GARY | “Suicide and Substance Abuse” is the focus of this year’s Faces of Suicide conference from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Nov. 9, co-sponsored by the Northwest Indiana Suicide Prevention Council and the Wellness Team of Indiana University Northwest.
The conference will be held at the Indiana University Northwest Anderson Library Conference Center, 3400 Broadway.
Open to the public, attendees have included school personnel, law enforcement, mental health and medical professionals, as well as community members who desire to help someone struggling with these issues.
A $60 fee includes continental breakfast, box lunch, handouts and a Professional Continuing Education Unit (CEU) certificate. Students attend for $30. Registration is due Friday, but late registrations may be accepted if space is available. Register with Sandy Appleby at Geminus Corp., (219) 757-1972 or email@example.com.
In the U.S. alone, suicide kills more than 36,000 people a year - a death every 14 minutes. In Indiana, suicide ranks among the top 4 causes of death for all ages 10 to 54, and is the second leading cause of death for those 15 to 24.
Annually, there are an estimated 900,000 attempted suicides. A growing body of evidence suggests that alcohol and drug abuse are second only to depression and other mood disorders when it comes to risk factors for suicide.
“When a relationship breaks up, friends say someone else will come along and what you need right now is have a good time and forget her. They don’t realize until it is too late that alcohol is a depressant, judgment is impaired, the person can become more hopeless and they could die by suicide. Friends then feel very guilty and wonder how they missed the signs," said Sandy Appleby, a member of the NWI Suicide Prevention Council and a crisis grief counselor. “We hope. . .this conference will shed light on the ways our community can intervene before it is too late and help those who have experienced loss.”
The conference will feature keynote speaker Lee Stephen, MA, LCSW with 40 years of experience walking alongside individuals in recovery, both from mental illness and substance abuse. Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura will discuss youth suicide and the court perspective, and Britta Neinast, LSW, will speak about ways to support suicide survivors.
A discussion panel will answer questions about suicide prevention when substances are involved. Additionally, an afternoon panel will discuss suicide assessment, intervention and support for individuals in long term recovery.