre Stage – 3:15 pm – 4:15 pm)

When someone dies by suicide, their family, loved ones, and communities are often forever changed. There is growing evidence that suicides also shake schools, workplaces, places of worship, and communities. The State of Utah is in the process of developing a Postvention Plan for communities to utilize after a suicide death occurs. In this session, Amy and Allison will discuss how good postvention is good prevention, strategies to reduce risk factors, and how to promote healing in communities.

Co-morbidities Related to Increased Suicide Risk – Erin McGlade, Ph.D.; Kathryn LaBore, Ph.D., Margaret Legarreta, Ph.D. (SC 213 AB – 3:15 pm – 4:15 pm)

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US and one of the top health care priorities for the Department of Veterans Affairs. While the etiology of suicidal behaviors remains difficult to identify, research shows that psychiatric symptoms and chronic illness relate to increased suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and death by suicide. During this presentation, the presenters will discuss three studies examining co-morbidities related to increased suicide risk within the veteran population: aggression, anxiety sensitivity, and chronic pain.

ABFT (attachment-based family therapy): 5 Treatment Tasks Quintin Hunt, PhD, LMFT (SC 206ABC – 3:15pm – 4:15pm)

ABFT is an empirically supported treatment successfully applied to depressed and suicidal adolescents and several other difficult-to-treat populations. This presentation will begin with a brief introduction to ABFT and its five treatment tasks: reframing the problem relationally, building an alliance with the patient, building an alliance with the parents, resolving core conflicts, and supporting autonomy Following this, the presenter will show video demonstrating the tasks and (time permitting) engage the participants in a discussion about barriers and specific challenges they may have.

Working with Trans Population in the Schools: Supporting and Understanding Trans and Non-Binary Identities – Kristopher Packer, MEd (Grande Ballroom – 3:15 pm – 4:15 pm)

During this session, Kristopher will present information on working with Transgender and other LGBTQ populations in the school system. While solutions may differ by district, any compassionate discussion must begin with correct information. This presentation highlights the importance of the proper gender etiquette for transgender persons to prevent the worsening of dysphoria, and create awareness of the various statistics on suicidal ideation according to gender identity and social stresses. An overview of the types of transition (internal, social, and medical) is given, along with information about ‘choice’ regarding trans identities and the basics of speaking about trans issues to different audiences.

2018 UVU Conference on Suicide Prevention

Opening Keynote – Taryn Aiken Hiatt – (Grande Ballroom - 9 am – 10:00 am)

As a dedicated advocate, Taryn shares her story and passion for giving hope and educating our communities about suicide. She is a survivor of her attempts, as well as a survivor of suicide loss - losing her father, Terry Aiken on October 5, 2002. Taryn is a founding member of the Utah Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and currently serves as the Area Director for Utah and Nevada. She is a certified safeTALK, CONNECT Postvention, and Mental Health First Aid Trainer, facilitating hundreds of seminars to many different groups. Taryn is a passionate advocate for change and has been featured in both US News and The Huffington Post. She has testified before Congressional Members in Washington DC to increase awareness and support for better access to mental health services and to promote healthy discussions about suicide. She is widely respected throughout Utah for her hard work and dedication to saving lives. Taryn is a recent graduate of Utah Valley University with her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Suicide Prevention Messaging: Jenny Johnson, CHES and Kimberly Myers, MSW - (Ragan Theatre - 10:15 am – 11:15 am)

Suicide impacts every community in Utah. Preliminary data from the Utah Department of Health showed more than 600 Utahans died from suicide in 2017. Youth suicides increased 141.3% since 2015, compared to an increase of 23.5% nationally – and is now the leading cause of death for Utah youth aged 10-17. We, as a community, all play a part in decreasing these preventable deaths, and none of us can do it alone. The way in which we talk about suicide is a powerful tool that can either increase risk among vulnerable individuals or promote resiliency, encourage help-seeking, publicize prevention successes, and encourage actions that help prevent suicide. Join Jenny and Kim as they lead participants through the do’s and don’ts of suicide prevention messaging. They will walk through case studies of Utah-specific media coverage of suicide deaths, and share information on how to best communicate about suicide to positively affect the behavior of individuals who may be considering suicide.

Means Safety Counseling – A 4-Phase Approach: Kent Hinkson, Ph.D. (SC 206ABC – 10:15 am – 11:15 am)

Across nations, cultures, and methods, lethal means safety procedures are associated with significant reductions in overall suicide rates. This presentation will provide an introduction on a means safety counseling approach following four general phases: engaging (i.e., establishing a relationship with the patient), focusing (i.e., raising the issue of means safety in a nonthreatening, nonjudgmental way), evoking (i.e., eliciting the patient’s reasons for enhancing safety), and planning (i.e., identifying options for increasing safety). The training will also focus on the use of open-ended questions aimed at guiding patients to identify and discuss their reasons for engaging in means safety, which reduces the likelihood of experiencing power struggles or defensiveness. This breakout will provide a discussion on the range of options, including the use of gun locks, gun safes, and/or complete removal of the method from the home.

Systemic Clinical Interventions for Suicidal Youth - Amber Willis, Ph.D., LMFT (Centre Stage – 10:15 am – 12:30 pm

This workshop is designed to offer clinicians an intensive systemic perspective on treating youth with suicidal ideation or behaviors. The workshop will provide strategies for suicide assessment and prevention interventions with the individual client, parents/family, and community. Case scenarios will be provided to deepen participants' understanding and skill application. Participants will be given the opportunity to ask questions related to the challenges they have had while working with suicidal teens and engage in an open dialogue on strategies for overcoming barriers that often arise while treating this population.

Navigating Community Focused Suicide Prevention Programs and Evidence-based Clinical Trainings: Leah Colburn, CMHC (SC 213AB – 10:15 am – 11:15 am)

Join Carrie as she introduces a highly effective intervention and treatment technique, Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART), which is used to successfully treat many of the issues and symptoms experienced in suicidal ideation. Those surviving loss due to suicide can also benefit, as can those experiencing depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental conditions. ART is a form of psychotherapy, with roots in existing evidence-based therapies – but shown to achieve benefits more rapidly (usually within 1-5 sessions). Participants will learn what ART is and how it can benefit clients.

Possible Patterns and Risk Factors - Sam Brucker (Ragan Theatre – 11:30 am – 12:30 pm)

Join Sam as she presents current research into possible patterns that have been indicated to correlate to higher rates of suicide, and how these patterns may pertain to the Mountain States. She will also discuss broad categories of risk factors and state-level interventions that the public and policymakers should consider when formulating policies pertaining to suicide.

Caring Contacts and Safety Planning - Andrea Hood (SC 213 AB – 11:30 am – 12:30 pm)

Caring contacts and safety planning are two brief and effective suicide prevention interventions that can be implemented in a variety of settings: schools, healthcare, counseling, peer support, etc. This presentation will introduce the research that shows the efficacy of these two strategies and will provide instruction, tips, and practice to prepare participants to do these interventions well.

Chronic Pain and Suicidal Behavior: Margaret Lagarreta, Ph.D. and Deboray Yurgelun-Todd, Ph.D. (SC 213AB – 10:15 am – 12:30 pm)

Individuals who experience chronic pain report 2-3 times as much suicidal ideation as those without chronic pain. It has been reported that 17% to 66% of individuals with chronic pain will have serious suicidal thoughts (Edwards, et al. 2006; Cheatle, 2011). Participants will be guided through recent research conducted by the Salt Lake City VA, showing an association between chronic pain and suicide behavior – which is partially mediated by social connectedness. This research may help inform treatment for suicidal behaviors for veterans (and others) with pain.

Afternoon Plenary Session – Michael J. Staley, Ph.D. – (Grande Ballroom - 1:50 pm – 2:50 pm)

Michael J. Staley is the Suicide Prevention Research Coordinator and Psychological Autopsy Examiner at the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner. Staley's current research focuses on 10 to 17-year-old Utahans who died by suicide in the previous two years. This research aims to develop a specific set of risk and protective factors that will inform and guide prevention efforts in schools, communities, and throughout the state.

Aligning Substance Abuse and Suicide Prevention - Heidi Peterson, CPS, and Kimball Gardner, JD (Ragan Theatre - 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm)

This session will explore the correlation between the prevention of substance abuse and suicide. As we work to reduce these negative outcomes, Kim and Heidi will examine shared risk and protective factors and the importance of working upstream. This approach will enable us to create opportunities for effective and sustainable collaborative strategies.This session will explore the correlation between the prevention of substance abuse and suicide. As we work to reduce these negative outcomes, Kim and Heidi will examine shared risk and protective factors and the importance of working upstream. This approach will enable us to create opportunities for effective and sustainable collaborative strategies.

Global Innovations in Suicide Prevention Using Technology: What Has Worked? – Angelea Panos, Ph.D. and Patrick Panos, Ph.D. (Centre Stage – 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm)

This research-based presentation will look at the global rates of suicide by country and the effectiveness of the latest, new technology-assisted strategies to prevent suicide. The many types of technological interventions will be discussed, and their outcomes evaluated. From reaching out to a depressed Australian Aboriginal Elder to saving a young stressed-out high school student in Seoul, the use of new technologies to address this serious problem has some interesting results.

Laura Skaggs Dulin, MS, LAMFT (SC 213 AB – 3:00pm – 4:00pm)

Despite persistent social discrimination and stigma, LGBTQ people continue to find ways to both survive and thrive. In this session, we’ll explore common LGBTQ strengths and how helping professionals can cue into them as a resource for suicide prevention. Strengths such as “chosen families,” post-traumatic growth in compassion/sensitivity for others, a queer perspective to see things differently, the resiliency of sexual orientation, and the power of telling our authentic stories, will all be discussed. Together we’ll then take a look at commonly experienced traumas, rejections, and losses within LGBTQ individual social support systems and identities. We’ll then explore how queer strengths can be applied at such times to help LGBTQ individuals better navigate trauma and recover from losses. Additional therapeutic interventions that can also help facilitate mental health and suicide prevention will then also be explained, such as Family Therapy informed by Family Acceptance Project Research, Dispelling Internalized Stigma, and Positive Identity integration of being LGBTQ as well as EMDR therapy to address symptoms of spiritual trauma.

Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART): Carrie J. Carter-Reall, MS, MEd (SC 206ABC – 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm)

Adolescent self-injury is a serious issue. It is the leading predictor of borderline personality issues and suicide completion. Dr. White will share the results of her recent study contrasting mothers of self-injuring depressed adolescents with a non-clinical group in the areas of emotional regulation, parenting, and conflict discussion. The study findings are contextualized in terms of coercion and biosocial theory and contribute to social work knowledge of human development – particularly theories emphasizing environmental factors of psychopathology.

2017 UVU Conference on Suicide Prevention

Opening Keynote – Sally Spencer-Thomas, Ph.D. – (Grande Ballroom - 9 am – 10:00 am)

Suicide is an international tragedy, and communities around the world are pulling together to prevent its devastating impact. As a psychologist, mental health advocate, and survivor of her brother’s suicide, Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas sees the problem of suicide from many perspectives. In her presentation, “Be a Shining Light of Hope,” Dr. Spencer-Thomas offers participants inspiration and a solid understanding of the personal and community issues surrounding suicide as she guides listeners through her journey from bereavement to activist. Positioning suicide as a social justice issue, she empowers everyday citizens to get involved in the “suicide prevention movement.” By giving many examples of community-level action, she teaches participants strategies that can shift culture, increase help-seeking, and ultimately save lives. She leaves the audience with three core elements for creating change: start with yourself, instill hope, and engage a wider circle in the efforts of suicide prevention.

Creating Safety During a Suicidal Crisis: Kimberly Myers, MSW - (Ragan Theatre - 10:15 am – 11:15 am)

Join Kim as she discusses the role of means reduction in suicide prevention. She will discuss the role of restricting access to lethal means, and how to openly discuss the removal of means as part of comprehensive safety/treatment planning. Participants will also learn examples of how to partner with the firearm community in suicide prevention activities. 
This session is appropriate for all audiences.

The Risk and Warning Signs of Suicide: Emily Hoerner (Centre Stage – 10:15 am – 11:15 am)

Emily will share foundational information on the general scope of suicide, the current research on prevention, and what each of us can do to help. This is a perfect introductory session for those who want a basic understanding and context. Participants will learn what suicide is, who it affects, the risk and warning signs, and what steps can be taken to prevent it. 
This session is appropriate for all audiences.

Overdose in Utah: Heather E. Bush and Meghan M. Bolough (SC 206 ABC – 10:15 am – 11:15 am)

Between 2013 and 2015, Utah ranked 7th in the US for drug poisoning deaths. Every month, 24 Utahans die from prescription opioid overdoses. This session will review current efforts to combat this epidemic. Heather and Meghan will help participants understand overdose and how to prevent, recognize, and respond to an overdose situation. 
This session is appropriate for all audiences.

Crisis Response Planning for Suicidal Persons: Kent D. Hinkson, Jr (SC 213AB – 10:15 am – 12:30 pm)

This extended session workshop (2 hours – ending at 12:15 pm), will enhance participants’ knowledge about crisis response planning (CRP) and increase their ability to administer the CRP with at-risk individuals. The workshop will provide information about suicide, the development and empirical support of CRP intervention, and include a demonstration. Participants will leave this workshop with a better understanding of how to respond to an individual’s endorsement of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, how to assist them in identifying when they need help, and what to do when they recognize those triggers. 

This is an EXTENDED WORKSHOP SESSION lasting 2 hours (10:15 am – 12:30 pm). Please be advised that attendance throughout the entire workshop is recommended. This workshop is appropriate for all audiences but particularly helpful for those professionals seeking foundational information.

Hope Illuminated: Community Solutions to Suicide Prevention - Sally Spencer-Thomas, Ph.D. (Ragan Theatre – 11:30 am – 12:30 pm)

In this presentation, Dr. Spencer-Thomas will highlight several strategies that are considered best practices in suicide prevention, including “upstream” approaches of building resiliency and mental health literacy, “midstream” approaches of early identification and referral, and “downstream” approaches such as means restriction and crisis response. Participants will be introduced to at least three key strategies necessary to a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention, and best practices for responding to a suicide crisis. Dr. Spencer-Thomas will also compare a ‘fear-based’ approach to suicide intervention, with a collaborative and empowering approach. 
This session is appropriate for all audiences.

Identifying At-Risk Youth and Taking Steps for Mitigation: Lisa Giles, MD, and Tammer Attallah, LCSW (Centre Stage – 11:30 am – 12:30 pm)

Identifying at-risk youth and taking steps to mitigate or eliminate those risks is a crucial element of suicide prevention. However, national studies find that only 40-50% of mental health profession graduate students receive formal training in suicide risk assessment and management – and nearly 90% of mental health professionals would like to improve their competence in this area. This presentation will highlight the strengths and opportunities of current suicide assessment approaches, as well as limitations and weaknesses. Dr. Giles and Ms. Attallah will also discuss trainings available through Intermountain HealthCare, and seek input from participants on perceived training gaps and how to most effectively fill them. 
This session is most appropriate for mental health professionals with an advanced/practiced level of understanding.

Risk Factors and Prevention Methods When Working With Latino Populations in Utah: Jacqueline Gomez-Arias (SC 206 ABC – 11:30 am – 12:30 pm)

After a first attempt at suicide at age 19, Jacqueline survived another three attempts over the next 25 years. Why did it take so long to receive help, and what can we know and do to prevent this type of treatment delay? Join Jacqueline – the Executive Director for Latino Behavioral Health Services - as she takes you through her own story of survival, and analyzes what was done – and what could have been done – to prevent further deterioration of her own mental health. What were the systems involved doing that wasn’t helpful – and what should have been done instead? Why didn’t the support of medical, ecclesiastic, and family systems work – and what finally did? Recovery is real, and it can work – but does it have to take longer for Latino or LBGTQ populations to get there? 
This session is appropriate for all audiences.

**CONTINUING WORKSHOP ** Crisis Response Planning for Suicidal Persons: Kent D. Hinkson, Jr (SC 213AB – 10:15 am – 12:30 pm)

This extended session workshop (2 hours – ending at 12:15 pm), will enhance participants’ knowledge about crisis response planning (CRP) and increase their ability to administer the CRP with at-risk individuals. The workshop will provide information about suicide, the development and empirical support of CRP intervention, and include a demonstration. Participants will leave this workshop with a better understanding of how to respond to an individual’s endorsement of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, how to assist them in identifying when they need help, and what to do when they recognize those triggers. 

This is an EXTENDED WORKSHOP SESSION lasting 2 hours (10:15 am – 12:30 pm). Please be advised that attendance throughout the entire workshop is recommended. This workshop is appropriate for all audiences but particularly helpful for those professionals seeking foundational information.

Afternoon Plenary Session – J.C. Graham, MSW, LCSW – (Grande Ballroom - 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm)

J.C. Graham is the director of Crisis Services at Utah Valley University. She is a licensed clinical social worker in the state of Utah. J.C. earned her master of social work degree from George Williams College of Aurora University in Aurora, Illinois. She received a bachelor of social work degree from Utah State University. She also teaches social work courses and loves mentoring future social workers. J.C. will share her very personal journey with conference participants, and relate the efforts made to help her that did – and did not – work. She lives by the motto; the best revenge is living life well. She is indeed a survivor – and is truly living a life filled with meaning and purpose. Her message of hope, mixed with a clear understanding of therapies and methods used to address suicidal ideology, provides participants motivation to be strong and never, ever give up.

Afternoon Session Three – Lived Experience and Peer Support – Ginger Lenore Phillips, CPSS and Brian Neilson, CPSS (Ragan Theatre - 2:45 pm – 3:45 pm)

Lived experience and peer support are essential to the healing process. Both Ginger and Brian are not only survivors of people who died from suicide but have survived their own suicide attempts. They believe in recovery for all people. Through their personal journey and struggle, they have come to find peer support to be one of the biggest assets to people having suicidal thoughts and actions. They will discuss what Certified Peer Support Specialists (CPSS) do in the state and the vital role they play. By sharing their stories, they hope to help others believe in the possibility (and reality) of recovery. 

This session may be of interest to all audience members but will be most effective for those with an advanced/ proficient/practiced level of experience.

Afternoon Session three – The VITAL Program – D. Aaron, Ahern, Ph.D. (Centre Stage – 2:45 pm – 3:45 pm)

High rates of mental health disorders and suicide are well documented among returning Veterans – particularly those in rural areas who may not have appropriate health or mental health care treatment options. The VITAL Program is uniquely poised to serve as a mechanism for effective suicide prevention. By providing outreach from one veteran to another, the program can break down the obstacles and stigma sometimes associated with help-seeking. Veterans are given access to resources on local campuses and are also provided mental health treatment. VITAL can address the risk factors for suicide preemptively by proactively reaching out to veterans, and helping them to overcome obstacles in their path to success. Dr. Ahern will review this program, and how participants can utilize it for their loved ones and/or veterans/clients they may work with. 
This session is appropriate for all audiences.

Correlations Between Suicide and Opiate Use Disorders: VaRonica Little, LCSW (SC 206 ABC – 2:45 pm – 3:45 pm)

This presentation will discuss the higher risk of suicide in substance users and discuss comorbidity with opiate use disorders and suicide rates. VaRonica will overview what defines substance use disorders, and the rates of dual diagnosis. She will cover information on the prevalence of opioid misuse and use disorders in the nation, and in the state of Utah specifically. Participants will learn about correlations between those who attempt/complete suicide – and those with substance use disorders – with information on treatment options and evidence-based practices that can be used to treat those at risk in both areas. 
This session will be most effective for professionals with an intermediate/moderate level of experience.

Examining Characteristics of Mother-Daughter Relationships and Adolescent Self-Injury: Melinda White, Ph.D. (SC 213 AB – 2:45 pm – 3:45 pm)

Adolescent self-injury is a serious issue. It is the leading predictor of borderline personality issues and suicide completion. Dr. White will share the results of her recent study contrasting mothers of self-injuring depressed adolescents with a non-clinical group in the areas of emotional regulation, parenting, and conflict discussion. The study findings are contextualized in terms of coercion and biosocial theory and contribute to social work knowledge of human development – particularly theories emphasizing environmental factors of psychopathology. 
This session will be most effective for professionals with a proficient/advanced/practiced level of experience.

Utah State Legislative Update: Senator Dan Thatcher and Utah State Representative Steve Eliason (Grande Ballroom – 2:45 to 3:45 pm)

Join Utah State Senator Dan Thatcher and Representative Steve Eliason for an overview of current state efforts regarding Suicide Prevention. Come and learn about future efforts in our state, federal updates, future legislation, and the concept of an EMT equivalent certification in behavioral and mental health. There will also be an opportunity for Q&A. 
This session is appropriate for all audiences.

2016 UVU Conference on Suicide Prevention

Opening Keynote – General Jeff Burton

Major General Jeff Burton was appointed Adjutant General of the Utah National Guard in October 2012. Burton is responsible for the readiness and training of 7,300 Soldiers and Airmen. He commanded the 1457th Engineer Combat Battalion from 2002 to 2005, during which time his unit served in Iraq and participated in the initial ground war, conducting IED-defeat and route-clearance missions. Burton attended Brigham Young University's Reserve Officer Training Corps, where he commissioned in 1984 as the distinguished military graduate. In 1986, he earned a bachelor's degree in Sociology from the State University of New York. He has since earned two master's degrees: one in Educational Counseling from the University of Phoenix and the other in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College. General Burton will share his experience of serving in the military and of being a survivor of suicide loss. He will discuss why suicide prevention has significant meaning in his life, and what he hopes for in the future of the military and our communities.

Morning Session One – Risk Factors and Warning Signs for Suicide Among Military and Veteran Populations, Kent D. Hinkson, Jr., Julia Harris, Erika Roberge, and Andrea Wolfe-Clarke

While there is no single cause for suicide, identifying warning signs and/or risk factors is a task that researchers and clinicians have been working on for decades. Notably, one of the main distinctions between a risk factor for suicide and a warning sign is the temporal nature of risk; warning signs serve to identify those who are at imminent risk of killing themselves, risk factors serve to identify those who might be at long-term risk, or vulnerable to suicidality. Further, warning signs are visible signals to outside individuals rather than internal symptoms. It is important to consider the presence of both risk factors and warning signs in the assessment of suicide risk. This presentation will cover risks factors and warning signs as they pertain to military and veteran populations, delve deeper into using psychological disorders as a risk factor, discuss the common myth that military deployments are a risk factor for suicide and/or post-traumatic stress disorder (evidence suggests that it does not seem contrary to common belief), introduce the Fluid Vulnerability Theory of suicide risk assessment, and present statistics on military/veteran suicide screening as informed by a number of studies and clinical trials conducted across the country by the National Center for Veteran Studies at the University of Utah.

Morning Session Two – Understanding Co-Morbid Disorders and the Relationship to Suicide, Cameron R. John, Ph.D., and Lacy A. Bentley

Research into the phenomenon of suicide continues to expand our understanding regarding specific contributors. Recent research has explored the implications of maladaptive perfectionism as one of those contributors. In some, perfectionistic pressures reveal vulnerabilities that can contribute to suicidal thoughts and behaviors. This relationship will be explored in the presentation. The effects of internal perfectionistic pressure on high-achieving students will also be addressed. Participants will be invited to explore signs of at-risk students and how to approach them.

Afternoon Session Three – Enduring without Fanning the Flames of Suffering, Matthew R. Draper, Ph.D., Brooke Bradford, and Alexa Malena

David Foster Wallace, a noted author and public intellectual, once offered a powerful metaphor for compassionately relating to those who suffer unto suicide. He likens the daily pain of living with severe depression to standing in a burning high rise with no escape except for jumping, and the terror both options (the fire and the jump) entail. The presenters will respectfully share his perspective and discuss the validity of what he is saying when compassionately relating to suicidal clients. They will gently critique his perspective and note that sometimes when we suffer, we set more fires for ourselves than those just being in the world provides. This session will offer a mindset for therapists to teach their clients about coping with the fires of suffering incumbent with being and how they can stop adding to the fire with the ways they think and relate to others.

Afternoon Session Four – After a Parent’s Suicide Effectively Supporting Children and Youth, Suzanne Bennett

For a child, the death of a parent has both immediate and long-lasting implications and brings with it intense sadness, loss of nurturing support, and multiple life changes. Parent death by suicide is particularly difficult. It can leave a surviving child especially vulnerable and at risk for internalizing behaviors, lower self-esteem, higher levels of anger and shame, depressive symptoms, and an increased risk for self-harm. While there are abundant resources for children experiencing grief, minimal practical resources exist specifically for children who grieve their parent’s suicide—despite the significant need. Suzanne will discuss her current research study investigating which resources, assistance, and actions were most helpful following a parent’s suicide. She will summarize and share the information discovered to assist parents, psychologists, educators, and other helping professionals to more fully understand the childhood experiences of those bereaved by their parent’s suicide.

Closing Plenary Session – Zero Suicide: A Utah and National Imperative, Kimberly Myers, MSW, and Taryn Aiken

This session will discuss the Zero Suicide Initiative both as National Push and as a Utah initiative. A key concept of the 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, and a priority of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, the Zero Suicide Initiative states that suicide deaths for individuals under care within health and behavioral health systems are preventable. It presents both a bold goal and an aspirational challenge. The programmatic approach of Zero Suicide is based on the realization that suicidal individuals often fall through cracks in a fragmented and sometimes distracted health care system. A systematic approach to quality improvement in these settings is both available and necessary but cannot be borne solely by the practitioners providing clinical care. Zero Suicide requires a system-wide approach to improve outcomes and close gaps. Join Kimberly and Taryn as they discuss the challenge and implementation of a Zero Suicide approach, and how we can all be part of the solution.