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National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Lifeline Staff

John Draper, Ph.D. – Project Director

John is a psychologist who, for over 20 years, has been helping people in non-traditional service settings—in their homes or on their phones—providing crisis intervention and/or suicide prevention assistance. John became the founding director of LifeNet, NYC’s premier crisis call center, in 1996. The success of LifeNet provided John with the experience needed to oversee the administration of the Lifeline since 2004.

Shari Sinwelski, M.S./Ed.S – Associate Project Director

Shari supports the over 160 crisis centers that make up the network that is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.  Working in suicide prevention for nearly 20 years, Shari has served as a director at several call centers across the country including 2-1-1 Big Bend, Via Link and the Didi Hirsch Suicide Prevention Center, where she founded a support group for suicide attempt survivors.  Shari is a certified crisis counselor through the American Association of Suicidology and a Training Coach and safeTALK instructor with Living Works Education.

Marshall Ellis, M.A. – Vice President, Crisis & Behavioral Health Technologies 

Marshall helps to identify and promote strategies for network crisis centers on sustaining capacity, strategic partnership development and outreach to high risk communities. Marshall came to the Lifeline from CrisisLink, where he developed and implemented the organization’s fund development strategy, and led the publicity, marketing and public education activities. Marshall holds a Masters of Public Administration degree in Nonprofit Management from The George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Appalachian State University.

Gillian Murphy, Ph.D. – Director of Standards, Training, and Practices

Gillian oversees all aspects of standards and training development for the Lifeline. Prior to joining the Lifeline, Gillian was the Director of LifeNet, New York City’s primary crisis hotline for mental health and substance abuse services. She has more than 10 years of experience in the provision of community-based crisis intervention services, having led a Manhattan-based psychiatric crisis team for many years. She received her Ph.D. in clinical social work from Columbia University.

Bob Kessler – Director of Information Technology

In his role, Bob brings over 30 years of IT experience to help provide vision and leadership to the Lifeline. Bob oversees a team of IT professionals, all working together to ensure that the Lifeline is using technology to the fullest in supporting its mission of connecting callers that may be in crisis with local crisis centers.

Carole Ludwig, M.S. – Assistant Director of Network Operations

Passionate about mental health and helping others, Carole helps to grow the Lifeline with the recruitment of crisis centers and helps to develop and expand member resources. Before joining the Lifeline in 2008, Carole worked for seven years for a diverse range of organizations, including academic institutions and non-profits. Carole holds a Master’s degree in Organizational Management and Human Resource Development and hopes to change the world, one day at a time.

Frances Gonzalez, M.F.A.  Assistant Director of Communications 

Frances manages the day-to-day communications, public relations, and marketing efforts for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and works to increase the visibility and awareness of the Lifeline and its mission through innovative outreach and strategic partnerships.