Monday, March 21, 2011

Suicide prevention topic of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Summit March 30-31 in Laramie

The University of Wyoming Counseling Center hosts its fourth annual Higher Education Mental Health and Substance Abuse Summit March 30-31 at the UW Conference in the Hilton Garden Inn in Laramie. The topic is suicide prevention.

This is an especially important topic for the state's young people. For young people everywhere. Suicide ranks third as a cause of death among young (15-24) Americans behind accidents and homicides.

"Mental health, suicide, and substance abuse are topics that affect college students and those working with college students regularly," says Lena Newlin, UW Alcohol Wellness Alternatives, Research and Education (AWARE) Program coordinator. "It is important for professionals working with college students to have the understanding and skills on how to best address these issues. This summit will provide an opportunity for training and collaboration to people throughout Wyoming who work with college students."

Several professionals in their respective fields are the scheduled speakers during the summit. Harry Rockland-Miller, Ph.D, will present the clinicians training, which will provide an advanced clinical training program known as "Recognizing and Responding to Suicide Risk."

The training is offered through the American Association of Suicidology and is based on established core competencies that mental health professionals need to effectively assess and manage suicide risk. Rockland-Miller is director of the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health, and an associate director of University Health Services at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Rockland-Miller is a trainer and consultant in areas including college mental health, clinical triage, suicide prevention and mental health care delivery. Other clinical interests include crisis intervention, brief therapy and hospital-based treatment.

Kathy Cordell, of Cheyenne, a life coach specializing in medical care, will present the two-day training designed for non-clinicians. Cordell will share her knowledge and techniques of Motivational Interviewing (MI). MI is a student/client-centered, directive method for enhancing intrinsic motivation to change by exploring and resolving ambivalence.

Cordell has an established background working in community healthcare. She has had extensive training in motivational interviewing techniques and facilitates MI training sessions at medical institutions throughout Wyoming to broaden the scope of screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment for substance use.

A pre-conference Gatekeeper's train-the-trainer workshop will be held a day before the actual event Tuesday March, 29. UW's Gatekeeper's training program teaches participants how to recognize the signs and symptoms of someone who might be suicidal and how to refer them to seek professional help.

A lunch presentation Wednesday will feature Keith Hotle from the Wyoming Department of Health.

For more information about the event, presenters, schedule, accommodations or to register, visit the summit website at

For more information, contact Newlin, in the UW Counseling Center at (307) 766-2187 or

Photo: Harry Rockland-Miller, director of the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, will provide an advanced clinical training program known as "Recognizing and Responding to Suicide Risk." (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)

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