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Suicide prevention workshops offered for practitioners HAVEN joins Exeter Hospital to offer The Trauma/Suicide Connection:

Portsmouth Herald - 10/29/2017

In New Hampshire, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people age 10 to 34, and 80 percent of suicide attempts by children and teens are attributable to trauma.

As part of the Exeter Hospital Suicide Prevention Initiative, HAVEN invites the community to a day-long professional conference exploring the relationship between trauma and suicide risk. The conference will be held on Friday, Nov. 3 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Alnoba in Kensington.

Conference participants will hear from two experts in the field of prevention who will discuss the impact that trauma has on the brains and bodies of individuals, how to recognize trauma as a risk factor for suicide, and how to implement a trauma-informed approach to working with clients.

The first workshop will be called Suicide Risk and Lessons Learned from Lived Experience, presented by Elaine de Mello, MSW, LCSW. It will review the risk and protective factors and warning signs for suicide and effective interventions and approaches.

The presentation will also look at the relationship between trauma, mental illness and suicide.

Vignettes from real experiences will illustrate the many different ways that a person on a life journey through mental illness and/or trauma can be affected positively or negatively by subsequent experiences. Framed with data, best practices and testimony from lived experience, a variety of examples will be shared about interactions and approaches that could make a difference in the life of a youth or an adult who is living with trauma, mental illness, and/or suicide risk.

De Mello is a licensed clinical social worker who has worked in the mental health field since 1978 as a clinical program manager in inpatient and community settings; she also served as an emergency services clinician and director of quality improvement.

Additionally, de Mello worked for seven years as a school counselor and currently teaches on the faculty at Plymouth State University and as a Child Impact Program instructor at Riverbend Community Mental Health Center. De Mello has worked full time with NAMI NH since 1999 where she had a lead role in the development of the Connect Suicide Prevention and Postvention Program, a national best practice. She has been the co-chair of the NH Youth Suicide Prevention Assembly since 2003 and a member of NH's Suicide Fatality Review Committee.

The second workshop, Trauma Informed Practice for Suicide Prevention, will be presented by Cassie Yackley, Psy.D. Participants will learn how trauma affects brain growth and physical health, impairs social, emotional, and cognitive functioning, and sets the stage for the onset of mental and physical problems leading to premature disease and death.

Audiences will be introduced to the principles and practices of trauma-informed care as they apply to suicide prevention. They will also learn what approaches facilitate recovery and resilience.

Yackley has spent more than 25 years committed to understanding and effectively addressing the impact of traumatic/adverse experiences on children, caregivers/families, and systems. She brings together recent discoveries from developmental neuroscience, attachment, implementation science, and reflective practice to help audiences develop skills of relationship and self-awareness in ways that transform organizations, promote staff professional growth and wellness, and improve outcomes.

Yackley's projects have included: Generating Resilience Outcomes & Wellness (GROW) Project which will provide training and consultation with NH schools and districts in the implementation of a trauma-informed approach to education.

Partners for Change, working with NH Child Protective Services and Juvenile Justice to both actualize their commitment to trauma-informed care and more effectively coordinating efforts across systems; Safe Schools, Healthy Students, providing training in trauma-informed practices for five major NH school systems and more. She has served 10 years as director and chief psychologist for an APA-accredited doctoral intern program.

Registration is open at

This program has been approved for 6 CES from the NHPA as well as for 6.0 Category I CEUs in Suicide Prevention by the National Association of Social Workers, NH Chapter. CEU No. 3359.


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