Prevention Talk # 6: Preventing Suicidal Behaviors and Associated Risk Factors
Time & Location
About the Event
Youth suicide rates have increased approximately 40% over the past decade. There is a growing focus on the importance of upstream development of healthy networks and social connection to significantly reduce suicides. Both the most recent US Surgeon General’s call to action for national suicide prevention, and the CDC’s key strategies for suicide prevention emphasize the need for prevention work to move upstream, to create protective environments, and to promote connectedness; with the CDC specifically highlighting programs that target peer norms. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp relief the importance of healthy social connections, and the many challenges that come when these connections are disrupted.
We invite you to this prevention talk to engage with the team from the University of Rochester, including Peter A Wyman (Academic Chief in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Division at the University of Rochester School of Medicine), PhD, Bryan Yates, BA (Senior Program Manager) and Chelsea Keller-Elliott, MS, LMFT (Senior Program Manager), around how Network Health Interventions can be used to prevent suicidal behaviors and associated risk factors including depression. This team has utilized analysis of peer networks and youth-adult networks to create a Network Health Diffusion Model for suicide prevention. They will describe two network-informed suicide prevention programs: Sources of Strength, which trains key opinion leaders within secondary schools to spread health in their schools; and Wingman-Connect, a group training for new Air Force trainees. This talk will describe and provide examples of how these 2 programs utilize network science mechanisms to effectively and efficiently bring prevention upstream and promote the growth of resilience at a population level. The University of Rochester team is also excited to share about their successes promoting social connection during the COVID-19 pandemic, and ideas for other prevention professionals to consider when undertaking this work during times of social distancing and beyond.
Peter A Wyman, PhD
Dr. Peter A. Wyman is Professor of Psychiatry and Academic Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Rochester School of Medicine. Dr. Wyman leads a team that develops and tests interventions to mental health and health behavior problems including suicide. The National Institute of Health (NIMH, NIDA), Department of Defense, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have funded his work using a network health diffusion approach that prepares members of a population as change agents. He has led randomized controlled trials testing the Sources of Strength program in over 70 high schools and leads the DoD-funded Wingman-Connect project. Dr. Wyman participated in the Air Force Suicide Prevention Summit in 2015, was an expert panelist for the NIMH- Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention in 2013 and for the NIH Pathways to Preventing Youth Suicide (P2P) project in 2015-2016. Wyman has received the Excellence in Suicide Prevention Award from New York State and currently serves as Co-Chair of the New York State Governor’s Task Force on suicide prevention.
Chelsea Keller Elliott, MS, LMFT
Chelsea Keller Elliott is a Senior Program Coordinator and Prevention Specialist with the University of Rochester School and Community Prevention Program. She has a background in psychiatry research, education, and marriage and family therapy. Mrs. Keller Elliott is an alumna of Teach for America and taught in the Hartford, CT and Rochester, NY city school districts. She went on to earn her master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and worked as a marriage and family therapist in Rochester, NY. Her previous behavioral health research experience includes providing interventions aimed at improving community members’ safe sex practices, promoting healthy emotional coping in at-risk youth, and understanding family mental health and coping following a cancer diagnosis in a child.
Bryan Yates, BA
Mr. Bryan Yates has served as Senior Program Coordinator since 2015, leading project logistics at Sheppard Air Force Base, and liaising with Air Force Headquarters – Integrated Resilience Directorate. He is a Wingman-Connect (W-C) trainer and has led the development of adapting W-C to remote, online delivery as recipient of an Innovation Grant from UR Department of Psychiatry. Mr. Yates served 6 years as an active-duty Army combat medic in the 25th Infantry Division, (deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan) and the past 8 years in the Army Reserves. His previous research experience includes studies to assess the risk and protective factors for suicide amongst Service Members, and community and organizational factors impacting the effectiveness of military suicide prevention programming.