@sarahgaer Violence and Suicide: What are the connections?Let’s look at two aspects: (1) Bullying/cyberbulling; and (2) how to better support traumatized first responders.

Violence and Suicide: What are the connections?

Let’s look at two aspects: (1) Bullying/cyberbulling; and

(2) how to better support traumatized first responders.

@sarahgaer @semavav @traceymedeiros2

June 2 Sarah


YouTube link

I’m always joking that I wear too many hats. I do. When I’m working within my local region (the day job) – Bristol County MA, with a population of 500,000 residing in 20 cities and towns – or doing work across the commonwealth, there are two threads of the suicide prevention tapestry that frequently get tugged.

Does bullying cause suicide and how can we better support our first responders?

This past week there seemed to be a number of articles, research reports, parental concerns related to bullying in general, and bullying and suicide specifically. And we continue to see/read/hear more & more about the need to tear down the walls of judgement preventing first responders to safely and respectfully seek help when needed.

A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by a regional reporter who wanted to discuss, wait for it – yup, bullying. End result, I’m participating in a Facebook Live panel on Thursday morning here in southeastern MA to discuss bullying (and, for me, suicide prevention). In the conversation, I noted that I recently completed gatekeeper training for an entire police department.

The timing seemed appropriate to gather around the SPSMCHAT 2.0 Reboot! table to take a look at these two issues.

Sarah, Tracey and I invite you to join the conversation Sunday night, 9:00 pm EDT, on Twitter @spsmchat, with a simultaneous YouTube live streaming. Split your screen and cover both! (took me a while to figure out how to do that).


Annemarie Matulis, @semavav

Founder, A Voice at the Table – a movement

Chair, American Association of Suicidology’s Impacted Family & Friends Committee



sarah (2)


Sarah Gaer is a suicide loss survivor and a Master’s Level Clinician with twenty years’ experience in the field of mental health care.  She has worked as an outpatient clinician, on a crisis team, and led a team of crisis counselors following the June 1st, 2011 tornado in Western and Central MA through a FEMA Crisis Counseling Program (CCP).

Since 2012, Sarah has worked as a Suicide Prevention Specialist focused on men in the middle years and first responders with Riverside Trauma Center.  She has trained hundreds of first responders in trauma and suicide prevention in Massachusetts and is a QPR (Question, Persuade & Refer) Master Trainer for the QPR Institute.  Sarah is also a member of the Riverside Trauma Center trauma team and has responded to suicides, homicides, natural disasters, and terrorist attacks throughout Massachusetts.  She is currently co-chair of the Pioneer Valley Coalition for Suicide Prevention and sits on the Executive Committee for the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention.

She has presented her work at International, National, and State Suicide Prevention Conferences and her writings have been published by SAMHSA and the Good Men Project and is preparing to publish her first novel.

To learn more visit sarahgaer.com


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New Voices, New Resources: Suicide is Different & CLEAR Lighthouse

Do you know about Suicide is Different

& CLEAR Lighthouse?

New voices, new resources. One for caregivers/providers/impacted family; the other to empower and build resilience in youth and families. Preventing suicide and improving quality of life are the common goals. Let’s talk.

Twitter chat @spsmchat

May 26th Chat

Simultaneous YouTube live streaming

 Suicide Is Different: 

Suicide Is Different is a first of its kind support program for caregivers of individuals struggling with suicide. The program consists of five interactive modules with tools and resources for individuals to navigate and thrive through the challenges they may face.

All modules plus downloadable materials are available for free on our website. This curriculum can be helpful for informal suicide caregivers as well as crisis counselors or clinical professionals. Check out SuicideIsDifferent.org for more information!

Johanna Louie - Photo

Johanna Louie is a co-founder of Suicide Is Different. She has worked at various crisis centers and mobile response teams in both supervisory and management roles since 2013. Before transitioning to a full-time career in mental health, Johanna worked at The Walt Disney Company where she conducted usability testing and research for theme park design.

Her ultimate mission is to build supportive programs and practical tools for caregivers utilizing her interdisciplinary experiences. Johanna obtained her MS in Social Work from Columbia University and MS in Human Behavior from the University of Southern California.

CLEAR Lighthouse

CLEAR Lighthouse will be a Holistic Mental Health Center for youth who struggle with depression/anxiety, loneliness, trauma, suicidal thoughts or attempts. Using holistic experiential activities along with mental health and leadership trainings, they hope to empower and build resilience in youth and families. Creating healthy relationships and a sense of belonging is vital to saving lives and eradicating mental health stigma/discrimination.

https://www.facebook.com/CLEARLighthouse/?ref=py_c on Facebook.

CLEAR stands for and you deserve:

C – Connection
L – Love
E – Empowerment
A – Acceptance
R – Resilience




cheryl mlcoch

Cheryl Mlcoch is the Founder and Executive Director of CLEAR Lighthouse a Holistic Mental Health Center for youth and families. She has a Masters Degree in Mental Health Counseling from the University of Phoenix, SLC, UT and a Bachelors in Exercise Science from Ball State University, Muncie, IN. For over 15 years, she has been a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and has worked with youth for 30 years in a variety of settings. These settings include grief support groups after the loss of a loved one to suicide or murder, ER crisis worker, foster care, drug court, previous Board Member for CASA of Larimer County, Boys & Girls Clubs, Big Brothers Big Sisters, camp counselor, and coaching high school basketball & volleyball.

Cheryl has personal experience with many different types of trauma, depression/anxiety and suicide due to being an attempt survivor, losing friends and family to suicide, living with autoimmune disease, witnessing violence regularly as a child/youth, working with suicidal clients, and many others. Her mother’s murder at the age of 18 sent her into a tailspin that almost led to her own death, but thankfully ended up transforming her into helping others even more. This variety pack of experiences has helped her to relate & connect with people in very unique ways.

Cheryl speaks regularly about her lived experience and also volunteers with two local suicide prevention workgroups to help serve LGBTQ youth and the faith community to be more connected & educated in prevention efforts. She currently serves on the Youth Suicide Prevention Committee and Impacted Family & Friends Committee for AAS/American Association of Suicidology and was asked to serve on the AAS 2019 awards committee.

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Stack Up: Veterans are our Mission. Gaming is our Passion.@fragorders chats with @TCruz76

stack up

Founded in 2015, Stack Up brings both veterans and civilian supporters together through a shared love of video gaming through our primary programs: The StacksSupply CratesAir Assaults and the Stack Up Overwatch Program [StOP].

Tonight, Mat Bergendahl chats with Tom Cruz about why this project is so important.



Just what exactly does “Stack Up” mean?

A stack is a slang term for a formation used in military or law enforcement, when an assault team forms up single file along the entrance or doorway to a room where they believe a threat is located. For the charity, the stack represents a strong community of friends, family, brothers and sisters in arms, and supporters, all coming together for a common mission, and here, that’s supporting veterans with video gaming.




Video games are bad for you? That’s what they said about rock-n-roll. ~ Shigeru Miyamoto (Creator of The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Brothers)

We recognize that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and emotional distress affect millions of individuals and are a leading cause of isolation, persistent health issues and hardships within our community.

Active duty military personnel face extraordinary pressure in the line of duty. However, after their service is over, we understand another challenge begins for many. It is okay to want to be healthy and seek help, whether facing troubling times, feeling a lack of purpose, or having lost the will to persevere. At Stack Up, we aim to break down the stigmas associated with these issues through the use of gaming.

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A new theory of suicide & public health approach & AAS Youth Suicide Prevention Committee – Let’s Chat. May 5th, 9pm EDT @spsmchat

YouTube Live Streaming


Twitter @spsmchat

May 5th Chat


E. david Klonsky is known for his work with NSSI. However, in the last five years, he has shifted his focus to motivation for suicide, a new theory of suicide and wrapped that around a public health approach. David will join us on the SPSM CHAT on Sunday night, May 5th at 9PM EDT.

The other voice at our table Sunday night is Norine Vander Hooven, the chair of AAS’s (American Association of Suicidology) new Youth Suicide Prevention Committee.

Both topics are important to any #impactedfamily & friend with loved ones who have experienced any form of suicidal crisis.




E. David Klonsky, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia. He received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Virginia, and completed his clinical internship at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He has more than 100 publications on suicide, self-injury, and related topics, and has been recognized by awards from the American Association of Suicidology, Association for Psychological Science, and Society of Clinical Psychology (APA). He is Past-President of the International Society for the Study of Self-injury, Associate Editor of Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, and has advised the American Psychiatric Association for DSM-5 and both the US and Canadian governmental organizations regarding suicide and self-injury prevention. In 2015 he published the Three-Step Theory (3ST) of suicide.



Predictors of future suicide attempt among adolescents with suicidal thoughts or non-suicidal self-harm: a population-based birth cohort study

Published: March 14, 2019

E. David Klonsky, PhD
Department of Psychology
University of British Columbia





Norine Vander Hooven is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Westlake Village, California, and has been in practice for over 30 years. Norine specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, and suicide prevention. She is certified in EMDR and uses this to work with people with PTSD and severe anxiety, as well as other issues. Norine is the Chair of the Youth Suicide Prevention Committee for the American Association if Suicidology, and a member of their Communications  Committee and Social Media Team.

Norine VanderHooven, LCSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker


American Association of Suicidology Youth Suicide Prevention Chair 

American Association of Suicidology Communication/Media team member


W  https://norinevanderhooven.com


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#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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