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Pennsylvania’s 2019 Annual Suicide Prevention Conference
800 E Park Dr
Harrisburg, PA 17111 United States
TIME: 9:00 AM

event details

May 1 & 2, 2019
Best Western Premier
 800 E Park Drive
 Harrisburg, PA 17111


“Leading the Way to Change for Suicide Prevention in Pennsylvania”

About the Conference

You are invited to participate in a conference designed to meet the needs of professionals, survivors and interested parties who would like to know more about suicide prevention, intervention, and meeting the needs of suicide survivors.  This event is specifically designed to meet the diverse interests and needs of attendees, while creating a powerful opportunity for networking, learning, and developing techniques to prevent suicide in the community and the Commonwealth, as well as meet the needs of those who have survived the loss of a loved one by suicide.  This conference is sponsored by PA Department of Human Services – OMHSAS (Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services) and Drexel University College of Medicine.

Keynote Speakers

Frank R. Campbell Ph.D., LCSW, C.T.
Making Meaning from the Suicide of a Loved One.  Dr. Frank Campbell is the Executive Director Emeritus of the Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention Center, where he has developed the first National Training Center for Suicidology (NSTC) in 2018.  He is also Senior Consultant for Campbell and Associates Consulting where he consults with communities on Active Postvention efforts and Forensic Suicidology cases.  During his more than thirty years of working with those bereaved by suicide, Dr. Campbell introduced his Active Postvention Model (APM) in 1997, which is most commonly known as the LOSS Team (Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors).  His work with survivors and victims of trauma has been featured in three Discovery Channel documentaries. Dr. Campbell is a past-president of the American Association of Suicidology, and a recipient of both national and international awards for his contributions in suicide prevention.  To learn more about Dr. Campbell’s work in the field of Suicidology, you can visit his website

John Draper, PH.D
Changing the Conversation from Suicide to Suicide Prevention: Messages that Can Save Lives. With nearly 25 years of experience in crisis intervention and suicide prevention work, Dr. Draper is considered one of the nation’s leading experts in crisis intervention and crisis contact center practices (hotline, online chat, SMS services, etc.). Dr. Draper serves as Project Director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network, which consists of over 160 member crisis centers across the country. Dr. Draper’s keynote presentation will focus on how positive public health messaging can prevent suicide, and how we all can apply it to amplify our suicide prevention efforts in communities nationwide. Dr. Draper will provide an overview of the importance of messaging for two audiences: Persons in Suicidal Crisis and Persons who can help them (everyone). He will provide examples of the Lifeline’s messaging initiatives, in collaboration with the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, and how you and your organization can get involved.

Annual Conference Goals and Objectives
The goal of the Pennsylvania 2019 Annual Suicide Prevention Conference is to provide a forum for those who share an interest in preventing suicide across the life span, including physicians, psychologists, nurses, social workers, clinicians, educators, and clergy, crisis center staff and volunteers, as well as those who have lost a loved one to suicide or had their own suicidal experience to meet and share information about suicide, suicidal persons, and the repercussions of suicide. At the end of the conference, participants should be able to:

  1. Identify and assess psychological risk factors for suicidal behavior across the life span to improve outcomes and reduce the incidence of suicidal behavior.
  2. Describe the opportunities and challenges of implementing suicide prevention within the greater community setting to increase participation and contributions to the community at-large.
  3. Describe the impact of suicide on survivors to improve care to those who have lost a loved one to suicide.
  1. Describe techniques that individuals can use in situations involving persons who are verbalizing suicidal ideation to question, persuade and refer them to appropriate treatment opportunities.


Who should attend?

Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Mental Health Providers, Physicians, Researchers, Social Workers, Educators, Loss and Attempt Survivors, Task Forces, Peer Support agencies, Nurses, Youth and Aging agencies, Residential Providers, Community Leaders, Veterans,


We will be providing continuing education from Drexel University for a fee of $35.00 to be paid when you register. Participants are eligible for 5.25 hours of continuing education (CE) on Day 1 of the conference, and 4.00 credit hours of CE on Day 2 of the Conference.  In total, participants can earn between 9.25 CE hours.  Below you will find the accreditation statements.


PCB (PA Certified Addictions Counselor): Drexel University College of Medicine, Behavioral Healthcare Education will award a maximum of 9.25 PCB Approved Hours of Education for this Conference. Our program is certified by the Pennsylvania Certification Board, Provider # 133.

PA Educators Act 48: Drexel University College of Medicine, Behavioral Healthcare Education is recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to offer continuing education credits under Act 48 guidelines. Drexel University College of Medicine, Behavioral Healthcare Education adheres to Act 48 Continuing Education Guidelines. PA educators will receive a maximum of 9.25     hours of credit for this Conference.

American Psychological Association (APA): Drexel University College of Medicine, Behavioral Healthcare Education is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Drexel University College of Medicine, Behavioral Healthcare Education maintains responsibility for the program and its content. This program is being offered for up to 9.25 hours of continuing education.

LSW/LCSW/LPC/LMFT (PA SBSWE Licensed Social Workers in Pennsylvania): Drexel University College of Medicine is a pre-approved provider of continuing education for Social Workers and Clinical Social Workers. This program is being offered for up to 9.25 hours of continuing education for this Conference.

*Note: Completed validation sheets must be turned in at the conference on your last day.  Continuation credit certificates will be sent approximately 10 weeks after the conference from Drexel University College of Medicine. No certificates will be re-issued after the conference.


Wednesday, May 1, 2019

7:30-8:30 am:            Registration & Continental Breakfast 

8:30 am:                       Prevent Suicide PA Updates

8:45 am:                       Opening Remarks

9:00 – 10:30 am        Keynote: “Making Meaning from the Suicide of a Loved One Frank R. Campbell Ph.D., LCSW, C.T.  This presentation will consider the challenges of finding hope for a positive meaning from a devastating loss.  Suicide carries a significant stigma and the impact of this are often unknown to most of us until a death by suicide becomes a reality.  By attending to survivors as close to the time of death as possible and pointing them toward help the newly bereaved are helped earlier and spend less time in the dangerous “Canyon of Why.”  For more than thirty years Dr. Campbell has navigated this canyon with both newly bereaved and longtime survivors of suicide. Dr. Campbell’s goal in this presentation is to share what he has learned that can be of real assistance to those who are lost and struggling to survive in a loss that cannot be described.

10:30 – 11:00 am             Break – Visit with Sponsors and Exhibitors in Exhibit Hall for Refreshments

Breakout Session I

11:00 am – 12:15 pm Session I

W01: Postvention in Schools: Supporting Students and Faculty After a Suicide, Workshop Focus: Youth, Intermediate, this session will focus on crisis response/postvention in schools that have lost a student to suicide. The entire process of postvention; team formulation, notification of school districts about the availability of the service, how/who to contact on the team when in need of the service, services/approach of the team to the school, assessing the postvention process once it starts and appropriate termination will all be discussed. Session will also differentiate between postvention in a middle school vs a high school. Factors such as supporting administrators, school counselors and faculty will also be discussed. (Our CCIU team was established 2009). Presenters: Brian McGinley, LSW and Sue Lombardi, LSW

W02: Suicide Risk and Preventative Factors in the LGBTQ Community, Workshop Focus: LGBTQ, Basic, One of the greatest health disparities for LGBTQ youth is suicide. This workshop will define terms that describe LGBTQ in order to use terms in welcoming/affirming ways. We will analyze bias, micro-aggressions and discrimination adding to the risk of suicide and how it develops. This workshop will address how we can help individuals and their families mitigate risk in their own lives and determine ways to support individuals and families who come to us for help. Resources for organizational evaluation will be provided. Presenters: Virginia L Dikeman and Mark Davis

W03: Screening in Primary Care: Lessons Learned from Implementation of a Behavioral Health Screening Tool, Workshop Focus: Adult, Basic,        The Institute of Medicine has identified primary care as a source for identification, triage, and referral to services for patients with behavioral health problems, particularly suicidal ideation. This workshop will present results from the implementation of a web-based screening tool in primary care practices across Pennsylvania over the last decade. Lessons learned and best practices for screening in primary care will be presented and discussed. Presenters: Guy Diamond, PhD, Jesse Smith, MS, MFT, Jamie Dellinger, Voulda James

W04: Elder Abuse and Elder Suicide, Overlapping Risk, Workshop Focus:  Older Adult, Advanced                      Elder Abuse and Elder Suicide have many common risk factors.  Elder abuse is a risk factor for Elder suicide.  Psychosocial found in mistreated elders are often present in elders who die by suicide.  Little attention is given to the correlation of elder abuse and elder suicide.  Elder abuse reporting does not capture the signs of suicidal behavior. Elder suicide risk is well documented, but little notice is made of its presence or prevention in abused elders.  Presenter: Tony Salvatore

W05: Mental Health in the Formative Years, Workshop Focus: Youth, Basic,      This presentation will focus on what some of the most common mental health needs are at different stages of development and identify some of the interventions available to help manage emotional distress that may be felt related to mental health. This presentation will demonstrate how early detection is an intervention can affect future functioning and success. Presenters: Victoria Merski, LCSW and Sharon Sandberg, LSW

12:15 – 1:30 pm Lunch & Time with Exhibitors

Breakout Session II

1:30 – 2:45 pm        Breakout Session II:

W06: Task Force 1, Workshop Focus: Adult, Basic   This session will focus on discussing what Suicide Prevention Task Forces are doing in their areas and discuss and share their ideas and innovations. Presenter: Mary Brown

WO7: Attachment-Based Family Therapy: An Approach to Youth Suicide Prevention, Workshop Focus: Youth, Intermediate    Attachment-Based Family Therapy (ABFT) is an empirically-supported intervention for suicidal youth. Based in attachment theory, ABFT aims to facilitate conversations about core attachment ruptures that are blocking parent-child trust, thus undermining the day to day functioning of familial relationships. The model is structured by five treatment tasks: relational reframing, alliance building with the adolescent, alliance building with the parent(s), attachment repairing, and promoting autonomy. This workshop will outline the five treatment tasks and show video of actual therapy sessions using ABFT. Presenters: Jaime Dellinger and Jesse Smith

W08: TAAG Youth MOVE’n It! Workshop Focus: Youth, Basic     TAAG Members will provide an in-depth review of what TAAG is and how the members support each other. They will speak about their own experiences with suicide ideations. How with being a member of the TAAG group has assisted with their recovery. Presenter: Karan Steele

W09:  Building a Better System through Community Partners, Workshop Focus: Adults, Basic       When supporting a community, providers need to be aware of their presence with individuals but also the community at large. During this session, speakers will show how a provider can build relationships with community stakeholders, capitalize on those relationships for intentional initiatives, and in turn support individuals in a more holistic manner. Attendants will be given the chance to examine their own communities and how to develop supported relationships. Presenters: Moira Tumelty, MS NCC, and Hunter Robbins, MA

W10: Getting bit by the Suicide Prevention Bug, Workshop Focus: Adult, Basic     Everybody has unique talents, skills, and abilities. How can you harness those attributes to create powerful, unique initiatives that create awareness for suicide prevention? Presenter Gabriel Nathan, with a little help from his 55-year-old best friend on wheels, (a rolling billboard for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline), will talk about his unorthodox approach to suicide awareness in an inspiring session that will have you thinking about how you can spread the word and help save lives. Presenter: Gabriel Nathan

2:45 – 3:15 pm               Break – Visit with Sponsors and Exhibitors in Exhibit Hall for Refreshments

Breakout Session III

3:15 – 4:30 pm           Breakout Session III:

W11: Task Force 2 (continuation), Workshop Focus: Adult, Basic    This session will focus on discussing what Suicide Prevention Task Forces are doing in their areas and discuss and share their ideas and innovations. Presenter: Mary Brown

W12:  PTSD in the Adolescent Population, Workshop Focus: Youth, Basic     Post-traumatic stress disorder is a growing public health problem, especially among children and adolescents. This workshop will teach participants to recognize the signs and symptoms of PTSD in youth. Participants will also learn the best treatments, as well as positive coping strategies, to help youth that have been traumatized. Presenter: Gary J. Lewis

W13:  Suicide in Older Adults: Warning Signs and How to Help, Workshop Focus:  Older Adult, Basic, Intermediate      Suicide in older adults is believed to be vastly under reported with little attention or concern about this growing problem. Older adults choose more lethal means, meaning any warning sign should be taken seriously! Understand the factors that can lead to suicide in older adults, recognize the signs and know how to intervene.  Presenter: Rebecca May Cole

W14:  Survivor Panel: Workshop Focus: All Ages, this panel will consist of Attempt Survivors and Survivors of Loss (those who lost a loved one to suicide). Moderated by Matthew Wintersteen, Ph.D. Jefferson University and Govan Martin


Wednesday evening, 7:00 pm – LOSS Survivor Dinner at O’Reilly’s Tap Room & Kitchen inside the Best Western Premier (Please indicate that you are attending on the Registration Form)


Thursday, May 2, 2019

7:45 – 8:45 am:            Registration & Continental Breakfast

8:45 – 9:00 am:            Opening Remarks

9:00 – 10:30 am:         Keynote, John Draper Ph.D.

10:30 – 11:00 am        Break – Visit with Sponsors and Exhibitors – Refreshments in Exhibit hall

Breakout Session IV

11:00 am – 12:15 pm    Breakout Session IV:

TH01: The Doctor is In, Workshop Focus: General: Basic    Modeled after the highly-regarded session at the Annual Conference of the American Association of Suicidology, Drs. Campbell, Draper and Wintersteen will field questions from participants in an interactive session focused on addressing clinical issues surrounding suicidology and the care of those at increased risk for suicide. Frank R. Campbell Ph.D., LCSW, C.T., Dr. John Draper, & Matt Wintersteen, Ph.D. Jefferson University

TH02: Service Member Family Support Overview for the PA National Guard, Service Member Family Support, Workshop Focus: Military, Basic, SMFS, is a program within the Pennsylvania Army National Guard that provides resources for Service Members, Veterans and their families. The three large programs within SMFS are Family Programs, Health Promotion, and Yellow Ribbon. SMFS also has other programs which will be discussed through this presentation. Throughout this presentation, you will learn what resources are available, what our various programs have to offer, and who to contact. Presenters: Major Chief McKeon and SSQ Jose Lopez

TH03: The LGBQ and Gender Diverse Youth and Suicide: An Attachment Perspective, Workshop Focus: LGBTQ, Basic, While the majority of LGBTQ+ youth are healthy, functioning and resilient, between 15% and 40% of these adolescents make a suicide attempt each year – rates which are two to three times higher than their heterosexual counter+3.0parts (Fergusson, Horwood, & Beautrais, 2005; Russell & Joyner, 2001; Russell, 2003). This workshop will discuss important considerations for working with these populations, including language and different aspects of identity. Additionally, an attachment perspective for working with caregivers and families of choice of LGBTQ+ youth will be presented and discussed. Presenters: Voulda James, Guy Diamond Ph.D. and Jesse Smith MS, MFT 

TH04: Understanding Teen Suicide Contagion: 5 Things We Tend to Miss, Workshop Focus:  Youth, Intermediate     Although we, as a society, have gotten better with the topic of suicide, it remains taboo in some communities. Sadly, when we do talk about it, we tend to leave out the “hidden” challenges’ teens face when they begin to think about suicide. We also forget adolescents of color who face special challenges. Things take a darker turn when suicide-contagion becomes a community-wide concern. Teens of all cultures are struggling with this rarely recognized epidemic. Presenters: Tamara Hill

TH05: Integrating Trauma Informed Care into Suicide Response, Workshop Focus: Survivors, Intermediate    This workshop explores the links between trauma and suicide, focusing on the role of trauma informed care in this context. Trauma influences risks for suicide, but also impacts those who survive suicide attempts or losses, and those who respond to suicide. Participants explore how utilizing the principles of Trauma Informed Care in approaching suicide can foster deeper understanding; thereby increasing resilience and reducing triggers, distress, burnout, and ineffective responses. A related resource guide will be provided. Presenters: Mandy Fauble, Ph.D., LCSW and Cassandra Rhodes, LPC

12:15 – 1:15 pm:                    Lunch

Breakout Session V

1:15 – 2:30 pm:                       Breakout Session V:

TH06: More than Ounce of Prevention, Using the Student Assistance Program, Workshop Focus: Youth, Basic    The Pennsylvania Student Assistance Program (SAP) has been supporting students and their families in schools for the past 35 years. In 1986-87 the PA Department of Public Welfare, Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS), in response to the increasing adolescent suicide rate, provided for the expansion of the Student Assistance Program to include intervention strategies for students at risk of suicide. The Student Assistance Program is a systematic team process in schools that mobilizes in school and community resources to identify and support students at risk. This workshop will explain the PA model of SAP, how it works and how can be mobilized to weave a safety net to support at risk students. Presenters: Trish Johnson and Beth Sprentz

TH07: Metaphors for Healing from Sudden and Traumatic Loss, Workshop Focus: Adults, Intermediate     Speaking to those who have not experienced suicide has been a challenge for those who have experienced a death by suicide. Using metaphor to communicate complex emotions can benefit both the speaker and the listener. When the listener can respond with a complimentary metaphor then some understanding of the survivors’ pain is accomplished. This can help those bereaved by difficult losses become more able to express the challenges they are navigating each second of the day. It can also bridge the gap for those who want to provide support and don’t know how to do that. Presenter: Frank R. Campbell Ph.D., LCSW, C.T.

TH08: Youth Social Media Trends and Suicide Prevention, Workshop Focus: Youth, Intermediate     The training will review social media behaviors related to current apps used by youth. Topics related to mental health and suicide will be reviewed. Red flags for suicide through technology will be identified. Terminology such as Sue, Cat, Blithe will be discussed. This presentation will raise the awareness of mental health and youth culture through the internet and how adults can communicate with and educate youth to be responsible digital citizens. Presenter: Ryan Klingensmith, MA, LPC, NCC

TH09: Coming Out of Darkness, Empowering through Partnership, Workshop Focus: Adult, Intermediate    Walking with someone who is struggling to live can be scary and overwhelming for providers. In this session, a consumer will share how she was able to engage in ownership of her own safety, despite trauma, many attempts, and high use of hospitals. Operating in the “helping lane,” committing to the person, and empowering the building of a life worth living will be highlighted as important aspects of provider-consumer partnership toward recovery.  Presenters: Jessica Fenchel, MA and Lori Huff

TH10:  Assessing Suicide Risk of Students: Adapting the SAFE-T Model for Schools, Workshop Focus: Youth, Intermediate  This interactive workshop will utilize the SAFE-T model from SAMHSA to highlight a five-step process involved in determining a student’s level of suicide risk.  A brief video will highlight the specific questions to be asked by specialized school personnel such as school counselors, nurses and psychologists.  Discussion will include special considerations when sharing level of risk and safety planning with parents/guardians. Crisis, intervention and support resources that can be shared with students and families will also be shared.  Presenter: Paula McCommons, Ed.D, L.P.C.

2:30 pm   Conference Wrap up

Conference registration fees:

The registration fee includes sessions, handouts, continental breakfast, breaks, and lunch.

Full Registration $250.00 per person,
First day only registration is $150.00 per person
Second day only registration is $125.00 per person

Conference rates are per person unless otherwise specified.  Online registration deadline is April 26, 2019.  Online registration and payment by credit card. Email for other payment and registration options.

Loss Survivor Dinner – May 1st at 7:00 pm at the O’Reilly’s Tap Room & Kitchen inside the Best Western Premier.  We are having a Loss Survivor Dinner for those Loss Survivor attendees who are attending the conference.   If you have lost a loved one or a friend to suicide, we want you to know that you are not alone.  Whether it has been several months or 30 years, your story is important to us and to others who have shared the pain of suicide loss.  Please consider attending this event to connect with others who have also experienced suicide loss and to share and to listen to each other about loss and healing.  Dinner will be self-pay. 

Harrisburg Senator’s Baseball Tickets $11.00 each, May 3, 2019.  For each ticket sold, $4.00 will be donated to Prevent Suicide PA.

Prevent Suicide PA presentation at 6:30 pm, game time 7:00 pm

For Reservations at the Best Western:

Go to and scroll to the bottom of the page

> Under Discover, click Group Reservations

> There you will enter the group code: 6X8ZZ2N0 (case sensitive)

You can also use the following URL, which is specific to your group:

> URL:

If you prefer to book your room via phone, you are more than welcome to call the hotel directly at 717-561-2800. Just follow the prompts to reach the front desk and one of our agents will be happy to make your reservation!

Special Needs

Participation by all individuals is encouraged. Advance notification of any special needs will help us provide better service. Please notify us of your needs at least two weeks in advance of the program by calling 717-885-9161 or emailing

Deadline for online registration is April 26, 2019


Click here for  Conference Sponsor and Exhibitor Opportunities