On September 8, 2018 I was honored to be one of the keynote speakers at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital for their 3rd Annual Suicide Awareness & Prevention Conference: Communities Fight Stigma Together - Having Courageous Conversations about Preventing Suicide.
What a great mental health conference to be a part of. Two other speakers were amazing and I feel the combination of the three of us really added to the excitement and energy that the conference had. Dr. Alex Crosby, an epidemiologist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came from Atlanta. Robert Stohr, MA spoke on Suicide and Loss in the LGBTQ Community. He is with Loss and Healing Council for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. They were both incredible and also a pleasure to work with and speak on the same platform with.
300 people attended the conference. They had sold out within a couple of days and had about 75 people on the standby list. I was super proud of the Southern California area for their interest in mental health and suicide prevention. Furthermore, I am very thankful to USC Verdugo Hills Hospital for continuing to show their support and hosting this conference for the third year in a row.
The conference was attended by medical professionals and mental health professionals. Doctors, nurses, other hospitals were there. There were also people who had their own stories with mental illness, teachers, superintendents, counselors, and more. Very well attended.
Suicide Prevention and Mental Health is rapidly becoming a topic of discussion in the medical field and our communities as it should. The statistics are quite concerning and if we don't continue talking about Mental Health and Wellness, Suicide Prevention and the stigma associated with mental illness we will continue to see our numbers rising at an alarming rate. The more we talk and have discussion and have mental conferences we will then see more support, compassion, understanding, empathy, and most importantly we will give people permission to reach out and ask for help.
Dr. Alex Crosby from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention talked about the 35-50 year old while male and how the numbers for this age group is one of the fastest growing statistics for suicide. As we discussed this we talked about the research and the studies from this age group and the losses and talked about the trauma they had been through. Whether that is rejection, isolation, abandonment, etc. they had suffered for many years and many didn't seek help for their issues. When I asked Dr. Crosby about mental health and mental wellness at the early ages for our adolescents and teens we talked about reaching the youth early so they take care of these issues early and don't have to address it in their ladder years. It was one of the highlights I am taking away from this weekend.
My question is why aren't we continuing to talk and bring mental health advocacy and education to our schools, our corporations, our families and be more supportive? If we aren't talking and being supportive we are being part of the problem.
Thank you USC Verdugo Hills Hospital for hosting this conference and having me as one of your speakers. It was truly an honor.
Mental Health Motivational Speaker, Jeff Yalden?
Jeff Yalden is a mental health speaker and celebrity life coach who specializes in suicide prevention and mental health awareness. Jeff is also the founder and Executive Director of The Jeff Yalden Foundation, Inc. The Foundation’s mission is to prevent suicide, improve community mental health, and shatter the stigma of mental health by initiating a positive movement to speak up and reach out.
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