Experts to offer insight at Suicide Prevention Symposium

Experts to offer insight at Suicide Prevention Symposium

Thu Oct 15, 2015
Brazosport College will host the 2015 Brazoria County Suicide Prevention Symposium from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 6 at Gator Hall on the Brazosport College campus.

The event, sponsored by the United Way, the Mental Health Task Force of Brazoria County, Brazosport College and others, will bring Brazoria County youth and adults together to urge people to action. Participants include schools, the faith community, law enforcement agencies, mental health professionals, health professionals, community agencies, business professionals and interested citizens.

“Everyone in the community has a role in suicide prevention,” said one of the symposium’s speakers, Jennifer Battle, LMSW, The Harris Center HelpLine Director. “It’s important to be able to help someone in need. You just need to be aware of the warning signs, be prepared to listen and have an idea of who to ask for help.

“That’s why community training is so important. We can help you do all of these things,” she added.

Battle, who is also the Director of the Harris County Crisis Hotline, will speak on accessing care through crisis hotlines.

Battle is only one of a passionate lineup of presenters at this symposium, though.

Dr. Tom Ellis, PsyD, ABPP, a senior staff psychologist at the Menninger Clinic and a professor of psychiatry in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine, will present “The Bad and the Good News about Working with Suicidal Patients.”

Ellis’s research and publications focus on suicide, including cognitive characteristics of suicidal individuals, classification issues and the effectiveness of psychotherapeutic interventions. He is the author of “Cognition and Suicide: Theory, Research and Practice” and the co-author of “Suicide Risk: Assessment and Response Guidelines” and “Choosing to Live: How to Defeat Suicide through Cognitive Therapy.

“Suicide is what happens when adversity collides with vulnerability,” Ellis said. “Our job in mental health is to provide shelter from this ‘perfect storm,’ while also helping the individual build a better boat.”

Others speaking at the Suicide Prevention Symposium include Beverly Bernzen, LCSW, a past-chair of the Texas Suicide Prevention Council, and Murphy Roland, State of Texas Community Coordinator for Army One Source, SCSC.

Bernzen will teach basic community suicide prevention skills, while Roland will address suicide prevention in the military

“State and community involvement is critical in addressing military suicide prevention,” Roland said.

The symposium will also spotlight local high school and college students currently engaged in prevention efforts.

Most importantly, however, the Suicide Prevention Symposium allows local agencies to come together with a goal of inspiring people to create an impact in a collaborative, coordinated way.

Symposium registration is $35 and includes breakfast, lunch and six CEUs. Registration for full time students is $15. The registration deadline is Oct. 23, 2015. For more information about the 2015 Brazoria County Suicide Prevention Symposium, contact Gloria Luna at (979) 849-9402 or