KEYNOTE: Kevin Briggs

Kevin Briggs

As an international Crisis Management, Suicide Prevention, and Leadership Skills presenter, Sergeant Kevin Briggs’ story and lived experiences have been featured in numerous publications and media presentations across the world. His first book, Guardian of the Golden Gate: Protecting the Line Between Hope and Despair, was released in July 2015.

Briggs is a retired California Highway Patrol officer who spent many years patrolling the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. While on patrol, he encountered numerous individuals clinging to life by a thread. Through his compassion, he encouraged more than 200 individuals over his career to choose life. These challenging, but rewarding efforts earned him the nickname “Guardian of the Golden Gate Bridge.” After a 23-year career with the California Highway Patrol, Briggs retired to dedicate his life to promote mental health awareness across the globe through Pivotal Points, an organization he founded to promote Crisis Management, Suicide Prevention, and Leadership Skills.

Briggs speaks publicly about not having the right kind of professional training to effectively assist persons in crisis when he first began work as a patrol officer. Throughout his career, he reached out to senior officers who had been in the trenches, asking for their guidance. He also sought various professional training avenues (including hostage negotiator training) to continue to improve his skills and abilities. Over time and using all the things he learned, Briggs found a positive way to approach people in crisis, using listening skills to find the “thread” that would encourage individuals to find hope for tomorrow and allow them to make the decision to live for another day.

Today, Briggs is mapping a movement as he speaks publicly about his suicide prevention and crisis encounters with people on the bridge. He shares his “Listening to Understand” skills followed up with key active listening points for anyone to use; his personal triad for healthy living; his RELEASE model to assist anyone in crisis; his crisis plan, and his personal mental health struggles while serving in the Army, as a police officer, as a cancer survivor, as a family member and father, and as a leader and co-worker.

Plenary: Carol G. Ruddell, M.Ed.

Carol Ruddell Headshot

Carol Ruddell is an Administrator in the Utah Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Substance Use and Mental Health, Suicide Prevention Program. Prior to joining the Office of Substance Use and Mental Health, Carol directed two federal research studies for improving the education, employment and self-sufficiency of people with disabilities, and was a teacher for 22 years. Carol is passionate about preventing suicide deaths through prevention, intervention and postvention to support individuals to live healthy, self-directed lives in their communities.

Laurie Bowen, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA

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Laurie Bowen has worked with and learned from individuals and families living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) for 21+ years. She serves as Associate Director for the Melisa Nellesen Center for Autism at UVU, focusing on Community Outreach. She oversees support programs designed for transition aged individuals with ASD, including Passages and Educational Coaching, among others. She also teaches in the Autism Studies program at UVU. She is a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst and is pursuing her PhD from University of Northern Colorado.

Jane Carlson, PhD, BCBA-D

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Dr. Carlson directs the Melisa Nellesen Center for Autism at UVU and has worked to support individuals with ASD and their families for 40 years. Dr. Carlson is a licensed clinical psychologist and BCBA-D and has supported individuals across the spectrum and across the lifespan. She has worked in non-profits, private and public schools, and as a consultant supporting evidence-based practice to support socially significant outcomes and good quality of life for autistic individuals and their families.

David (Davee) Chandler, LCSW

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Davee Chandler, LCSW has been continuously working as a therapist and clinical director in multiple treatment settings with children, adolescents, adults, couples and families for over 30 years. He has worked intensively with people who suffer from addiction, trauma, early childhood issues, and a variety of mental health challenges. In addition to his clinical work, Davee has a passion for teaching and enjoyed some 15 years as an adjunct instructor at Utah Valley University. While there, he was awarded Educator of the Year in 2000-2001 and 2005-2006.

Tamara Fackrell, JD, PhD

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Tamara A. Fackrell has been married to her high school sweetheart, Jake, for over twenty-five years, and together they have six children. An award-winning attorney-mediator who has been practicing family law for over twenty years, she has used mediation to help thousands of families. She was a professor at the J. Reuben Clark Law School for fourteen years. Tamara also received her Ph.D. in marriage, family, and human development so she could help with strengthening marriages and building families' resilience. She is a popular keynote speaker for workshops and national conferences, focusing on effective communication and conflict resolution in relationships. Her life's mission is to empower people throughout the world to strengthen their families and marriages.

Allison Foust, MHA, CHES

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Allison Foust, MHA, CHES, serves as the Suicide Prevention Administrator at the Utah Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Allison provides oversight for the state coalition, the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition, and the Utah Suicide Prevention State Plan. She works to guide and support state and community leaders and organizations by engaging them in evidence-based strategies proven to improve mental wellbeing and reduce suicide. In 2020, Allison assisted in the launch of Live On Utah- the first statewide suicide prevention campaign of its kind, and has been the Project Director for the lifetime of the campaign. Allison is a Certified Health Education Specialist and holds a Master’s degree in Health Administration from Weber State University.

Gina Hales, PhD

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Gina Hales has been a licensed mental health professional for 23 years and has focused her career on working with children, youth, and their families. She completed clinical internships at the Utah State Hospital (Children’s Unit) and at the Division of Child and Family Services (Special Needs Adoptions). After receiving her MSW she worked at her local public mental health center as a school-based therapist for two elementary schools, where she provided individual, group and family therapy, coordinated services between the mental health and education sectors, and implemented social and emotional learning (SEL) programs. She then worked at a residential treatment center for adolescents who had offended sexually, where she provided individual and group therapy for the youth, as well as family services such as family therapy and group family therapy. Gina also helped with program development and implementation, interfaced with the local high school where her clients attended, and studied the impacts of trauma on adolescent development.

For the last 12+ years, Gina has worked with a local company to provide training to educators about how to teach students SEL skills and how to be resilient. Most recently she has been enlisted to provide these trainings at prisons around the United States to both staff and inmates, which has been a very interesting and rewarding experience. In 2017, Gina completed a PhD in Educational Leadership Foundations. Her dissertation focused on SEL and how to engage parents in the process of learning SEL skills alongside their children. She currently serves on her local school board and has a passion for working with individuals and communities who have traditionally been underrepresented and underserved.

Gina has been married for 10+ years and has two young children. Her hobbies include spending time at the local rec center doing weightlifting and indoor cycling classes, finding great deals on Amazon for things she doesn’t really need, and trying to find time to sleep.

Taryn Hiatt

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As a dedicated advocate, Taryn shares her story and passion to give hope and educate our communities about suicide. She 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. 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. Taryn has used her lived experience and the loss of her father to suicide as a catalyst for change. She is widely respected throughout Utah for her hard work and dedication to saving lives. Taryn is a graduate of Utah Valley University with her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and was recently accepted into the MSW program at UVU.

Andrea Hood

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Andrea Hood is currently working for the Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health as a Prevention Program Manager overseeing the “Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education)” grant. This project targets three school districts to increase youth social and emotional learning skills, mental health literacy for all, and access to quality mental health services; while improving health policy and collaboration at the school district level. Andrea has worked in suicide prevention and mental health promotion field of public health since 2012.

Matt Jenkins, BS-Elementary Education

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Matt Jenkins has been involved in the field of education for 15 years. He is an alumnus of UVU, received a BS in Elementary Education in 2012, is a popular award-winning teacher in the Nebo School District, and has worked as a 3rd-grade teacher for over ten years.

Matt and his wife Kristin adopted their only child from DCFS at 11, giving him a front-row seat to the need for integration between academic and therapeutic support in school. Although Matt began his career working in secondary education, he soon realized that addressing gaps at the elementary level with the early intervention was where he could simultaneously make a difference in supporting academic and mental health.

Matt’s focus on a growth mindset in the classroom is what he attributes to his success as a teacher, which has allowed him to advocate for mental health support in the workplace and for teaching coping skills in the classroom. Matt’s first-hand, ongoing experience seeing children lacking the basic skills necessary to help them cope successfully in healthy ways has inspired him to devote himself personally and professionally to make a difference in this area; ensuring that the kids he teaches have opportunities to learn skills necessary to navigate challenges in a complex world.

Teg McBride, PhyD, ABP

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Dr. Teg McBride is a licensed psychologist, board certified in clinical psychology. He completed his schooling at Brigham Young and George Fox Universities. Dr. McBride retired from the US Air Force in Aug 2020 having served more than twenty years as a clinical and operational psychologist. He is proud to say that he has thrown up in many of our country’s high-performance aircraft. During his time in the military, Dr. McBride served in combat zones as a Command Psychologist in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Some unique things about Dr. McBride include his training as a hostage negotiator, his stealthy ability to egress an upside down helicopter underwater in the dark, his expert marksmanship, and his distinctive experience of treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder around the world. Of all his experiences, his favorite is being a husband and father. Dr. McBride is a co-founder of Fortizen.

James Stewart McGraw, PhD (ABD)

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James McGraw is a quantitative researcher and clinician at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) and the University of Maryland’s Prevention Research Center (UMD-PRC). His research focuses on suicide prevention, LGBTQ mental health, and religion/spirituality. He has a master’s degree in clinical psychology and is a 5th year doctoral student at BGSU.

Jordan Meyer, MCP

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Jordan received his BS, from Utah Valley University and an MA in Counseling Psychology from University of Denver. He has worked as a victim advocate for both Utah County Sheriff's office and Provo Police department where he provided legal support and emotional support to victims of crimes. He worked for a nonprofit in Denver Colorado providing counseling, survivor informed, and evidence based services to support and empower survivors of all forms of human trafficking. He holds an active license as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor(CMHC), providing therapeutic services focusing on self-esteem, identity, life satisfaction and hope in suffering. He currently serves as the Director of Davis County with Wasatch Family Therapy. He is also the creator and host of the “Becoming Un-stuck” Podcast.

Kaitlin Oliver, LCSW

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Kaitlin Oliver is a Program Manager in the Utah Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Substance Use and Mental Health, Crisis Services. Kaitlin is passionate about development and training for crisis workers across the state and manages Crisis Worker Certification. Before coming to work for the state, Kaitlin worked as a mobile crisis outreach worker, a Receiving Center crisis worker, and still works part time doing assessments in emergency departments.

Martin Roundy, MHC

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Martin Roundy, MHC has taught and trained for forty-five plus years. For twenty-three years Martin practiced as a psychotherapist with adult survivors of child sexual abuse. He has been at DCFS, as a consultant on childhood trauma; a trauma-informed specialist; and, most recently, a support specialist for parents whose children have been removed from their care. Martin & his wife, Judy, are parents of eight and grandparents of twenty-eight.

John Shumway, JD

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John Shumway is a Lawyer, but his passion is Human Resources. He graduated from BYU law school in 2006, and worked as an Assistant Attorney General in Wyoming representing Education Agencies. From there, John jumped into the world of Human Resources. He has been working in the HR field for over 12 years, developing HR tools with a focus on helping companies improve through employee engagement initiatives. John is a co-founder of Fortizen, which provides training and support to companies, aiming to improve their overall culture.

Katherine Supiano, PhD, LCSW, FGSA, FT, APHSW-C

Katherine Supiano Headshot

Kathie Supiano, PhD, LCSW, FGSA, FT, APHSW-C is an Associate Professor in the College of Nursing, and the director of Caring Connections: A Hope and Comfort in Grief Program at the University of Utah College of Nursing. She teaches Interdisciplinary Approaches to Palliative Care for graduate students in Pharmacy, Social Work and Nursing, and Geriatric Care Management. Dr. Supiano’s research is in clinical interventions in complicated grief, prevention of adverse grief outcomes, suicide survivorship, overdose grief and prison hospice. She has been a practicing clinical social worker and psychotherapist for over 40 years. Her clinical practice has included care of older adults with depression and multiple chronic health concerns, end-of-life care, and bereavement care. Dr. Supiano is a Fellow in the Gerontological Society of America, and a Fellow of Thanatology. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Social Work Hospice and Palliative Care Network, and the Board of Directors of Advanced Palliative Hospice Social Worker Certification Board. She received her PhD in Social Work at the University of Utah as a John A. Hartford Foundation Doctoral Fellow.

Tori Yeates, LCSW, MBA

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Tori Yeates, LCSW, MBA has been involved in the mental health field for nearly 20 years. She has worked with children, adolescents, and adults dealing with mental health and substance abuse issues in a variety of settings. Tori an employee of the Huntsman Mental Health Institute and is currently assigned to a local police agency as their in-house Social Worker where she and her team provide crisis intervention, suicide prevention, information, and referrals, as well as emotional support and assistance to individuals experiencing emotional distress or a psychiatric crisis.

Tori has also been closely involved with the HMHI Mobile Outreach Crisis Team (MOCT) and Supervised the Crisis Line and Warm Line for 7 years and was involved in the development and supervision of SafeUT. She is the Mental Health Coordinator for the Crisis Intervention Team’s [CIT] Metro program which is a training program where police officers learn how to interact with individuals with mental health issues and is the current President and Co-Chair of the Public Policy Committee with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), Utah Chapter.