@JudgeWren Chats Judges as Champions 4 Suicide Prevention. Sunday, Feb.10th 9PM ET

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Judges as Champions for Suicide Prevention

Sunday, February 10, 2019 at 9:00pm ET


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Court is in session! Judge Ginger Lerner-Wren is an activist, an advocate and declared the Mental Health Court in Broward County a Zero Suicide initiative.

What? Why? What compelled her to take such a radical and visionary stand?

A Problem-Solving court?

How does prejudicial judgement (stigma) impact the work of the courts?

What is Therapeutic Jurisprudence?

How do judges become #Champions4SuicidePrevention?

And what is Judge Wren’s vision for mental health & social justice in America?

  Judge Wren


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Judge Ginger Lerner-Wren

Broward County Court Judge

Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, State of Florida

 Judge Ginger Lerner-Wren earned her B.A. degree in Politics and Public Affairs, 1980, University of Miami and J.D. from Shepard Broad College of Law, Nova Southeastern University, 1983 and was elected Broward County Court Judge in 1997.  Judge Lerner-Wren pioneered the first problem solving Mental Health Court in the United States, dedicated to the decriminalization and community-based treatment of persons arrested with mental illness and co-occurring disorders and has diverted more than 21,000 people out of Broward’s jail.

Broward’s Mental Health Court is a national and global model.  Recognitions include:  Broward’s Court was the model for The America’s Law Enforcement & Mental Health Project signed into law by President Bill Clinton in November, 2000.  The Court was showcased at The White House, Conference on Mental Health.   In 2002, President George W. Bush appointed Judge Wren to serve on The President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, where she chaired the criminal justice subcommittee.

In 2013, Judge Wren was selected Top Finalist, Innovating Justice Award, Hiil Foundation, The Hague, and The Netherlands and received National Council Advocacy and Excellence Award “Elected Official Service” in 2015.  She serves on the Board of Governors, United Way of Broward County Commission on Behavioral Health and Drug Prevention and the Executive Committee, National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, Advisory Board, International Society Therapeutic Jurisprudence Advisory Board.

Judge Lerner-Wren speaks nationally and internationally on problem-solving justice and mental health courts.  She is an adjunct Professor at Nova Southeastern University and writes on diverse subjects (i.e. mental health, criminal justice, therapeutic jurisprudence, disability and human rights.)  Judge Lerner-Wren is the author of, A Court of Refuge:  Stories from the Bench of America’s First Mental Health Court” published by Beacon Press in 2018.

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@SPSMCHAT 2.0 Reboot! Hosts an Open Mic on Feb. 3rd, 9:00 pm ET. It’s #YourTurn. What are the #HotTopics for you related to suicide prevention, intervention or postvention? Where are the gaps? What might be a solution?

Open Mic

Your Turn – Open Mic

This will only be on Twitter tonight. No YouTube live streaming (something about a football game had the production posse dropping off like flies).

We have hosted three #SPSMCHATs since rebooting on January 13th. The topics have touched on the #ImpactedFamily movement stepping out of the shadows into the light and the new resources that have been developed for self-care. January 20th, the topic was #socialjustice (or injustice) and #suicideprevention. This was the first of what will be three chats to focus on this concern. On January 27th, attempt and loss survivors chatted about their innovative approach to increased emotional balance through a wellness check workshop series that brings attempt and loss survivors further along the healing path together at one table.

Tonight, February 3rd, we’ll step back, pause and turn the #SPSMCHAT to put the focus to what’s on your mind? What has you excited or upset? If you are troubled about a problem or a gap, what might be done to address the problem or help to fill that gap?

  • Is there a report, blog or article that caught your attention? Post it! Let’s chat about it.
  • Did you listen to a really good podcast? Share the link.
  • Did you attend or deliver a training or presentation? Tell us about it. What was your take-away?
  • Are you presenting at #AAS19 or another conference, symposium, workshop, etc.? Tell us about it.

These are just a few suggestions to get the conversation jump started.

Now, about that football game. If you are going to be tangled up in it, feel free to use Hootsuite or other post scheduling software to schedule your Tweet to arrive into the chat stream between 9:00 – 9:30 pm ET. If you do this, please begin your Tweet with:



That way we can capture your posts into the Wakelet curation and everyone can sit down on Monday and catch up with the entire content of the Chat.

For those who may have missed the chats from the first three weeks, the links to the YouTube videos and the Wakelets are below.

January 13, 2019 – Impacted Family & Friends



January 20, 2019 – Social Justice & Suicide Prevention



January 27, 2019 – Blended Hearts




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@TraceyMedeiros2 Chats You did WHAT? with @stevenpalm4 &Mcilwee. Blended Hearts, Voices Blended. #Attempt & #Loss Survivors at one table for #wellness

Tracey Pacheco Medeiros, Steve Palm And Kathy Nemkovich came together for one common purpose – to improve the quality of their respective lives as they continued along a healing path. Tracey, as an attempt survivor, and  Steve and Kathy as loss survivors, came together via a wellness check workshop series co-developed by Tracey, called the Re-Energize & Re-Connect (R&R).

the trio

They are an unlikely trio but together they have impacted hundreds with their “blended hearts” approach. In 2018, they presented the plenary session at the Massachusetts Conference for Suicide Prevention. Please join us tonight as they share a snippet of this journey, including some push back received early on – “You can’t do that! (bring attempt & loss survivors together in wellness workshops).” Well, yes, they can. And they did.

In July 2018, co-developers  Annemarie Matulis  & Tracey delivered a train  the facilitator workshop in southeast Missouri. The Missouri department of mental health now hosts R&R monthly workshops under the guidance of Jacque Christmas @christmasjacque and Cara Bland in Joplin. They have been invited to return to Frederick Community College in Maryland to establish a community/campus site.

As members of the AAS Impacted Family & Friends Committee, the “trio” are also helping to prepare the launch of a sample toolkit for the R & R in March 2019. This is a  collaborative project with A Voice at the Table and AAS, and the 2nd piece of the larger #ImpactedFamilyFriends resources.

What is an R&R?

The Re-Energize & Re-Connect (R & R) wellness check workshops are a common sense, resilience based approach that instills a celebration of life that incorporates protective factors while being creative, holistic, motivating and healing. The central issue is that this new and innovative format fills a much needed gap in support resources for attempt survivors and loss survivors further along the healing path.

In 2013, during the production of our documentary, A Voice at the Table, it became apparent that some attempt survivors further along the path of healing and wellness would still benefit from an occasional gathering with other attempt survivors. Our decision to take this path was confirmed when the MA Department of Public Health issued a call for “new and innovative” support programs for suicide attempt survivors and loss survivors. The concept for the Re-Energize & Re-Connect Wellness Check series was born.

The original (R & R) curriculum went through several revisions, and in 2014, a focus group and a pilot group, and then the first five month series for attempt survivors launched in August 2015 in Taunton MA. By the time the attempt survivor documentary A Voice at the Table debuted at the April 2014 Massachusetts Suicide Prevention Conference, AAS (American Association of Suicidology) had just announced the formation of its new Attempt Survivor/Lived Experience Division. Voices were being heard.

The purpose of the Re-Energize & Re-Connect Workshop series is to offer a safe haven for suicide attempt survivors and suicide loss survivors further along the healing path to come together and re-energize and re-charge their internal psychological, emotional and spiritual “batteries,” and then re-connect with living life fully: to celebrate life, recovery and wellness. Please note – these workshops are not “counseling” or “clinical therapy” and not appropriate for someone still in early grief or a very recent suicidal crisis.

Each workshop creates a retreat-like environment and stepping stone to continued resilience-based wellness – the ultimate protective factor. However, a powerful but unplanned benefit to having both attempt & loss survivors at the same table together is the awareness raised when stories are shared. Loss survivors continue to express gratitude for having a better understanding of their loved ones and attempt survivors express similar emotions as they fully embrace the trauma and tragedy a loss would bring to their own loved ones. This honest sharing positively influences both groups to move forward in continued healing and in many cases, advocacy.

By the end of the workshop process, participants will:
(1) Recognize the need for continued self-care to maintain wellness;
(2) Re-vitalize their commitment to living life fully;
(3) Develop new connections with other suicide attempt & loss survivors;
(4) Recognize the supportive value they can be to others who have similar experiences


Tracey Pacheco Medeiros a suicide attempt survivor who loves motorcycles and Minions. As a certified peer specialist, she shares her lived experience with those who are voluntarily admitted  to  a crisis response unit in southeastern MA. An avid gamer, public speaker, and youth advocate, Tracey is also the co-author of a self-published, conversational memoir, Embracing Imperfection, the healing journey of a suicide attempt survivor that she dedicated to teens. Tracey co-developed and facilitates a monthly wellness check workshop series that brings attempt and loss survivors further along the healing path to the same table. An AAS member, she was awarded 3rd place in the 2017 Paul Quinnett Essay Contest with her “Wicked Awesome Wish List.”


Steven Palm @stevenpalm4 (Kacie’s Dad)

For the past three years, Steven has volunteered with the Bristol County Regional Coalition for Suicide Prevention. He has conducted major fundraising efforts and support for the annual “Light the Way” suicide prevention and education walk that takes place in September of each year. He attends monthly self-care workshops sponsored by the BCRCSP, including the Kitchen Table Grief Support Conversations and the Re-energize and Reconnect Wellness Check workshops. He is a frequent presenter at community conversations held throughout Bristol County and has participated in film projects wrapped around supporting families impacted by a suicidal crisis.

Steven is the chairperson for The Kacie Palm Project which is dedicated to youth suicide prevention which includes the Garrett Lee Smith Youth Suicide Prevention Leadership Task Force and the new Emotional Awareness Children’s Book Series for ages 0-7. Steven is a suicide loss survivor. In July of 2014, Steven lost his precious daughter Kacie to suicide at the age of fourteen. He continues to publicly share his story of grief and healing in the hope it will prevent other families from this tragedy.

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Kathy Nemkovich @Mcilwee

Kathy Nemkovich, a member of the Bristol County Regional Coalition for Suicide Prevention, serves as the facilitator for the Fall River Kitchen Table Grief Support Conversation for suicide loss survivors.  After losing her 35-year old sister, Susan Gorgol, to suicide in 2002, Kathy became an advocate for depression awareness and suicide prevention.

While living in Northeastern Pennsylvania, she worked closely with The Advocacy Alliance and members of what is now The Northeast Suicide Prevention Initiative to create one of the first support groups in the area specifically for those who lost a loved one to suicide.  She hosted several events, such as Musicians for Mental Health Awareness, to raise funds that were used for training and educational purposes related to awareness, prevention, and ending the stigma associated with suicide.

After relocating to Fall River, MA, in 2013, Kathy joined the Bristol County Regional Coalition for Suicide Prevention (BCRCSP).  Her work with the Kitchen Table Conversation groups and her participation in community awareness campaigns such as Weaving a Tapestry of Hope series and the annual Light The Way walk has provided Kathy with an opportunity to use her personal experience with suicide and grief to help others while she continues to heal as well.  “…The scars you share become lighthouses for people who are headed for the same rocks you hit.”


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@JessStohlmann Chats #Jan20 9pmET –  #HotTopics in #Social Justice & #SuicidePrevention with #JenKelliher & #PataSuyemoto

#SPSMCHAT 2.0 Reboot! 9pm ET

Social Justice – What it is and what it is not.

These are difficult conversations, and none of us will navigate them perfectly. It’s OK to be uncomfortable and it’s OK to make a mistake.  How can we do more to view suicide prevention, and our individual and organizational work in particular, through a social justice lens? What does that even mean?

When developing the framework for an executive committee/board of directors’ fall retreat dedicated to social justice and racial equity, Jen Kelliher, Managing Director for the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention, shared:

This social justice focus, while we are focusing quite a bit on racial equity, also has obvious applications for gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious background, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and other forms of identity that will deeply enhance our work as well as our ability to reach Massachusetts residents, encourage help seeking, and refer to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate resources across a variety of demographic dimensions including, but not limited to, race and ethnicity.

Our applause in advance to social justice activists and advocates Jess Stohlmann-Rainey, Pata Suyemoto and Jen Kelliher for stepping up to lead what is the first of several conversations we will have about the intersection of social justice and suicide prevention.

#SPSMCHAT, 9:00 pm ET, January 20, 2019.


Jess Stohlmann-Rainey is a researcher, trainer, and advocate serving as the Director of Program Development at Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners. She has focused her career on creating pathways to intersectional, justice-based, emotional support for marginalized communities. Her work has been published/featured in Mad in America, the RMIRECC’s Short Takes on Suicide PreventionNo Restraints with Rudy CaserasPostvention in Action: The International Handbook of Suicide Bereavement, and The Suicide Prevention Resource Center. Jess centers her lived expertise as an ex-patient and suicide attempt and loss survivor in her work. She lives in Denver, CO with her partner (Jon) and a 16 year old chiweenie (Marty), and has a taxidermied two-headed duckling (Phil & Lil) for an office mate. You can check out her website, or find her on Twitter or Facebook for a steady stream of opinions and geriatric dog photos.


Dr. Pata Suyemoto is a feminist scholar, writer, educator, jewelry designer, avid bicyclist and mental health activist. She earned her PhD. in education from the University of Pennsylvania and did her research on multicultural education and issues of race and racism.  Pata is a member of a number of boards and committees including the planning committee for the annual Asian American Mental Health Forum and the MA Department of Public Health’s Suicide Prevention Community Advisory Board.  She co-chairs the Greater Boston Regional Suicide Prevention Coalition. Pata has spoken and written about her struggles with depression and is a co-founder of The Breaking Silences Project. She recently joined the AAS Impacted Family & Friends Committee. Her claim to fame is that she rode her bicycle across the country in the summer of 2012. 

Why walk when you can bike.”

URLs: www.thepolkadotjournal.blogspot.com


Jennifer Kelliher has been the Managing Director of the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention (MCSP) since 2012.   She is passionate about social justice and has been the chair of the White Ally Caucus since its inception in 2017.  She is also a member of the AAS Impacted Family and Friends Committee.  Prior to working with the MCSP, she spent three and a half years as the Director of the Massachusetts YouthBuild Coalition.  Ms. Kelliher has a degree in Women’s Studies from Smith College and lives in Lowell, MA. One of her passions is writing.



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@Semavav aka Annemarie Matulis chats #Jan13 9pmET #ACalltoAction #ImpactedFamily #Marginalized #Traumatized Who are they? Could “they” be “you”?

January 13, 2019 9:00 pm ET  (please note change to Eastern Time!)

Marginalized: adjective

  1. (of a person, group, or concept) treated as insignificant or peripheral.

Unpleasant word. Unpleasant feeling.

The aftermath of a catastrophic event – a tornado, a hurricane, an earthquake, tends to bring out the best in humanity. Neighborhoods and entire communities come together as never before. Complete strangers reach out to help each other through the challenging, emotional darkness.

But when the perceived catastrophe is a personal tornado, hurricane or psychological earthquake as the result of a loved one’s suicide attempt or other suicidal/self-harm crisis, there is no outpouring of compassion and support.

You stand alone. Terrified. Silent.

And as the impacted friends and families of suicide attempt survivors and others who experience any suicidal crisis, you struggle to find your way free from the anxiety and stress, darkness and anger, frustration and a sense of helplessness – crushed by a sense of being dismissed and marginalized when you do reach out for help to find the path to freedom from that paralyzing fear.

Welcome to the world of millions of emotionally #impacted families. In July 2014, the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention published The Way Forward: Pathways to hope, recovery and wellness with insights from lived experience which included the caution that we need to create programs to support the “care-givers” – aka #ImpactedFamily of attempt survivors. A local project in southeastern Massachusetts began in December 2013 before that paper was released. A self-care workbook and companion workshop were developed for #impactedfamily – Is This the Night: Finding Inner Peace during the post-production of the attempt survivor documentary, A Voice at the Table (2014).

 There was no national response. There is now.

Join us for the launch of #SPSMCHAT 2.0 Reboot! Join the Call to Action! And learn who are #impactedfamily members. What resources exist? Why should you care? Because the odds are, that until we turn the tide of suicide attempts & losses, you may one day find yourself sharing the journey with other #impactedfamily…

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Annemarie Matulis chairs the American Association of Suicidology’s new Impacted Family & Friends Committee (IFFC). She is an #impactedfamily member, a loss survivor, a trainer and educator, curriculum developer, public speaker, author, documentary producer, Founder of A Voice at the Table, the movement – her public health advocacy and activism span more than 30 years and include domestic violence, substance abuse and suicide prevention.

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Did you know that there are some new kids on the block at the #SPSMCHAT 2.0 Reboot! table? Joining Annemarie Matulis in this adventure is Tracey Pacheco Medeiros.

Tracey is a suicide attempt survivor who loves motorcycles and Minions. As a certified peer specialist, she shares her lived experience with those who are voluntarily admitted  to  a crisis response unit in southeastern MA. An avid gamer, public speaker, and youth advocate, Tracey is also the co-author of a self-published, conversational memoir, Embracing Imperfection, the healing journey of a suicide attempt survivor that she dedicated to teens. Tracey co-developed and facilitates a monthly wellness check workshop series that brings attempt and loss survivors further along the healing path to the same table. An AAS member, she was awarded 3rd place in the 2017 Paul Quinnett Essay Contest with her “Wicked Awesome Wish List.”

tail of the dragon ridetail of the dragon photo


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Kate Spade. The CDC Report. Anthony Bourdain. #SPSM reflect on changes on our media responses after 5 years. 5/10/18, 9pCT.

Kate Spade. The CDC Report. Anthony Bourdain.

Chances are, if you are in the SPSM community you have been participating in media about one or all of these events in the last week.

Five years ago, when we launched SPSM, we were united around the mission to help experts and stakeholders in suicide prevention become more knowledgeable and skillful at the intersection of suicide, new media, and technology innovation.

As we finish Season 5, and as we sunset our current programming structure (to pave the way for launching new things), we had planned for this SPSM to both look at how far we have come, in terms of the skills and savvy of our community, in the service of our missions in suicide prevention.

And it is clear that things have changed. Chris Maxwell will be discussing the media appearances of many of our SPSM community members in the past week.

Given how far the suicide prevention community has come, where do we want to go next? As SPSM prepares for our next big step forward, what should we do next? Let’s talk about that LIVE here:

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@SeanYoungPhD chats #twitter #suicide #research and #ethics with #SPSM, 6/3/18, 9pCT. #CLPsych #HITsm #mhsm

Dr Sean Young chats with #SPSM about what happens when you start a study on social media signals for sleep health, and veer into the topic of suicide…only to find out that the IRB isn’t experienced with this issue. Join us 6/2/18, 9pCT.

Check out the abstract (or read the whole thing here:

“Due to the popularity of social media, researchers are increasingly conducting studies that monitor and analyze people’s health-related social media conversations. Because social media users can post about any topic at any time, no known best ethical practices exist as to whether and how to monitor participants’ posts for safety-related issues that might be unrelated to the study, such as expressions of suicidal intentions. This is a case study during a social media-based study on sleep and activity among freshman undergraduate students, where we by chance noticed that a student was using social media to express suicidal intentions. Although we connected the student to student psychological services in order to receive treatment, we encountered a number of barriers that initially prevented this from occurring, such as institutional review board and regulatory practices related to lack of experience with these newer types of studies. We discuss the implications of this experience for future research.”

Watch us LIVE here:

Sean Young

Sean Young, PhD is Associate Professor in the UCLA Department of Family Medicine and the Executive Director of the University of California Institute for Prediction Technology (UCIPT) and UCLA Center for Digital Behavior. Trained as a behavioral and social psychologist, Dr. Young’s research focuses on using technologies and artificial intelligence/big data to change and predict people’s health behaviors. He was the PI of the Harnessing Online Peer Education (HOPE) intervention studies, showing that online communities and technologies that integrate HOPE lead to sustainable health behavior change in areas such as HIV, opioid use, and mental/behavioral health. He co-created a technology platform (healthcheckins.com) being tested among UCLA Health System patients to improve their behavioral and mental health. Dr. Young is the author of the #1 Wall Street Journal Best-Selling book, Stick with It (2017), on the science behind lasting change, published by HarperCollins.

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