The forum is part of he Owensboro Regional Suicide Prevention Coalition’s annual conference, which continues with a professional workshop on April 24, coalition President Mike Flaherty said.
The Grahams lost two sons within nine months of each other — Kevin to suicide and Jeff to a roadside bomb in Iraq.
According to Flaherty, in addition to the grief from those losses, the Grahams were “taken back by the drastically different responses they got based on their son’s death, so they started channeling their grief, fighting not only the armed forces suicide epidemic, but the stigma associated with suicide in general,” he said.
Speakers like the Grahams allow people to better relate, he said.
“Statistics are just numbers and people can learn things from them, but can’t really relate to a number,” he said. “When someone steps up and puts a face to the subject, even a traumatic subject like suicide, it resonates with people and it touches people and I think it has an impact on people that statistics don’t … Other survivors of suicide that I’ve talked to are the most important messengers to bring about change.”
The conference continues from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 24 in the OHRH auditorium. Registration is from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.
Dr. William “Bill” Schmitz Jr., a clinical psychologist and president of the American Association of Suicidology, will present “Tough Talk — suicide prevention with men: assessment, treatment and management,” Flaherty said.
People can register for the professional workshop online at surveymonkey.com/s/GLP9WNP. Cost is $50 for 6.5 continuing education units will be available for mental health professionals. Any other person not seeking CEU’s can attend for $20.00 fee. Interested participants can also register at the door.
The Owensboro Regional Suicide Prevention Coalition is a private nonprofit organization that works to prevent suicide.
More information about the coalition can be found online at orspc.org.
Learn more about the Grahams at http://www.parsonscompanyinc.com/speakers/genmarkcarolgraham.html