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Beyond the Basics in Suicide Prevention

April 11 @ 8:00 am - 4:00 pm

Beyond the Basics in Suicide Prevention - 2024 Conference Maine
Hope and Coping: Promoting Recovery to Strengthen Communities
Since its inception in 2003, Maine’s annual Beyond the Basics in Suicide Prevention Conference has provided Maine health professionals, educators, clinicians, first responders, and community members with best practice information, guidance, and resources in suicide prevention and management efforts. This conference is designed for an adult audience that has attained basic training and knowledge in suicide and suicide prevention, and wishes to deepen their understanding of prevention and expand their skill set.


*CLICK HERE for the Official 2024 Event Program >


Agenda & Breakout Sessions: 
8:00 AM – 8:30 AM: Registration (Networking / Breakfast)
8:30 AM – 8:45 AM: Welcome Remarks
8:45 AM – 10:00 AM: Keynote – Joanna Bridger, LICSW

What is trauma-informed suicide prevention, why do we need it, and what makes it so hard to find?
For over a decade large numbers of people with lived experience of suicide and leaders in the field of suicide prevention have acknowledge the significant intersections with trauma and suicide and called for suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention to be more trauma-informed.  However, there is very little clarity on what this would look like in practice, and not much has changed.  This presentation will consider the intersection of trauma and suicide, describe trauma-informed suicide prevention, consider clinicians’ conceptualization of trauma-informed suicide prevention and intervention, and identify the barriers to providing this care. Using data from two nation-wide research studies, one with clinicians and one with people with lived experience with suicidal thoughts or behaviors, this presentation will consider the current context of trauma-informed supports and treatment for suicidal thoughts and behaviors and discuss next steps in improving available supports and treatment.

Speaker Bio: Joanna Bridger, LICSW is the Director of Safety, Hope, & Healing Counseling & Consulting. She has worked with youth, families, adults, and communities that have experienced trauma and loss in a wide range of settings in the U.S. and abroad for more than 20 years. She serves as the Co-Chair of the Greater Boston Suicide Prevention Coalition and the clinical consultant for the Support After Death by Overdose Program (SADOD) and is a part-time lecturer at the Boston University School of Social Work. Joanna has an MSW from the University of Michigan with a concentration in Health, and a Certificate in Traumatic Stress Studies from the Trauma Center at JRI (now the Trauma Research Foundation) and is trained in a wide range of trauma and loss focused therapeutic modalities.
10:00 AM – 10:10 AM: Break/Transition Time
10:15 AM – 11:30 AM: Breakout Session A

A1: Strategies for Implementing the American Academy of Pediatrics Blueprint for Youth Suicide Prevention – Presented by Dr. Alyssa Goodwin, MD and Shamera Simpson, Executive Director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Using the American Academy of Pediatrics “Blueprint for youth suicide prevention” as the framework for this session, participants will learn key concepts for implementing components of the blueprint. Presenters will discuss resources that can be shared and implemented in a variety of settings including: strategies for implementation in Community and School Settings, strategies for Clinical Settings, and ways to engage in advocacy and public policy. Participants will leave with meaningful key takeaways to help implement the blueprint in their local community.

A2. The Power of the Caring Adult: Innovative Practices in Supporting Youth Mental Health – Presented by staff of the Maine CDC, Northern Light Acadia Hospital, and The Opportunity Alliance
This session will highlight two Maine pilot projects focusing on connections to caring adults: the Youth and Family Navigator Project and the School Tele-behavioral Health Pilot Program. Maine struggles to meet the current need for mental health providers for youth, and many services have long waitlists. This session will reflect on some of the current barriers to care, discuss innovative strategies used in these projects to address the unmet mental health needs of youth, and highlight some of the exciting findings from this work so far.

A3. The School Nurses are Speaking: Are We Listening? – Presented by a panel of school nurses moderated by Joyce Morrissette, BSN, RN, the Clinical Suicide Prevention Specialist at NAMI Maine
School nurses have been part of a hidden healthcare system for over a century. They’re often working under the limelight to address physical, mental, social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students. It took a pandemic to spotlight the unique value and impact that frontline school nurses provide including support for mental health. Please join us for a rare panel discussion where school nurses in Maine candidly share stories, perspectives, and expert guidance on what’s needed to support mental health in our children, schools, and communities.

A4. Characteristics of a Death by Suicide across the Lifespan: Data from the Maine Violent Death Reporting System – Presented by Jamie Wren, Research Associate with the University of Maine’s Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center and Project Director for the Maine Violent Death Reporting System as well as the State Unintentional Drug Overdose Reporting System
Data from the Maine Violent Death Reporting System will be presented showing trends in deaths by suicide by different age and gender cohorts. In particular, circumstances surrounding these losses (e.g. job or financial problems, mental health diagnoses, or relationship problems) will be explored.

A5. No Wrong Door: Innovations to Make Maine’s Behavioral Health Crisis System Accessible for All – Presented by Michelle Hansen, Senior Director of Crisis Services with The Opportunity Alliance; Christina Cook, Director of The Maine Crisis Line; Harley High, 988 Coordinator for The Maine Crisis Line; Sybil Mazerolle and Liz Remillard from the CCBHC team at DHHS
Nationwide, states are working harder than ever before to improve their crisis systems using a three-legged stool approach, “someone to talk to, someone to respond, a safe place to go.” This includes the institution of a nationwide suicide prevention lifeline through 988, efforts to improve mobile outreach, inclusion of peers in the crisis workforce, creation of receiving centers, CCBHC efforts, a focus on decreasing unnecessary police involvement in mental health related situations, and more. This presentation by The Maine Crisis Line and the DHHS CCBHC team will provide an overview of Maine’s current crisis system and discuss efforts underway to increase access and effectiveness of this system.

11:30 AM – 11:35 AM: Break/Transition Time
11:45 AM – 12:55 PM: Lunch & Presentation of CAL-ME Awards
1:00 PM – 1:45 PM: Keynote – Kate Braestrup

So Far, So Fine; Appreciating Time and Intention in Recovery
A diagnosis of a serious mental illness can be terrifying, not only for patients, but also for those who love him or her. What does “hope” look like in this new situation? Can we hope for recovery and, if so, what might “recovery” look like? Kate Braestrup will tell the story of her own, sometimes hard, sometimes hilarious journey as the Mom of a mentally-ill young woman, and share what her family learned along the way.

Speaker Bio: The daughter of a foreign correspondent, Kate Braestrup spent her childhood in Algiers, New York City, Paris, Bangkok, Washington, DC and Sabillasville, Maryland. Educated at the Parsons School of Design/The New School and Georgetown University, Braestrup originally thought of herself primarily as a writer. Following her marriage to Drew Griffith and a move to mid-coast Maine, she envisioned a life as a writer and dedicated mother. State Police Trooper Griffith was killed in a car accident while on duty in 1996. Kate was left a widowed mother of four children between the ages of 3 and 9. Life would not and could not ever be the same as it had been.

Following a path initially forged by her husband, Kate entered the Bangor Theological Seminary in 1997, and was ordained in 2004. Since 2001, she has served as chaplain to the Maine Warden Service, joining the wardens as they search the wild lands and fresh waters of Maine for those who have lost their way, and offering comfort to those who wait for the ones they love to be rescued, or for their bodies to be recovered.

In 2006, Braestrup married the artist, Simon van der Ven. Between them, van der Ven and Braestrup have a total of six children and eight grandchildren. These days, Kate divides her time between her service as chaplain to the Maine Warden Service, grandmotherhood and writing. In addition, she is a popular public speaker around the country and abroad, entertaining and educating interested audiences with her characteristic honesty, good humor and poignancy.

1:45 PM – 1:55 PM: Break/Transition Time
2:00 PM – 3:15 PM: Breakout Session B

B1. Intersections of Suicide and Substance Use – Presented by Joanna Bridger, LICSW
Overdose and suicide deaths are the two leading causes of injury related death in the United States, and combined are the 7th leading cause of death overall. Recently, there has been increased research and awareness about both of these important issues; about how prevalent unhealthy opioid use and suicidal thoughts and behaviors are in all segments of society, but, also about how the two issues intersect and each increases risk for the other. This presentation explores opioid use and overdose, suicide, and the intersections between the two.

B2. Educate & Equip: Building Communities of Strength and Being Connectors to Help – Presented by Libby Wright, LSW, and Delaney Ireland of NAMI Maine’s Youth Education Department
Join Libby Wright, LSW and Delaney Ireland of NAMI Maine’s Youth Education Department in a 60-minute interactive PowerPoint presentation to share, build, and practice communities of strength. This presentation will encompass strategies from Sources of Strength to help young people feel empowered to develop and use healthy coping strategies, as well as to help equip them with the information necessary to effectively connect with mental health resources. Participants will receive the NAMI Maine Wellness toolkit designed to promote conversations about mental health and engage youth in building habits to maintain their mental wellness, even in the face of stressors. The wellness tool kit is also used as an on-going support where young people can build their own healthy habits and routines. The toolkit serves as a guided journal to help youth on their path to wellness. Help youth understand that they too have a voice and should play a role in prevention efforts among their peers and in their community. Learn how NAMI Maine supports Maine youth through our programming, on-going support, wellness toolkit, and educational materials.

B3. Moral Injury and Suicide Risk – Presented by Hannah Longley, LCSW, Senior Clinical Director of Policy and Crisis Services at NAMI Maine
Moral injury is a newer concept that is linked with Post Traumatic Stress. It has been found to present with a higher risk for suicide death, particularly in high risk populations such as military and first responders.

B4.  Hope and Healing in Sharing: A Panel Discussion with Survivors of Suicide Loss – Presented by a panel moderated by Lisa Joy White, MSW, MA, CT, the Suicide Loss & Grief Support Convener at NAMI Maine
The experience of grief and loss for those who are bereaved by suicide is different from other types of deaths, largely due to the stigma surrounding mental illness and suicide. There is often trauma associated with being a survivor of suicide loss, and the effects of this trauma can create a rough journey to navigate. Survivors discover that there is no “closure” to suicide loss, and some effects of the loss will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Nonetheless, survivors have also found hope and healing, growth, and sometimes purpose along their journey. Join a panel of survivors of suicide loss as they share their experiences of both loss and growth along their own journeys as they continue to blend the experience of suicide loss into their lives.

B5. NAMI Maine Teen Text Line: Youth Peer Support in the Digital Age – Presented by a panel of several NAMI Maine Text Line employees moderated by Greg Marley, LCSW
Developed in April 2020, the NAMI Maine Teen Text Support Line offers accessible, peer-driven mental health support for individuals aged 13-23. Staffed by trained young adults aged 18-24 who have faced their own mental health challenges, the service creates a relatable space for addressing issues like anxiety, depression, daily stressors, and more. Text Line employees provide coping skills, resources, validation, and connection to those seeking help. The Text Line has garnered high praise from both users and community members. The Teen Text Support Line breakout session will feature a moderated panel discussion with Text Line employees with the aim of educating the audience about the Text Line, identifying who could benefit from contacting it, and addressing general questions.

3:15 PM – 3:30 PM: Closing Remarks/Door Prizes
*Schedule subject to change.
The Maine Medical Education Trust designates this live activity for a maximum of 4.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)TM. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the Maine Medical Education Trust and NAMI Maine. The Maine Medical Education Trust is accredited by the Maine Medical Association Committee on Continuing Medical Education and Accreditation to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
Event Cost: $100
*Student rates also available. Please inquire about options by emailing mspp@namimaine.org.
Event Attendance: Open to Public
↓ Register by filling out the form below 


April 11
8:00 am - 4:00 pm
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NAMI Maine


Hilton Garden Inn Freeport Downtown
5 Park St
Freeport, ME 04032 United States
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