Fostering Connection, Preventing Suicide

The New York State Suicide Prevention Center’s 2022 conference, “Fostering Connection Across The Lifespan,” brings together 36 leading experts September 20-22 to discuss the importance of social connectedness for mental health.

“A large volume of research with diverse populations and age groups shows that social connectedness is one of the most important factors in determining not only our mental health, but also our physical health,” according to the Suicide Prevention Center’s announcement.

The center said that the conference experts will summarize the latest prevention science and explain why we should all be more focused on supporting social connection across the lifespan—from early childhood and adolescence through our working and older-age years.

“Participants will be able to take ideas showcased in the conference back to their diverse communities and begin or build on existing work aimed at supporting healthy social connection,” the center said.

Physicians, social workers, mental health counselors, peers, psychologists can receive CEU credits and CASACs for many of the sessions.

September 20, 2022

Making the Case for Connection & Innovative Models for At-Risk Groups

“Leveraging Community Engagement to Promote Mental Health Equity and Connection Across the Lifespan”

Sidney Hankerson, MD, MBA

Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Director, Mental Health Equity Research, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

“What matters most in health and happiness? Insights from the Harvard Longitudinal Study”

Robert Waldinger, MD

Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School

“iGen: Understanding the mental health risks of Gen Z”

Jean Twenge, PhD

Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University

“Social Isolation and Loneliness as Risk Factors for Early Mortality; and Social Connection as a Protective Factor: What the Latest Science Tells Us” (Keynote)

Julianne Holt-Lundstadt, PhD

Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Brigham Young University

“Innovative Models for at-risk populations: Exploring the unique and common elements of these community engagement models” (Round Table Discussion)

September 21, 2022

Connection Across the Lifespan

“We Are the Medicine: Building Relational Systems of Care to Take Positive Childhood Experiences to Scale”

Christina Bethell, PhD, MPH, MBA

Professor at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University & Director of the Child & Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative

“Social and School Connectedness: Key Contributors to Adolescent Mental Health and Suicide Risk” (Keynote)

Cheryl King, PhD

Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Director of the Youth Depression and Suicide Prevention Program at the University of Michigan

“Working Minds: Why Peer Support Matters for Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Promotion at Work”

Sally Spencer-Thomas

President of United Suicide Survivors International, clinical psychologist, inspirational international speaker and impact entrepreneur

Jose Ballejo

UA VIP instructor/BTJ Pipefitter, retired U.S. Army Sergeant 1st Class, and member of UA Local 58

“Connecting and Contributing: AmeriCorps Seniors Service as Upstream Suicide Prevention for Older Adults”

Kim Van Orden, PhD

Clinical Psychologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center

Atalaya Sergi

Director, Americorps Seniors

Mary Hyde, PhD

Director, Office of Research and Evaluation AmeriCorps

“DBT STEPS-A: A school-based social emotional learning program for adolescents in Central New York & Brooklyn”

James Mazza, PhD | Elizabeth Dexter-Mazza, PhD | Alexandra Hernandez | Jacklyn Beck

“Inspiring Comfort: A skills program for compassionate connecting”

Jen Marr | Taylor Walls

“HealthySteps NY: An early childhood development support program for families that is expanding statewide”

Hetal Tangal, MD | Allison Lieber, LCSW | David Beguin, MD, PhD | Laura Sigel | Marcia Rice, RN, MS

“Connection Planning: A workshop for mental health clinicians working with socially isolated/lonely clients”

Kim Van Orden, PhD

September 22, 2022

Community-level Connection & Stories of Hope from Attempt Survivors

“Connect: A social network health suicide prevention program”

Peter Wyman

Professor and Director of the School and Community-Based Prevention Laboratory at the University of Rochester

Anthony R. Pisani, PhD

Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics

Bryan Yates, B.A

Senior Human Subjects Research Coordinator Department of Psychiatry University of Rochester School of Medicine

Chelsea Keller Elliott, MS, LMFT

Senior Research – Prevention Specialist University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

“Embedding social relations and community into primary care—A population approach” (Keynote)

Helen Kingston, MD

Primary care physician at Frome Medical Practice in Frome, Somerset, England

“Real stories of hope and connection from suicide attempt survivors”

Tony Trahan (Moderator)

Deputy Director of the New York State Office of Consumer Affairs

Dillon Browne, LMSW

Licensed social worker, coordinating daily operations for MHA Westchester’s Sterling Community Center

Emily Childress, MPA, CPS-P

Network Manager for Wellness Collaborative of NY IPA

Jeff McQueen, MBA, LCDC

Executive Director of the Mental Health Association of Nassau County

Digna Quinones

Regional Advocacy Specialist, New York State Office of Mental Health – Office of Consumer Affairs