NJ Human Services Hosts Fifth Annual Suicide Prevention Conference

This year’s focus: ‘Health Care Communities: A Crucial Setting for Suicide Prevention’

Sept. 9, 2019

(TRENTON) – The Department of Human Services’ Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services will host its fifth annual daylong suicide prevention conference on Tuesday, September 10 at the Trenton War Memorial.

Several hundred mental health and substance use providers, primary care providers, administrators, educators, first responders, advocates, hospital staff, faith-based organizations and people affected by suicide are expected to attend “Health Care Communities: A Crucial Setting for Suicide Prevention.”

The conference, which will run from 10 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., will feature consumers, healthcare professionals and mental health experts, all gathered to share experiences and brainstorm on more ways the healthcare community can help prevent suicide.

"Our conference recognizes those we have lost to suicide and emphasizes the importance of suicide prevention with a particular focus on health care settings,” New Jersey Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson said. “We know that health care professionals are often on the front lines and we want to help provide more tools and information to identify and address risk.”

“The fact our that our conference has grown from 30 people in a small room the first year to more than 500 last year demonstrates the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services’ dedication to bringing this effort to the forefront,” said Human Services Assistant Commissioner Valerie Mielke, who leads the Division.

The agenda includes the following:

10-10:05 a.m. Welcome by Maria Kirchner, PhD, Chair, Suicide Prevention Committee & Adult Suicide Prevention Council

10:05-10:15 a.m. Emerging Crisis for Healthcare Professionals

Valerie Mielke, Assistant Commissioner, Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services

10:15-10:50 a.m. The Crucial Role of Primary Care, Emergency Department and First Responders in Suicide Prevention

Virna Little, PsyD, LCSW-R, CUNY School of Public Health, NY

11:10-11:45 am Panel 1: Individuals Sharing their Lived Experiences within Health Care

Addressing the Interface between Behavioral Health and Primary Care

12:40–1:55 p.m. Quickly and Effectively Uncovering Suicidal Ideation in a Primary Care Clinic or Emergency Department

Shawn Christopher Shea, MD, Training Institute of Suicide Assessment and Clinical Interviewing

2:05-2:40 p.m. Panel 2: Experiences of Health Care Professionals Working with Individuals at Risk of Suicide

Suicidality, Substance Use, Mental Illness and Other Challenges Faced

2:40-3 p.m. In Pursuit of a System-Based Suicide Prevention Approach

Frank Ghinassi, PhD, President and CEO, Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care

3-3:15 pm Closing Remarks – Moving Forward

Deborah Hartel, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Health