Lifelines

Preventing Teen Suicide

Thursday, February 28, 2019
United Methodist Church of the Resurrection
13720 Roe Avenue, Leawood, KS (map)

FREE admission
Registration required

6:30-8pm, program
8-8:30pm, community fair

in partnership with

Teen suicide rates in the Kansas City Metro area have spiked in the past few years, outpacing the national average.

What’s happening? And how can we help prevent these tragic losses?

Increasingly, school and mental health officials in the area are turning to young people themselves for answers.

Join American Public Square and KCUR 89.3 on February 28 for a discussion on teen suicide prevention in the KC Metro area and beyond. Panelists will examine contributing factors, warning signs, affected communities, and prevention and treatment strategies.

KCUR 89.3’s Laura Ziegler will present special reporting, and after the panel program, a community resource fair will feature groups dealing with and providing services around youth suicide.

For more information about the community fair, please contact our Program Director, Jeff Fendorf, jfendorf@americanpublicsquare.org or 816-235-5064.

Panelists

Dr. Sean Joe

Dr. Sean Joe

Benjamin E. Youngdahl Professor of Social Development, Washington University in St. Louis

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Sean Joe is a nationally recognized authority on suicidal behavior among African Americans. His research focuses on Black adolescents’ mental health service use patterns, the role of religion in Black suicidal behavior, salivary biomarkers for suicidal behavior, and development of father-focused, family-based interventions to prevent urban African American adolescent males from engaging in multiple forms of self-destructive behaviors.

Working within the Center for Social Development, Joe has launched the Race and Opportunity Lab, which examines race, opportunity, and social mobility in the St. Louis region, working to reduce inequality in adolescents’ transition into adulthood.

Joe served on the board of the Suicide Prevention Action Network (SPAN USA), the scientific advisory board of the National Organization of People of Color Against Suicide, and the editorial board of Advancing Suicide Prevention. He is the founder and director of the Emerging Scholars Interdisciplinary Network, a national interdisciplinary and multi-ethnic professional development network for early career social and behavior scientist.

In recognition of the impact of his work, Joe has received the Edwin Shneidman Award from the American Association of Suicidology for outstanding contributions in research, as well as the Early Career Achievement Award from the Society for Social Work and Research.

Dr. Kimberly O'Brien

Dr. Kimberly O'Brien

Research Scientist, Boston Children's Hospital and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

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Kimberly H. McManama O’Brien, PhD, LICSW, is a research scientist at Boston Children’s Hospital and Education Development Center, and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. O’Brien received her BA from Harvard University, MSW and PhD from Boston College, and completed a NIAAA T32 postdoctoral fellowship at Brown University’s Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies. Her work focuses on the development and testing of brief interventions for suicidal adolescents with and without substance use and their families, with an additional specialization on interventions which utilize technology. Her research also involves training social workers and other health professionals in suicide-and substance-related knowledge and brief interventions. Dr. O’Brien is currently funded by NIAAA to develop and test a brief alcohol intervention and mHealth booster for suicidal adolescents. She is also co-developing and testing a smartphone app intervention for adolescents at risk for suicide, as well as a social media intervention. Dr. O’Brien is a co-investigator on two other NIMH-funded studies; one is examining factors that lead sexual minority youth to have higher rates of suicidal and non-suicidal self-injurious behaviors, and the other is developing and testing a novel suite of simulated suicide risk assessment trainings. In addition to her research and teaching experience, Dr. O’Brien is the founder and director of the school counseling program at Charles River School, a private school for grades Pre-K to 8 in Dover, MA.

Kim Shaw-Ellis

Kim Shaw-Ellis

Basic Training Instructor, Diversity Officer, and LGBTQ Liaison Officer, KCPD

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Kim Shaw-Ellis’s career in law enforcement began over 31 years ago. She first served in the U.S. Air Force as Military Police, before joining the Denver Sheriff Department in 1992. There she worked as a Deputy Sheriff for 6 years. Shaw-Ellis joined the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department in 1998 and has been with KCPD for more than 20 years. At the KCPD, she has held positions in the East Patrol Division, Central Patrol Division, North Patrol Division, and as a Detective in Violent Crimes Division (both Domestic Violence and Homicide). Currently she is assigned to the Regional Training Academy as a Basic Training Instructor and is the Diversity Officer
and the LGBTQ Liaison Officer for the KCPD.

Dr. Todd White

Dr. Todd White

Superintendent, Blue Valley Schools

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Dr. Todd White is a skilled educational leader with more than 30 years of experience in education. White assumed the role of Blue Valley Schools Superintendent in the spring of 2016, making him the seventh superintendent in district history. He leads the district’s strategic efforts for unprecedented academic success and unparalleled personal growth for every student. White describes his leadership style as team-centric and believes that student success lies in the immensely talented group of people who make up the Blue Valley Schools.

It is this spirit of collaboration and teamwork that has resulted in White’s proven track record in education. His experience in educational leadership includes a combined 13 years as a superintendent for the Harrisonville School District (2,500 students) and North Kansas City School District (19,500 students). Under his leadership, rapid improvements in student achievement and graduation rates earned him the Missouri Superintendent of the Year (MIPA) in 2015 and Outstanding Superintendent in 2013 from the Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA).

His reputation for success also earned him accolades from the community. White was named a 2016 Outstanding Superintendent in the first annual Speak Up Shout Out Awards for the district’s exceptional participation in the Speak Up Research Project for Digital Learning. In 2014, he was awarded the Richard Noll Award of Excellence in Government Service by Northland Neighborhoods, Inc. for his understanding that strong neighborhoods build strong schools. White was also named the 2015 Missouri Interscholastic Press Association Administrator of the Year for providing outstanding service to journalism.

White earned a bachelor’s degree from William Jewell College, a master’s degree and educational specialist degree from the University of Central Missouri and a doctorate degree from the University of Missouri. He and his wife have three children and three grandchildren.​​

Moderator: Brian Ellison

Moderator: Brian Ellison

Host/Contributor, KCUR 89.3

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Brian Ellison is a host of KCUR talk shows, podcasts and live community events. He is regular substitute host of Central Standard and Up to Date and hosted the political podcast Statehouse Blend Missouri. He also contributes to the station’s news coverage, including political reporting, anchoring election night broadcasts and conducting interviews for KCUR’s Morning Edition. He has moderated panel discussions in partnership with American Public Square, anchored live statewide coverage of Missouri political events, and appeared frequently on NPR’s Here and Now.

An ordained Presbyterian minister, Brian is also executive director of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, and a regional administrator for Presbyterian churches in Kansas and Missouri.

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