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American Association of Suicidology Hosts 50th Annual Conference

 Link to $10 tickets

$10 S Word Video Screening Tickets (open to public) Apr 27th, 8:00 PM

Honoring the Past; Innovating for the Future

Suicide rates continue to climb steadily, and the AAS recognizes that a multifaceted, multidisciplinary approach to suicide prevention is the only way to reduce suicide deaths.”
— Amy Kulp, AAS Interim Executive Director
PHOENIX, ARIZONA, U.S., April 21, 2017 / -- In 2015, Arizona lost 1,276 people to suicide—one person every seven hours. Arizona is ranked 13th in the country in terms of suicide deaths. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death nationally, and the 8th leading cause of death in Arizona.

Suicide rates continue to climb steadily, and the American Association of Suicidology (AAS) recognizes that a multifaceted, multidisciplinary approach to suicide prevention is the only way to reduce suicide deaths. Amy Kulp, Interim Executive Director of AAS reminds us, “AAS founders laid the groundwork on which many of today’s clinical interventions, prevention and postvention programs, and research are based. AAS is honored to have been part of the field’s history, and looks forward to continuing our leadership well into the future. Because one life lost to suicide is one too many.” We anticipate over 1,000 attendees to this year’s conference.

The first ever AAS Innovations Summit, showcasing this field’s most groundbreaking work, will take place on Friday, April 28th 2017, during the 50th Annual AAS Conference. This event, featuring local, premiere stakeholders is a provocative tour through some of the most exciting, life-saving products promising to change the state of the public and veteran behavioral health care systems and services in Arizona. The goal of these presentations is to galvanize support for new partnerships and foster interdisciplinary collaborations for the best new research in the suicide prevention industry.

"We know much more about suicidality and suicide prevention than we did when the AAS conference began 50 years ago. Over the last five decades, our field has strengthened and joined together to bring suicide out of the shadow of shame and into the light of hope. Today, conversations about suicide no longer focus on hopelessness, despair, or inevitability, but instead recovery, connectedness and resiliency. And just recently, our field took another important step toward strengthening efforts by uniting around a common, defined and achievable goal of reducing the annual suicide rate 20 percent by 2025.” - Jerry Reed, Director, Suicide Prevention Resource Center, Zero Suicide

"In 2014, AAS was the first organization to give suicide attempt survivors a voice at their table. The next 50 years of suicide prevention work will be defined by that inclusion; folks with lived expertise of suicidality and suicide loss will work as equals, alongside clinicians, researchers, and crisis teams, toward the shared goal of saving lives,” says Dese’Rae L. Stage, creator of Live Through This.

“Phoenix will be my twelfth conference, and every year I’ve seen the organization pursue better science, and also share solutions that can make a difference now. AAS has done both,” says David Covington, incoming president-elect. AAS, its partners, collaborators, and suicide prevention stakeholders look forward to the coming decades when suicide rates will be dramatically reduced, or even eliminated altogether by addressing it head-on as a preventable, public health issue.

Innovators and Presentations Include (full program book can be found here):
Presentation: Panelists will discuss the current climate of behavioral healthcare in Arizona, across the country, and how local efforts can translate into the future of progressive mental health services.
• Brian Beutin - CEO, Banner Behavioral Health
• Justin Chase, LMSW, CPHQ, FNCCM - President/CEO, Crisis Response Network (crisis center in AZ)
Presentation: 42CFR, Data Privacy and the future of the Health Information Exchange
• Laura Young – Managing Director, Converge Health Information Systems/President HIMSS Arizona
Presentation: Building an Ecosystem of Support for Veteran Suicide Prevention
• Thomas Winkel, MA, LPC, NCC - Director, Arizona Coalition for Military Families
• Wanda Wright - Director, Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services
• Jerry Reed - Director, Suicide Prevention Resource Center, Zero Suicide

A special documentary screening event will also be featured at this year’s conference. . Click here to purchase tickets. The S Word Documentary Screening and Panel (Wednesday, April 27th, 8 p.m.): Showcase Screening of The S Word, a feature-length documentary by award-winning director Lisa Klein (Of Two Minds). This documentary follows suicide attempt survivors, loss survivors, and features interviews from suicide prevention experts to open the conversation about suicide in the public sphere (needs re-wording). This premiere screening will be followed by a panel with Lisa Klein, Dr. April Foreman, Dr. Bill Schmitz, and Dese’Rae L. Stage. Tickets to the screening will also be available for purchase by the general public.

To schedule interviews with any of the presenters above, please feel free to contact them with the information provided. You may also contact Amy Kulp, Interim Executive Director of AAS.
For the Media: Responsible reporting on suicide, including stories of hope and resilience, can prevent more suicides. Please visit the Reporting on Suicide guidelines for more information.

About AAS: Founded in 1968 by Edwin S. Shneidman, PhD, AAS promotes research, public awareness programs, public education and training for professionals and volunteers. The membership of AAS includes mental health and public health professionals, researchers, suicide prevention and crisis intervention centers, school districts, crisis center volunteers, survivors of suicide loss, attempt survivors, and a variety of lay persons who have in interest in suicide prevention. You can learn more about AAS at

Click here to download the AAS Annual Conference Press Kit.

Amy Kulp, M.S.
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