#AAS19 Pre-Conference Twitter Chat @spsmchat

It’s an invitation!


preconf chat


It’s that time again – the American Association of Suicidology’s  Annual Conference. It’s the 52nd! Location is Denver, Colorado. April 23 – 27.

We invite those heading to Denver to stop by and share with us what they are presenting on, the day, time, room number. Create a little promo for yourself, post it and include #spsm and @spsmchat.

Feel free to include any supportive links, graphics and Memes are welcome. And this includes anyone presenting a poster or a paper.

Are you attending a lunch meeting or special event while here?

Attendees – what are you most interested in learning about?

See you at 9:00 pm, EDT.  This is a Twitter chat only tonight.



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The Politics of Knowledge Production @jessstohlmann @TraumaKween @madabolitionist

Knowledge Production


@jessstohlmann @TraumaKween @madabolitionist


Information about suicide, why people die by suicide, and its impact on communities has historically been created, controlled, and disseminated by researchers funded through government and academic institutions.

Access to the information is limited for people who need it most, the general population and people affected by suicide. Limitations are put in place in a number of ways: the language is inaccessible for most people, they are frequently published in journals that require payment to access, and people performing the research are interpreting its meaning often without the input of people with lived experience.

This SPSM Chat will focus on the injustices in the creation of knowledge and what can be done to resist their impact.

Questions for the twitter audience:

  • What kinds of suicide knowledge production are most relevant or important to you?
  • What opportunities could come from prioritizing strategies that are not evidence based?
  • What can be done to ensure that people get to tell their own stories, not just have them shared by research and prevention orgs?
  • How should information about suicide be collected and disseminated?



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.


TraumaKween – TK (she/her) identifies as “hella borderline” and is an Anarchist, Mad Pride activist and Peer Support Specialist, writer and creative living in so-called Denver, CO. Her own experience of forced treatment and hospitalization has helped her understand the horrors that mad people endure as a result. An essential part of her work involves empowering others with mental health challenges/conditions to advocate for themselves inside and outside the mental health systems.

emily cutler

Emily Sheera Cutler is Mad, disabled, and proud of it. She is passionate about creating spaces in which people can express their true thoughts, feelings, and lived experiences without fear of judgment.

Her views and perspectives presented do not represent any school, workplace, or organization that she is affiliated with. As a future counselor, she will uphold the ethical and professional standards for licensed mental health counselors and abide by all legal mandated reporting requirements.



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Suicide Prevention, Intervention, Prevention, Schools & Technology


Jonathan Singer, @socworkpodcast

is at the table tonight!

This is the link for the simultaneous YouTube Live Stream at 9PM EDT

Another way to look at this is suicide, grief, PTSD – and the impact on schools. Throw in a dash of hands on work within local school districts and wrap it around with technology. Yeah, that about covers it.

Tonight’s Twitter Chat dovetails into last week’s conversation with Skye from the March for Our Lives movement and  SPSM’s own Dr. April Foreman.

Below is the video from last week.

Please join us at 9:00pm EDT on Twitter – look for the @spsmchat and use the hashtag #spsm for all Tweets, Retweets & responses.


Dr. Jonathan Singer

President-Elect, American Association of Suicidology

singer and bk

Dr. Singer is an associate professor of social work at Loyola University Chicago. His clinical and research interests focus on family-based interventions for suicidal and cyberbullied youth; service access and service utilization; use of technology in education and clinical practice. Dr. Singer is interested in the interpersonal mechanisms that protect against or contribute to youth suicidal risk within families; how and why parents access services for their suicidal children; and how technologies such as podcasts and social networking sites can be used to disseminate information about prevention and intervention of youth suicidal behaviors, cyberbullying, and social work education and training. Dr. Singer is the co-author of the 2015 Routledge text “Suicide in Schools: A Practitioner’s Guide to Multi-level Prevention, Assessment, Intervention, and Postvention.” He is a frequent contributor to the online community Suicide Prevention and Social Media (#SPSM), and the founder and host of the award winning podcast series, the Social Work Podcast (http://www.socialworkpodcast.com).

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@DocForeman @SkyeMarie3918 & @mmbrown14 Chat: Suicide. Grief. PTSD. A public health approach

@DocForeman @SkyeMarie3918 & @mmbrown14 

Chat: Suicide. Grief. PTSD.

A public health approach

A cautionary note: the background links below and the Sunday night chat may be a very difficult conversation for some.

Suicide, PTSD, Grief_ a public health approach (1) 

Weaving suicide, grief and PTSD together creates a tapestry of trauma.

In less than two weeks, two survivors of the Parkland shooting and a bereaved father who lost a child in the Sandy Hook shooting died by suicide. In that same time frame, another 1,803 youth, adults and elders also died by suicide, each one a tragedy.

Dr. April Foreman, Skye and Melissa Brown will join the SPSMCHAT 2.0 Reboot via YouTube Live Stream to offer their perspectives to the links between suicide, grief and PTSD as well as existing resources for treatment and advocacy. And this is only the beginning of this conversation.

Please take time to review the links below. They will help inform Sunday night’s Twitter Chat & YouTube live stream.



What We Get Wrong When We Talk About the Parkland Survivor Deaths : Discussing PTSD is important to survivors — but so is remembering that trauma can be managed, and help can be found

 Suicide Contagion or “Copycat Suicides” Are A Public Health Issue, & Approaching The Issue With Nuance Is Important

 State spent $69M on mental health after Parkland, but didn’t mention PTSD, suicide

 Three tragic deaths reverberate across U.S. amid steady rise in suicides


Flooding can take toll on mental health


DocForeman Headshot

April C. Foreman, Ph.D

April C. Foreman, Ph.D., is a Licensed Psychologist serving Veterans as a Clinical Outreach Specialist in Technology and Innovation for the Veterans Crisis Line. She is an  Executive Committee member for the Board of the American Association of Suicidology, and has served VA as the 2017 Acting Director of Technology and Innovation for the Office of Suicide Prevention. She is a member of the team that launched OurDataHelps.org, a recognized innovation in data donation for ground breaking suicide research. She is passionate about helping people with severe (sometimes lethal) emotional pain, and in particular advocates for people with Borderline Personality Disorder, which has one of the highest mortality rates of all mental illnesses. She is known for her work at the intersection of technology, social media, and mental health, with nationally recognized implementations of innovations in the use of technology and mood tracking. She is the 2015 recipient of the Roger J. Tierney Award for her work as a founder and moderator of the first sponsored regular mental health chat on Twitter, the weekly Suicide Prevention Social Media chat (#SPSM, sponsored by the American Association of Suicidology, AAS). Her dream is to use her unique skills and vision to build a mental health system effectively and elegantly designed to serve the people who need it.



Skye is the Northwest Regional Director for youth gun violence prevention organization March For Our Lives, on the national team for youth climate justice movement This Is Zero Hour and an advocate for refugee and immigration rights.  She is 22 years old and currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in International Studies in California.  Although she has been doing advocacy work on the issue of mental health through March For Our Lives California, solutions for preventing suicide contagion came into focus immediately following the suicides in the Parkland and Sandy Hook communities.

Skye is now developing resources in conjunction with the American Association of Suicidology and Brady United for the very specific issues that affect anyone afflicted by gun violence and the intersection of this large community impacted by suicide.



Melissa Brown, DrPH, MPH

Margaret Melissa Brown, DrPH, MPH, is a Behavioral Scientist at the Centers for Disease control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, working in suicide prevention. She is a graduate of the College of Public Health at the University of Kentucky (UK). Areas of education concentration include health management and policy, research management, epidemiology, health behavior, individual and family development (family studies), and nursing.  Dr. Brown has mentored and collaborated with a diverse group of undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students both within the United States and internationally. Past research has focused on suicide (military, community impact, suicide exposure and bereavement, LGBTQ, prevention and postvention, clergy, posttraumatic growth after suicide), family and community violence, sexual trauma related PTSD, telemedicine, and violence fatality surveillance (NVDRS).


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@SPSMCHAT 2.0 Reboot! Hosts an Open Mic on March 24th, 9:00 pm EDT. It’s #YourTurn.

@SPSMCHAT 2.0 Reboot! Hosts an Open Mic on March 24th, 9:00 pm EDT.

It’s #YourTurn.

Open Mic 3-24-19

This will only be on Twitter tonight. No YouTube live streaming

We have hosted 10 #SPSMCHATs since rebooting on January 13th. The topics have touched on a wide variety of subjects

Tonight, March 24th, 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?

  • What topic/issue that we covered needs more attention, another chat?
  • Is there a report, blog or article that caught your attention this week? Post it! Let’s chat about it.
  • Are you on the road to or have you already arrived at #NATCON19in Nashville?
  • What are you presenting on?
  • Did you listen to a really good podcast this week? 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 tonight.




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Suicide: a Public Health Approach with @MMBrown14 on March 17th 9pm EDT

Suicide_ a Public Health Approach

Suicide: a Public Health Approach

Sunday, March 17th, 9:00 pm EDT on Twitter (SPSMCHAT 2.0 Reboot!) with simultaneous YotTube Live Streaming

Melissa Brown @MMBrown14 discusses her concepts about wrapping a public health/population level model around suicide as well as the projected work of the new AAS Public Health Committee.

From the CDC Foundation: https://www.cdcfoundation.org/what-public-health

 Public Health connects us all. Together our impact is greater.

Public health is the science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities. This work is achieved by promoting healthy lifestyles, researching disease and injury prevention, and detecting, preventing and responding to infectious diseases.

Overall, public health is concerned with protecting the health of entire populations. These populations can be as small as a local neighborhood, or as big as an entire country or region of the world.

Public health professionals try to prevent problems from happening or recurring through implementing educational programs, recommending policies, administering services and conducting research—in contrast to clinical professionals like doctors and nurses, who focus primarily on treating individuals after they become sick or injured. Public health also works to limit health disparities. A large part of public health is promoting healthcare equity, quality and accessibility.

For more on a backstory  on the importance of a public health approach, please check out this SPSMChat from November 8, 2015 with Jerry Reed.



From Melissa:

Public Health plays a vital role in addressing the burden of suicide. Suicidologists have welcomed the surveillance, data collection, and research the field of public health has contributed to the study of suicide; however, there are many other skills and resources public health professionals can bring to the table. Suicide rates have continued to rise across nearly all of the US and globally, generating a public health crisis. The scope of the issue requires population-level methodologies to address these rising rates and the populations exposed and bereaved by these deaths. The American Association of Suicidology (AAS) has approved a NEW committee for public health to provide a base of action for population level efforts addressing suicide. A committee for Public Health helps balance AAS by clearly expanding the focus of AAS to include population-level approaches to reduce and address both prevention and impacts of suicide.

Specific actions this committee could contribute include:

  • Provide a platform to recruit and engage public health professionals in suicidology.
  • Provide a knowledge-base for public health research addressing population/community approaches to suicide prevention.
  • Engage researchers in the epidemiology of suicide.
  • Development and dissemination of population level risk-reduction strategies.
  • Evaluate current efforts for suicide prevention to inform and direct future decision-making.
  • Promotion of comprehensive suicide prevention through collaboration.
  • Review of abstracts related to public/population health topics for AAS annual conferences.
  • Provide networking opportunities at the AAS annual conference for individuals interested in population-level approaches to address suicide.
  • Assist in formulating responses to population level events and policies (i.e. natural disasters, celebrity suicides, policies/regulations, etc.) associated with suicide.

As Chair of this new Public Health Committee, I welcome anyone interested in addressing this issue through a public health approach. It is not required for committee members to possess a degree in public health or prior experience. If interested, please feel free to contact me at either mmbrowndrph@gmail.com or oth2@cdc.gov.




Melissa Brown, DrPH, MPH

Margaret Melissa Brown, DrPH, MPH, is a Behavioral Scientist at the Centers for Disease control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, working in suicide prevention. She is a graduate of the College of Public Health at the University of Kentucky (UK). Areas of education concentration include health management and policy, research management, epidemiology, health behavior, individual and family development (family studies), and nursing.  Dr. Brown has mentored and collaborated with a diverse group of undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students both within the United States and internationally. Past research has focused on suicide (military, community impact, suicide exposure and bereavement, LGBTQ, prevention and postvention, clergy, posttraumatic growth after suicide), family and community violence, sexual trauma related PTSD, telemedicine, and violence fatality surveillance (NVDRS).


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Self-care after a suicidal crisis – Sunday, March 10th, 9:00 pm EDT @lifesnewnormal, @BeyondKeto & @Lenaschatz

Sunday, March 10, 2019 9:00 pm EDT

@lifesnewnormal, @BeyondKeto & @Lenaschatz

self-care after suicide


Self-care after a suicidal crisis

A writer and editor, a professor who transitioned from an academic setting to the world of suicide prevention, a mental health advocate and licensed acupuncturist. Survivors of suicide loss, each has been on a mission, searching for a self-care approach that works for them.

Join us Sunday evening at 9:00 pm EDT as Lauren Carter, Lena Heilmann and Stephanie Willard come together to share their stories and respective journeys to self-care that wrap around health, wellness and personal development, to understanding the importance of sleep hygiene to support mental, physical and emotional health, to alternative care such as Oriental Medicine and clinical aroma-therapy. Each quest was motivated by the loss of a loves to suicide, and in Stephanie’s life, a murder-suicide, but what they’ve learned may be helpful to others.

You can follow The SPSMCHAT 2.0 Reboot! “Self-care after a suicidal crisis” at 9pm EDT on Twitter and/or via a simultaneous YouTube Live Streaming link.



Lauren Carter

Lauren Carter is a writer and editor with a background in journalism and PR. Her work has appeared in newspapers, digital publications, national magazines and anthologies, and she has developed strategic communications for business and higher education leaders.

She became passionate about self-care after struggling with depression for more than 20 years and then losing her mother to suicide in 2010. Desperate for change and recovery, she did extensive research on health, wellness and personal development and ultimately created a daily wellness program that helped her to overcome depression and transform her mindset and her life.

More info on her program is available at beyondketo.wordpress.com. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @BeyondKeto.



Lena Heilmann

Lena Heilmann lost her sister Danielle to suicide in 2012. In response to the grief caused by this traumatic loss and as a way to honor her sister, Lena transitioned from her role as a college professor to the world of suicide prevention.

Now working in youth suicide prevention in Colorado, Lena incorporates her lived experience and expertise, which centers on her identity as a survivor of suicide loss, with her professional career and with her personal mission. Lena is passionate about understanding sleep as a social justice issue and the importance of sleep hygiene to support mental, physical, and emotional health.



Stephanie Willard

Stephanie Willard is a mental health advocate, story teller, as well as a licensed acupuncturist, Oriental Medicine practitioner, and clinical aroma-therapist. She has been in private practice for nineteen years in Oregon.

On May 8, 2014, she came home to find that her husband had killed their four-year-old daughter and then himself.  She has spoken about her experience at the National Association of Grieving Children’s 2015 and 2018 conferences, the 2015 Portraits of Courage Luncheon for the Dougy Center, and at the 2016, 2017 and 2018 American Association of Suicidology conferences.  She was a keynote speaker at “Life’s New Normal – The Forum” in November 2017, hosted by A Voice at the Table, and at the Massachusetts Suicide Prevention Conference in May 2018. She also created and has taught her class “Tools for Navigating the Roller Coaster of Grief,” combining her many years of alternative care knowledge and her loss experience. She is an active member of the Suicide Prevention Alliance for the state of Oregon, working on prevention and legislative changes as well as on the AAS Impacted Family & Friends Committee.

Stephanie is determined to reach people who are struggling with mental illness (suicide prevention) as well as families who have dealt with the death of a loved one from suicide (suicide bereavement) or murder-suicide.  She has been public with her lived experience and continuous grief process via her blog at www.lifesnewnormal.com and articles in “The Mighty.”. As she brings a “realness” to her readers of what her journey has been, Stephanie has touched people worldwide. She believes that people with lived experience can help educate as well as support others in suicide prevention and bereavement and strives everyday to inspire hope to others. Her story is, above all else, about resilience.



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