2016 Beyond the Basics Conference Materials



Sponsored by the Maine Suicide Prevention Program led by the Maine CDC in the DHHS in partnership with NAMI Maine, the Co-Occurring Collaborative Serving Maine and the Maine Medical Association

The Beyond the Basics conference serves as a “best practice” conference offering participants in-depth information and the latest research in the field of suicide and suicide prevention. The conference is designed for an adult audience that has attained basic training and knowledge in suicide and suicide prevention, and wishes to expand their knowledge and ability to engage in suicide prevention in Maine.

The 2016 theme, Prevention, Intervention and Hope Across the Lifespan, guides a program of the most up-to-date research on suicidology and evidence-based tools affecting various populations across generations, and provides participants with information to use in everyday practical applications. This year’s conference features national experts on late life suicide and self-injury, as well as local professionals to address suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention issues. The program will offer messages of hope and recognize caring Mainers who have made a difference.


Download the brochure from the 2016 event.



One-Day Training


Keynote | Suicide Prevention: It's All About Connection
Susan Wehry, M.D. | Geriatric Psychiatrist, Educator, Author, Oasis2.0
Self-directed violence, including fatal and non-fatal suicidal behavior, is a serious public health problem affecting all ages, and exacts a high toll on everyone it touches. Populations with high rates include youth, veterans and people over the age of 65. In this opening keynote address, Dr. Wehry will highlight Maine’s unique demographics and describe the risk factors associated with suicidal behavior and how to mitigate that risk across the lifespan, with an emphasis on promoting and strengthening individual, family and community connectedness.



Caring About Lives in Maine Awards
The Maine Suicide Prevention Program proudly presents the Caring About Lives in Maine Award to individuals and agencies working to prevent suicide in the State of Maine.

2016 Recipients



Workshop 1: Session A

A1: Understanding, Managing, and Treating the Complex Puzzle of Non-Suicidal Self-Injury | Barent Walsh, PhD

One of the most challenging problems for school professionals is dealing effectively with non-suicidal self-injury. Of special concern is that self-injury has recently moved from clinical populations such as those served in hospitals and group homes to the general population including middle, high school and college students. This presentation will focus on understanding, managing and treating diverse forms of self-injury including arm and body cutting, self-inflicted burning, excoriation of wounds, and other more serious examples. Self-injury will be distinguished from suicidal behavior in terms of a number of key characteristics, but will also be discussed as a risk factor for suicide attempts.



A2: Empower for Prevention: Partnering with Youth for Advocacy and Resiliency | Sheila Nelson, MPH, MSW

Young people are often the “target audience” for suicide prevention messages and initiatives. But how often do young people themselves have a meaningful role in creating and delivering prevention programs? This workshop will demonstrate the core principles of Positive Youth Development and provide concrete strategies for engaging youth, strengthening youth-adult partnerships, and providing opportunities for young people to advocate for themselves, their friends, and their community.


A3: LGBT Lives Across the Lifespan: Building Safety and Hope – A panel discussion
PANELISTS: Amy Blake, LCSW, Brandy Brown, LMSW-cc, BobBI Keppel, LCSW, Christopher McLaughlin, LCSW, Jennifer Paty, MDiv, and Alex Roan, LCPC, Ph.D.

For over four decades, and in spite of reports of elevated risk of suicidal behavior for LGBT individuals, little attention has been given to this problem. There is strong evidence of elevated rates of suicide attempts in these populations, while there is also limited documentation explaining the impact of stigma, violence, mental and substance disorders, age and other issues. What is clear is that education, awareness, screening and support are key in addressing LGBT suicide and suicide risk. In consult with Maine NASW-LGBT Action Committee and SAGE (Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders), this panel of representatives from across the lifespan will share their knowledge and experience with Gay Youth, Transgender, Lesbian, Bisexual, Middle Age, and Elder individuals. During this panel presentation and facilitated group discussion, members will offer perspectives from each life phase and group, identify specific experiences and developmental tasks, and overarching issues and concerns that contribute to suicidal thinking, provide hope for living, and identify areas that need attention, focus, and support.




A4: Voices of Hope and Resiliency – A Panel with Lived Experience
MODERATOR: Christine Canty Brooks

The NAMI Maine speakers’ bureau presents stories of Hope and Recovery. Join us in a unique opportunity to not only hear stories of inspiration but also to ask questions that you might have always wondered but felt you could never ask. The NAMI Maine speaker’s bureau is dedicated to raising awareness about mental health and breaking down the stigma surrounding mental illness and suicide. Nothing has the ability to heal the heart, mend the soul or change the mind than hearing the story of another. Understanding the perspective of others through the sharing of our stories changes our own perspectives unlike any other information.

A5: Working with Service Members and Veterans: Challenges and Opportunities | Hahna David Patterson, LCPC and David Faigin, Ph.D.

Service members and veterans face unique stressors and challenges which contribute to a suicide rate exceeding the general population. Seasoned expert professionals will present best practices for meeting the cultural demands of this population with an emphasis on the therapeutic alliance. They will offer specific strategies for dealing with crisis situations and explore current research on service member and veteran suicide. Practical communication strategies and use of case examples will assist attendees in providing culturally sensitive care to this special population.



Workshop 2: Session B

B1: Emerging Adulthood: Betwixt and Between | Robert Small, Psy.D.

The age span from 18 to 25 years old is a period of in-between: identity formation, instability, and self-focus. It is also the age of great aspirations and possibilities. This workshop will review the research and current thought about cognitive development, development of identity, self-understanding, sexuality, and peer, romantic, and family relationships. It will also explore emerging adult lifestyles and protection and risk factors.

B2: Late Life Suicide: Prevention and Intervention | Dr. Susan Wehry, MD

Suicide prevention in older adulthood is made challenging by the high lethality of older adults’ suicidal behavior; few survive their first attempt to harm themselves. It is critical that professionals who work with older adults know what factors place older adults at increased risk for suicide, how to enhance protective factors against those risks, how to recognize warning signs and intervene early. Participants will also have an opportunity to reflect on the possible impact of the national movement to expand access to physician assisted suicide in the broader context of late life suicide. This interactive workshop will use actual life stories to frame our discussion and promises to be both thought-provoking and practical.



B3: Postvention Support after a Suicide: Lessons Learned from Schools and Communities – A presentation and panel discussion
PANELISTS: Eric Johnson, Psy.D., Ben Milster, M.S. Ed., and Lowell Libby, M.Ed., Ed.D.

When someone dies by suicide or a significant suicide attempt occurs, the people exposed to the loss can feel overwhelmed by the grief reaction that follows. The impact of a suicide is felt in schools, colleges, healthcare practices and community organizations, as well as in families. Thoughtful and immediate response can assist in addressing grief needs and lower the risk for contagion or staff burnout. The immediate needs include providing clear information about what happened and rolling out support for those people most affected to help prevent the very real risk of contagion, or copycat suicide among the most vulnerable. It has long been recognized that good postvention support in the aftermath of a loss is also good suicide prevention. Join a group of suicide prevention experts, school and healthcare professionals for a session about suicide postvention needs, supports, and resources to help a community after a suicide crisis.




B4: Concerned about yourself or someone else? How Maine’s Statewide Crisis Intervention System can help | Steve Addario, LCSW, MHRT-CSP and Richard Chammings, LCSW

Maine’s statewide crisis intervention program is available 24/7 for anyone experiencing mental health concerns. This session will describe how crisis intervention works, what support services are available, how to access them and what you can expect when you do. Representatives from area mobile crisis intervention programs and the statewide telephone crisis response system will talk about these programs and will share in a conversation with attendees to help assure awareness and collaboration. Participants will gain an inside look at how the crisis system works and how best to help clients, family, friends or loved ones best navigate this system.



B5: Beyond School Suicide Awareness and Prevention Training: Trained Staff…Now What? — A panel discussion
MODERATOR: Susan Berry, BS in Education
PANELISTS: Denise Hamlin, LCSW, Melissa McStay, LCSW, and Brian Walsh, M.Ed. Admin.

Maine law (passed April 2013) requires all schools to have Gatekeeper trained staff and to provide all school personnel with suicide awareness and prevention training. This is great, but staff training is just one facet of addressing suicide issues among students and staff. Policies, protocols, student curriculum and community/youth engagement are additional components of a comprehensive school suicide prevention program. This session will offer presentations from state-level organizations and schools that will provide an overview of the aforementioned components that may be implemented in a system’s approach to suicide prevention.