On Tuesday, October 8, 2019, UMatter2DE welcomed approximately 120 people, which included students, staff/faculty at universities and college campuses, educators, mental health service providers, community members, 9 community and private organizations related to the field of mental health as vendors, and volunteer students. The University of Delaware’s STAR Tower Audion hosted the second annual UMatter2DE Higher Education Suicide Prevention Conference. It was a half-day conference filled with important and relevant information related to help-seeking behavior. The keynote speaker was Holly Wilcox, PhD, a psychiatric epidemiologist and Associate Professor in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, with joint appointments in the Johns Hopkins Schools of Education and Medicine. Her presentation addressed trends in mental health in Generation Z and suicide prevention approaches. In addition, the conference included a panel session with representatives from many of the colleges and universities in Delaware discussing resources, mental health and suicide prevention efforts at their respective campuses. The event ended with a powerful testimony from Taylor Ryan, MS, former MHA intern and currently a Research Program Coordinator at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
One unique feature of the 2019 conference was the Remembrance Space, which was provided in a separate area from the conference for participants to look around, learn more about the various suicide prevention and mental health initiatives happening on the local college campuses, give hope, receive positivity, and/or take a breather. Many of the school Active Minds chapters helped to organize and create this peaceful and informative space for the 2019 conference where display boards, video displays, and resources were presented and available. Another distinct resource at the 2019 conference included a clinician on site in case anyone wanted or needed to talk to someone, especially with the topic being around suicide prevention.
The UMatter2DE Subcommittee under the Delaware Suicide Prevention Coalition would like to thank the 2019 sponsors, which include the Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health Services and the Rockford Center. We could not have put on this successful conference without their generous contribution and support. The subcommittee hopes to provide more educational events throughout the state in the future. Please check back for more information on upcoming events.