UMatter2DE Higher Education Suicide Prevention Subcommittee

The UMatter2DE Higher Education Suicide Prevention Subcommittee’s mission is to promote emotional health, educate Delaware college students who may be struggling with mental illnesses, and strengthen collaborative efforts to prevent suicide among college and university students in Delaware.

2023 Higher Education Suicide Prevention Conference

Overview:

The 2023 UMatter2DE Higher Education Suicide Prevention Conference was held on Tuesday, September 26th at Goldey-Beacom College, the theme being “You Matter: How To Navigate Your Mental Health”. The conference started with opening remarks from Jocelyn Moses, the Dean of Students at Goldey-Beacom College, who welcomed attendees and highlighted the college’s dedication to raising awareness about mental health. Esther Curtis, who is a valued subcommittee member and the Community Liaison & Digital Strategy Lead at SUN Behavioral Health, continued the opening remarks. She touched upon the importance of suicide prevention, urged attendees to combat the mental health stigma and highlighted the evolution of the subcommittee’s efforts. The conference then segued into Dr. Kristen Wilson’s keynote speech titled “Is It My Birth Chart Or Is It The Trauma?: Perfectionism, Anxiety, and Accepting the Things I Cannot Change.” During her keynote speech, she spoke about her personal experience with perfectionism, anxiety, and trauma, how it relates to academic research and how prevention isn’t a one-size-fits-all model. Following the keynote speech was the panel session joined by four panelists: Jacob Bates, the Director of Operations at Sean’s House; Allison Burns, the Director of Peer Support at Sean’s House; Dr. Jackie Cousin, the Executive Director at ContactLifeline; and Dr. Michelle Ratcliff, an Assistant Professor at Delaware State University. The panel further explored the conference’s theme by discussing the topics anxiety & perfectionism, mental health stigma, healthy relationships, trauma & trauma-informed care and substance use disorder & recovery within higher education settings. The conference ended with Vanesa Simon, the Owner of Mariposa Arts, demonstrating Zentangle, an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create images by drawing structured patterns.

 

The UMatter2DE Higher Education Suicide Prevention Subcommittee would like to recognize Christyn Rudolf and Golda Duncan, the MC and moderator respectively. Likewise, a special thank you to the subcommittee members for all of their hard work helping plan and advertise this event!

Recording:

Timecodes:
          • Opening Remarks: [00:01:58]
          • Keynote Speech: [00:13:52]
          • Panel Session: [01:09:25]
          • Art Activity: [02:16:02]

 Presentations:
          • Click here to access keynote presentation
          • Click here to access panel questions 

 

Resources:

Pictures:

Keynote Speaker:

Dr. Kristen Wilson

Dr. Kristen Wilson

Dr. Kristen Wilson is first-generation high school and college graduate who grew up in South Jersey with a single mother. She started her college career right after high school; however, life got in the way, and it took some time to find the right path. After attending classes on and off for seven years, she obtained her Associate of Arts degree from the former Cumberland County College and transferred to Temple University. Kristen graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with the intention of going into clinical counseling; though after some time working, she pivoted and completed her Master of Science in Administration of Human Services degree from Wilmington University. Kristen obtained her Doctor of Social Science in Prevention Science degree in December 2022, also with Wilmington University. Her dissertation The Impact of Mental Health and Trauma on Student Retention: A Faculty Perspective was a phenomenological study of community college faculty and their experience on the front-line of the student mental crisis.

Dr. Wilson is a higher education professional working from a human services and prevention science lens. Putting Maslow before Bloom, she strives to put student basic needs and mental health at the forefront of student success and retention initiatives. Dr. Wilson works for Rowan College of South Jersey in Sewell, New Jersey as their Director of Behavioral Services, leading basic needs initiatives and collaborating with the college’s premier partner, Acenda Integrated Health. Prior to higher education, Dr. Wilson worked for a tri-county victim services provider, gaining a deep knowledge of power-based relationships and their long-term impact on mental health.

In addition to her professional and educational experience, Dr. Wilson has battled with her own mental health and suicidality for many years. This has impacted her personal relationships, professional life, and educational experience. Through therapy and self-work, she feels mostly on top of her mental health – especially when she uses her tools to manage her stress and emotions.  She spends her free time with her husband of seven years and Qatari rescue dog, Estelle.

Panelists:

Jacob Bates

Jacob Bates

I am a graduate of the University of Delaware Class of 2022 and am currently employed at Sean’s House as the Director of Operations. My daily responsibilities include coordinating events at the house, organizing volunteers, and general maintenance of the house. I have struggled with anxiety, depression, and OCD for roughly ten years. I have aspirations to go to graduate school to become a therapist.

Allison Burns

Allison Burns

My name is Allison Burns and I graduated from the University of Delaware in May 2023 with a B.A in Psychology and a B.S. in Human Services with honors. I was a scholarship athlete on the D1 Women’s Rowing team for the University of Delaware and have been a part of Sean’s House since its opening in September of 2020. I am currently serving as Director of Peer Support at Sean’s House, working to provide guidance and support to our Peer24 staff, and hope to continue further education in the field of psychology.
Dr. Jackie B. Cousin

Dr. Jackie B. Cousin

Dr. Jackie B. Cousin is the Executive Director for ContactLifeline which is a 24-hours Crisis Helpline service and Rape Crisis center. Crisis Helpline serves population suffering suicidal ideation, depression, the chronically mentally ill, rape and sexual assault victims and the general population in need of information and referral services and anyone in need of 24 hours/7 days a week counseling service. The Crisis Helpline is available to anyone regardless of age or demographic particulars.

The target population for ContactLifeline’s Rape Crisis Services is victims of sexual violence and offered to all survivors. By providing 24 hours/7 days a week rape crisis services, including accompaniments to hospitals, police and court processing, victims of sexual assault will be able to access services any time, day or night and be assisted in their recovery whenever they have a need. In addition, the agency provides onsite counseling services to middle and high school students in need at their school.

Jackie B. Cousin holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Buffalo State; a master in Public Administration from Wilmington College; and a doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership from Wilmington University. She has over 15 years of experience in social services in the areas of child abuse and neglect and early intervention school-based family crisis therapist program in the school system. In addition, Dr. Cousin served five years as an executive director for a non-profit that was responsible for implementing a Neighborhood Revitalization Plan for a low-to-moderate community. She also has 15 years of experience in leadership and human resources while serving as a supervisor with the State of Delaware and an executive director for a non-profit. In addition, Dr. Cousin is an Adjunct Professor at Wilmington University. She teaches courses in organization (undergraduate) and administration of human services (graduate).

Dr. Michelle Ratcliff

Dr. Michelle Ratcliff

Dr. Michelle Ratcliff is a trauma focused clinician and educator with 22 years of Social Work experience child welfare, trauma and mental health serving in various populations, such as homelessness, pregnant and parenting teens, drug and alcohol, physical abuse and neglect, as well as sexual and domestic abuse/violence in communities, schools and shelters. Dr. Ratcliff is an Assistant Professor at Delaware State University where she teaches in the social work department. Additionally, she provides individual and family therapy at a non- profit program in Media, PA where she works with clients who have endured trauma, sexual abuse, depression, anxiety, behavioral issues, and other mental health disorders and provides pre- marital and marital counseling in her church and community.

Dr. Ratcliff is a certified Trauma health professional who holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in African Studies from the University of Pittsburgh, a Master of Social Service from Bryn Mawr College, and a Doctor of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from Eastern University.

Art Activity Presenter:

Vanesa Simon

Vanesa Simon

Vanesa Simon is an Artist Entrepreneur and Owner of Mariposa Arts, whose mission is to make creativity accessible to all communities as a healing tool. Mariposa Arts has been contracted as the Program Director of Healing Through the Arts for the Delaware Art Museum, a program Vanesa piloted in 2017. This program works with an array of organizations in Delaware to bring varied art modalities to communities facing health, environmental and historic traumas. Vanesa holds a Creative Catalyst Certificate, a 9- month program from the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She is a Certified Zentangle Instructor; holds a Trauma-Informed Artist certification & training for instructing Adults as Beginners from the Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation; has been trained in Creative Aging facilitation practices through Lifetime Arts; and is a Certified Facilitator for Open Studio Project method. She is proud to be an active member of Delaware Shakespeare Board of Directors and on their Strategic Planning Committee. She is a member of Instantes Graficos International Artist Collective and has participated in exhibitions in throughout Argentina, Barcelona, Printed Matter Art Book Fair NYC & locally at Chris White Gallery in Wilmington, DE.

Thank You to Our Sponsors:

• SUN Behavioral Health

• SL24: Unlocke The Light Foundation
• Rockford Center

2022 Higher Education Suicide Prevention Conference

Overview: 

On October 12th, 2022, the UMatter2DE Higher Education Suicide Prevention Subcommittee hosted their fifth annual conference on Zoom. The conference explored the theme “How to Support Yourself and Others” in higher education settings through an opening remarks speaker, self-care activities, a keynote speaker and three panelists. The conference started with opening remarks from Jennifer Seo, the Deputy Director of the Mental Health Association in Delaware. She recognized the committee’s efforts and highlighted the conference’s evolution to mark the fifth-year anniversary. The conference then welcomed Lauren Fonvielle, an Integrative Energy Coach. She set the tone of prioritizing self-care and self-awareness by demonstrating Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), a powerful stress-relieving tool. Following the relaxing activity was our keynote speaker Dawn S. Paramore, LPCMH, NCC, CAADC, CPC, ABD, the C.E.O. of Tranquil Solutions for a Centered Mind, LLC and Camp BLISS Kids, Inc. In her keynote “FLIGHT 101: A Travel Guide to Mental Health, Self-Preservation and Beyond,” she delved into the metaphor of traveling and mental health and shared powerful statements of how crucial self-advocacy, self-preservation and self-care are for mental wellbeing. Following the keynote speech was our panel joined by three panelists: Ethan Fields, the Director of Higher Education Program Outreach & Promotion for The Jed Foundation; Tammi Ginsberg, the President of the American Foundation Suicide Prevention’s Maryland chapter; and Phillip J. Roundtree, a Social Work Professor at Delaware State University and the host of the Youtube-based show Rhetorically Speaking and the #YouGoodMan? Men’s Wellness Podcast. The interactive panel discussed important topics including self-care, self-advocacy and crisis support, and instilled a sense of hope and camaraderie. We then ended with Jessica Lewis, CPT, CNC and Monica Motyka, both of whom are Tai Chi Instructors. They closed out the conference with a grounding Tai Chi demonstration, leaving us with another notable self-care, mindfulness tool. 

 

The UMatter2DE Higher Education Suicide Prevention Subcommittee would like to recognize Chaplain Pam Adams and Esther Curtis, MSM-HCA, the MC and moderator respectively. Likewise, a special thank you to the subcommittee members for all of their hard work helping plan and advertise this event!

Recording:

Resources:

Keynote Speaker:

Dawn S. Paramore, LPCMH, NCC, CAADC, CPC, ABD

Dawn S. Paramore, LPCMH, NCC, CAADC, CPC, ABD

CEO @ Tranquil Solutions for a Centered Mind, LLC and Camp BLISS Kids, Inc.

Dawn is a Philadelphia native and is a licensed mental health professional pursuing a Doctorate in Prevention Science from Wilmington University and receiving a Master’s Degree in Community Counseling. Dawn is the C.E.O. of Tranquil Solutions for a Centered Mind, LLC (www.ACenteredMind.com) and Camp BLISS Kids, Inc. (www.CampBlissKids.com). Dawn received several certifications focusing on trauma-informed care, prevention, and substance abuse, treating children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families. Licenses and certifications include: Licensed Professional Counselor of Mental Health (LPCMH), Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CAADC), National Board of Certified Counselors (NCC), Certified Prevention Specialist (CPS), National Certification for Trauma-Focused – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT).

Panelists:

Ethan Field, M.S.Ed.

Ethan Field, M.S.Ed.

Director of Higher Education Program Outreach & Promotion @ Jed Foundation

Ethan joined The Jed Foundation (JED) in October 2018 as a Campus Advisor and currently serves as the Director of Higher Education Program Outreach & Promotion. He has served as a consultant for over 50 colleges and universities nationwide that are partnering with JED on mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention strategic planning efforts. In his current role, he is responsible for leading the expansion of JED’s higher education programs to 1,800 campuses nationwide. Ethan’s professional background is in higher education administration and previously held positions in residence life and student conduct at Drexel University and Lehigh University.

Tammi Ginsberg, LCPC

Tammi Ginsberg, LCPC

President @AFSP Maryland Chapter

Tammi Ginsberg is a mental health professional and the president of the AFSP Maryland chapter where she is focused on saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. Her goal is to educate as many people as possible on research, risk, warning signs and prevention. Tammi’s brother died by suicide when she was a junior at UMD. Her journey of healing includes her own struggle with depression which catapulted her into her second career as an LCPC. In that role, she works with people with mood disorders as well as those who have been affected by suicide.

Phillip J. Roundtree, LCSW, MS

Phillip J. Roundtree, LCSW, MS

Social Work Professor @ Delaware State University

Phillip J. Roundtree is a dynamic Scholar-Activist, Social Work Professor at Delaware State University, licensed clinical social worker, host of the Youtube-based daily digital show Rhetorically Speaking and the #YouGoodMan? Men’s Wellness Podcast. Recognizing society’s lack of emphasis on mental health; thus, he’s evolved into a staunch advocate for historically oppressed persons, specifically Black and Brown people and other persons of the global majority. He uses his personal and professional experiences to educate and empower individuals and communities, while currently completing his Doctorate in Social Work at Kutztown University.

Presenters:

Lauren Fonvielle

Lauren Fonvielle

Integrative Energy Coach @ Mindshift with Lauren

Lauren is an Integrative Energy Coach, specializing in EFT/ Tapping for stress, anxiety, and trauma. She guides her clients on a journey of self healing to break through obstacles – physical, mental, or emotional – that are keeping them stuck and holding them back in life or business. She believes we all have the answers within, and sometimes we just need a little help accessing them.

Jessica Lewis, CPT, CNC

Jessica Lewis, CPT, CNC

Founder @ SCULPT YOUR LIFE

Jessica Lewis, CPT, CNC holds accreditations in several styles of Tai Chi including the VA’s Tai Chi for Veterans, a groundbreaking program which was developed in response to the high Veteran suicide rate. Besides teaching Tai Chi and various relaxation/meditation techniques, Jessica is also certified as both a Master Personal Trainer and Nutritional Counselor. In 2004 she founded her private practice SCULPT YOUR LIFE® and describes her work since that time as Lifestyle Coaching. Jessica’s unusual perspectives on the true nature of health and wellbeing enable her to work with anyone, no matter where they fall on their own personal path towards any healthy goal. Over the years, Jessica’s track record for coaching clients through complete life-transformations has been outstanding yet she’s also a gifted group instructor; in addition to the VA her long-time teaching and coaching contracts include Widener University, the Cancer Support Community of Delaware and the American Red Cross.

2021 Higher Education Suicide Prevention Conference

On November 16th, 2021, the UMatter2DE Higher Education Suicide Prevention Subcommittee presented an in-person half-day conference on Delaware State University’s main campus. During the conference, presenters from across the nation discussed with attendees how we can create a suicide safer community in higher education settings. The committee hosted four presenters with various knowledge, experience and resources about suicide prevention. These four individuals were Darian Elmendorf, the Director of Peer Support at Sean’s House; Meisje Scales, MPH, a Research Associate at the University of Delaware’s Center for Drug and Health Studies; Rachel Ryding, PhD, a Research Associate at the University of Delaware’s Center for Drug and Health Studies; and Ali Borowsky, the Founder & CEO of Find Your Anchor. The free conference had vendors in the Delaware community fighting to end suicide. This included other higher education institutions, local non-profit organizations and suicide prevention resources in Delaware.

2020 Higher Education Suicide Prevention Conference

On November 12th, 2020, the UMatter2DE Higher Education Suicide Prevention Subcommittee hosted their first virtual conference and welcomed four presenters: Janel Austin, a Care Coordinator within DSCYF’s Divison of Prevention and Behavioral Health Services; Audrey Hausig, a Board Certified Music Therapist; Chris Locke, the founder of SL24 UnLocke The Light Foundation; and Victoria Sweeney, the Board Chair of the Delaware Chapter of the American Foundation on Suicide Prevention (AFSP). They talked on a peer, professional and personal level about their perspectives on suicide completion, attempts and recovery, and discussed how suicide has made a life impact on them. The day started with a mindfulness session and ended with resources that can be helpful to students in crisis. 

2019 Higher Education Suicide Prevention Conference

On October 8, 2019, the UMatter2DE Conference 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.

2018 Higher Education Suicide Prevention Conference

On October 30th, 2018, the 1st UMatter2DE Higher Education Suicide Prevention Conference was held at the Wilmington University Dover Campus. The conference started with opening remarks from representatives of the Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health Services, Wilmington University, and a young lady named Kelly Marzoli who helped start a student organization called Friends 4 Friends at the University of Delaware after she lost a close friend to suicide.  Kelly’s opening remarks were powerful and set the tone for the rest of the event.  The conference also welcomed keynote address by Jennifer Smolowitz, MPA, who is the Project Director for Suicide Prevention at the Mental Health Association in Delaware on the topic of suicide prevention, particularly relating to college communities.  The event also included presentations on topics such as Humor & Relaxation and Mindfulness as the focus and theme of this conference was self-care.  Rockford Center and Dover Behavioral Health generously provided refreshments for conference attendees,  the space was provided at no cost by Wilmington University and materials were mainly funded by Project SAFETY.