Springfield College School of Social Work Hosts Suicide Prevention Conference



The Springfield College School of Social Work (SSW) will host a suicide prevention conference titled, “Exploring the Connections Between Substance Use and Suicide,” on Friday, Nov. 21, starting at 9 a.m. at the Brennan Center, located at 45 Island Pond Road in Springfield. Attendees will include western Massachusetts mental health clinicians, individuals who have personally experienced suicide and public officials who work to prevent suicide.  The conference is funded by the Pioneer Valley Coalition for Suicide Prevention and is free of charge.

The keynote speaker for the workshop will be Ann Duckless, who works at the New Hampshire National Alliance of Mental Illness Connect Suicide Prevention Program, and brings more than 20 years of experience in substance abuse prevention and intervention to the conference. Duckless will speak about the important components of suicide prevention efforts in working with substance abuse prevention and treatment.  She will describe cultural adaptations needed to reach diverse populations, as well as address the increasing trend of prescription drug abuse and its connection to suicide.

The conference will educate attendees in suicide attempt rates for people who misuse substances and also identify suicide rates for specific drugs. Individuals taking part in the workshop will be able to name contributing bio-psycho-social factors that lead to substance misuse and suicide, including the role of cultural, racial, gender, and spiritual diversity.  Attendees also will be able to understand cutting edge prevention and intervention approaches used by mental health and substance abuse professionals.

Registration for the event can be made by contacting Robert Reardon at Tapestry Health at rreardon@tapestryhealth.org.  Continuing education units will be available for social workers and an application has been made for continuing education units for mental health counselors, nurses, and occupational therapists attending the workshop.  The conference was made possible by a collaboration of efforts between SSW, Tapestry Health, the Department of Mental Health of Western Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Suicide Prevention Program.

Founded in 1885, Springfield College is known worldwide for the guiding principles of its Humanics philosophy—educating students in spirit, mind and body for leadership in service to others. With its foundation of academic excellence and rich athletic heritage, Springfield College prepares students with real-world leadership skills for careers that transform lives and communities. The college offers a range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the fields of health sciences, human and social services, sport management and movement studies, education, business, and the arts and sciences. It also offers doctoral programs in physical education, physical therapy, and counseling psychology. The college is ranked in the 2014 edition of “Best Colleges” in the top tier of “Best Regional Universities – North Region” by U.S.News and World Report, and is designated as a premier Leadership Development Center by the YMCA of the USA. More than 5,000 traditional, nontraditional and international students study at its main campus in Springfield, Mass., and at its School of Human Services campuses across the country.