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Wellness Café – Suicide Prevention is Everyone’s Business: Know What You Can Do to Save a Life

Wellness Café – Suicide Prevention is Everyone’s Business: Know What You Can Do to Save a Life

November 16, 2019 @ 8:30 am – 12:45 pm America/Chicago Timezone
St. Christopher's Episcopal Church
7845 N River Rd
River Hills, WI 53217
Orsolya Garrison, DrPH, MPH

According to the World Health Organization, 1 million people die from suicide each year worldwide. Nearly 45,000 suicides occurred in the US in 2016 alone, making suicide a leading cause of death in the US and creating a significant public health problem. The Wisconsin Department of Health reports that In Wisconsin, every year, over 700 people die by suicide. Moreover, based on a 2018 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates in Wisconsin rose by nearly 26 percent since 1999. In general, factors associated with increasing suicide rates in recent decades include the Great Recession in 2008, the dramatic rise in opioid addiction and struggles with serious lifestyle problems. Even more alarming, in more than half of the deaths by suicide, victims had no known mental health conditions.

Despite this, suicide is preventable. This session will familiarize attendees with information about suicide, including data on suicide in Wisconsin, causes of suicide and warning signs. In addition, the concept of suicide as a biopsychosocial disease will be presented to provide attendees with a framework on how to conceptualize suicide prevention. An important part of the discussion will be the presentation from an individual with “lived experience” of suicide, providing attendees with information on ways to assist people in a crisis situation. Finally, discussion will address preventive and proactive efforts and policies that can help prevent suicide. The overall objective of this Wellness Café discussion is to help attendees understand that ultimately, suicide prevention is ‘everyone’s business.’

All proceeds go toward scholarships for under-represented students at the Medical College.


8:30 – 9:30 am

Gathering and light breakfast

9:30 – 10:30 am

Presentation by panelists

10:30 – 10:45 am


10:45 – 11:45 am

Discussion with guests

11:45 – 12:45 pm


About the Panel

Stephen Hargarten, MD, MPH
Emergency Medicine
Medical College of Wisconsin

Stephen Hargarten received his MD from the Medical College of Wisconsin and his MPH from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. He is Associate Dean for Global Health and Director of the Comprehensive Injury Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Dr. Hargarten’s research interests reflect an intersection of injury and violence prevention and health policy to address the burden of this biosocial disease. His work in linking data systems for understanding violent deaths informed the development of CDC’s National Violent Death Reporting System. Dr. Hargarten is the President of the Milwaukee Global Health Consortium which addresses local and global health issues including patient care, education/training, research, and community engagement.

He was the founding President of the Society for the Advancement of Violence and Injury Research (SAVIR) and has served on the Violence and Injury Prevention Mentoring Committee for the World Health Organization.

Jennifer Hernandez-Meier, PhD, MSW
Assistant Professor
Emergency Medicine
Medical College of Wisconsin

Jennifer Hernandez-Meier, PhD, MSW is an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Since 2013 she has been serving as a Research Scientist in the Comprehensive Injury Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr. Hernandez-Meier received her Doctorate and Master of Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her dissertation work examined the epidemiology and prevention of polysubstance use among college students. She currently serves as President of the Midwest Injury Prevention Alliance. Dr. Hernandez-Meier’s research interests include violence and injury prevention; firearm acquisition and possession policies; the epidemiology of alcohol and drug use; and innovative policies and interventions to address substance misuse, including prescription drug monitoring programs, medical systems-based initiatives and medication assisted treatment.

Sara Kohlbeck, MPH
Assistant Director
Comprehensive Injury Center
Medical College of Wisconsin

Sara Kohlbeck is the Assistant Director of the Comprehensive Injury Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin. She received her Master’s in Public Health from the Zilber School of Public Health at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is also enrolled as a PhD student in Public and Community Health in the Institute for Health and Equity at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Sara is currently engaged in research that deals with injury-related topics and utilizes linked datasets such as the ‘Addressing Racial Disparities in the Ascertainment and Identification of Depression, Suicidal Ideation, and Death by Suicide’. This study examines suicides among youth of color in Wisconsin in order to identify potential early indicators of suicide risk in this population. She is also involved in creating a mechanism to refer youth who are at-risk of suicide to Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction training. Sara is currently working with the state’s Department of Health Services on the newest release of the Wisconsin Burden of Suicide Report.

Patty Slatter
Board President
NAMI Rock County

Patty Slatter is the NAMI Rock County Board President, Co-Chair of NAMI Rock County’s Paint The Town Yellow 5k for Mental Health and Suicide Awareness, Mental Health America Wisconsin Faculty Member for Zero Suicide Initiative and a member of the Rock County Behavioral Health Redesign Steering Committee. Patty is trained in facilitating peer support groups and in Youth Mental Health First Aid and also sits on the Prevent Suicide Wisconsin Steering Committee.

Patty’s involvement with mental health and suicide awareness is driven by her lived experience of over 20 years. After a long road of recovery, it has been her passion to share her story in order to give others hope and assist in identifying treatment gaps. In her roles in the community, she is powered by her passion to raise awareness, support her peers, and increase knowledge and understanding to all community members in the hopes to break the silence around mental health challenges and suicide.

NIH Funding Acknowledgment: Important Reminder – Please acknowledge the NIH when publishing papers, patents, projects, and presentations resulting from the use of CTSI resources by including the NIH Funding Acknowledgement.


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