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National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Standards, Training and Practices Committee

The role of the Standards, Training and Practices Committee is to identify and recommend essential, minimum standards for network member centers. This committee focuses on identifying appropriate evidence based trainings and program evaluation to support the maintenance of all recommended standards. This committee submits all recommendations to both Lifeline leadership and the Lifeline Steering Committee.

 

Bart Andrews, Ph.D. (Co-Chair)

Bart Andrews, PhD, is Vice President of Clinical Practice/Evaluation at Behavioral Health Response. He started at BHR as a crisis intervention clinician in 1998. Dr. Andrews has dedicated the last 18 years of this life to suicide and crisis intervention. Dr. Andrews is a person in recovery and a suicide attempt survivor. He believes that the path to suicide prevention must be framed in the context of relationships, community and culture. Suicide is a community health problem, and everyone can help. Dr. Andrews was recently recognized as one of the top 21 mental health professionals to follow on Twitter.

He has over 20 years of experience providing behavioral health services. Bart received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and his Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University. He is actively involved in raising community awareness about the risk of suicide and training community members, law enforcement and other professionals in suicide assessment and intervention. He participates on several crisis and suicide related boards: serves as President of the National Association of Crisis Director and Co-Chair of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s Standards, Training and Practices Sub-Committee. Dr. Andrews is also an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills (ASIST) Senior Training Coach. Through BHR, He created the first suicide follow-up program in the State of Missouri, and BHR has expanded suicide follow-up care to youth and adults throughout the eastern region of Missouri.

David A. Jobes, Ph.D., ABPP (Co-Chair)

David A. Jobes, Ph.D., ABPP, is a Professor of Psychology and Associate Director of Clinical Training at The Catholic University of America; he is an Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.  He has published five books and numerous peer-reviewed journal articles.  Dr. Jobes is a past President of the American Association of Suicidology (AAS) and he is the recipient of various awards for his scientific  work including the 1995 AAS “Shneidman Award” (early career contribution to suicidology), the 2012 AAS “Dublin Award” (for career contributions in suicidology), and the 2016 AAS “Linehan Award” (for suicide treatment research).  He has been a consultant to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the FBI, the Department of Defense, and Veterans Affairs.   Dr. Jobes is member of the Scientific Council and the Public Policy Council of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).  He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and is Board certified in clinical psychology (American Board of Professional Psychology).  Dr. Jobes maintains a private clinical and forensic practice at the Washington Psychological Center. 

Michael H. Allen, M.D.

Michael H. Allen, M.D. trained at the Institute of Living and then joined the faculty of Cornell and later, New York University School of Medicine. While at NYU, he developed the model Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program at Bellevue Hospital. He is now a Professor of Psychiatry and Emergency Medicine at the University Of Colorado School Of Medicine and is an attending at the Colorado Depression Center, consultant at the University of Colorado Hospital and medical director of the new Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners. 

Dr. Allen was a principal investigator in the NIMH Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder, received a NARSAD Independent Investigator award for the study of nicotine and agitation and was a principal investigator in the testing of inhaled loxapine for agitation. He was a member the NIH Emergency Medicine Roundtable. Michael was co-investigator on the NIH Emergency Department Safety Assessment and Follow-up Evaluation study (ED SAFE) and is currently part of PRISM, a MOMRP study of suicide screening in military primary care settings. He is a leader of the team responsible for the Suicide Prevention Resource Center’s Emergency Department Decision Support Guide. Michael chaired the American Psychiatric Association’s Task Force on Psychiatric Emergency Services, served as a member of an ACEP Clinical Policy Subcommittee, contributed to numerous national and international guidelines and served as a consultant to the US Justice Department Civil Rights Division. He is the author or editor of three books, former editor of Emergency Psychiatry, a reviewer for the Cochrane Collaborative and is currently associate editor of General Hospital Psychiatry. Dr. Allen has over 80 peer reviewed publications with citation data and his work has been cited over 2,000 times. 

Jennifer J. Armstrong, LPC-MHSP

Jennifer has over 17 years of experience working in community mental health and crisis services. She currently serves as the Director of Crisis Care Services for Centerstone, one of the nation’s largest community-based mental health providers. Centerstone’s Crisis Care Services, based out of Nashville, TN., is the primary crisis provider for 20 counties in Middle Tennessee. Crisis Care Services also serves as crisis service provider for 8 additional local and national entities. Jennifer is a member of the American Association of Suicidology and the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Crisis Organization Directors. Jennifer is an active member of the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network, and serves as Clinical Coordinator for Tennessee’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Garrett Lee Smith and NSSP suicide prevention grants. She holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Tennessee.

Margaret Balfour, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Margaret (Margie) Balfour is the VP for Clinical Innovation & Quality at Connections AZ, one of the largest providers of psychiatric emergency care in Arizona. She is responsible for managing clinical operations at the Crisis Response Center on the Banner-University Medical Center South Campus in Tucson, AZ, where she led major process improvements resulting in significant decreases door-to-doctor time, injuries and other key performance indicators. Prior to joining ConnAZ, Dr. Balfour led major improvements within the public-safety net health system for Dallas, TX, with a special emphasis on emergency psychiatric services and development of integrated care models to address the behavioral health needs of patients throughout the health system. She also worked with ValueOptions to create a new program for the highest utilizers of behavioral health services in north Texas. Dr. Balfour received her M.D. and Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Cincinnati and completed residency and a fellowship in Public and Community Psychiatry at the University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. She serves on the board of directors for the American Association of Community Psychiatrists and The American Association for Emergency Psychiatry and is active in the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Balfour was the 2010 recipient of the NAMI Dallas Professional of the Year. As an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Arizona, she remains engaged in teaching and research. 

Craig J. Bryan, Psy.D., ABPP

Craig Bryan has both a Master of Science and a Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology from Baylor University. He has a Graduate Certificate in Applied Statistics from Pennsylvania State University, and is a Diplomate at the American Board of Professional Psychology, Board Certified in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. He is Executive Director of the National Center for Veterans Studies and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at The University of Utah. His work has been published in numerous journals, including the Journal of Clinical Psychology.

Rena Fitzgerald, MIT

Rena Fitzgerald is the Sr. Program Manager for Care Crisis Chat and the Learning and Development Consultant for the Behavioral Health Programs at Volunteers of America Western Washington. She has over 15 years’ experience in crisis intervention and suicide prevention and is identified by Washington State as a Mental Health Professional. She is active in community education regarding mental health issues and works closely with public schools to reduce youth suicide by providing suicide awareness instruction to students, staff, and parents. Rena has been an active participant in the Community Health Improvement Plan group for the Snohomish Health District and is a current member of the subcommittee tasked with increasing routine depression screenings for all primary care visits within Snohomish County. She has worked closely with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline over the past two years to establish Best Practices for online suicide prevention and improve methods for Quality Improvement and Quality Assurance for hotline work, including presentations at the American Association of Suicidology Conferences the past 2 years. Rena is chairing the first AFSP Out of the Darkness Community Walk in Snohomish County and also serves on the Advisory Board for Human Services at Edmonds Community College.

Madelyn Gould, PhD, MPH

Madelyn Gould, PhD, MPH, is a Professor of Epidemiology in Psychiatry at the Columbia University Medical Center, and a Research Scientist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. During the past three decades, she has obtained extensive experience in the area of suicide prevention, conducting numerous federally funded grants from the National Institute of Health (NIMH), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and publishing several seminal articles on youth suicide risk and preventive interventions.  Her current SAMHSA-funded projects focus on the evaluation of telephone crisis follow-up services, continuity of care enhancements in EDs, chat crisis services, and telephone crisis interventions with callers at imminent suicide risk.  She is also studying youth suicide screening programs, and suicide risks related to bullying, contagion and modeling, and the effect of a peer’s suicide on fellow students.

Dr. Gould has a strong commitment to applying her research to program and policy development. She has participated in a number of U.S. government commissions on suicide prevention and has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Shneidman Award for Research from the American Association of Suicidology (AAS) in 1991, the New York State Office of Mental Health Research (NYSOMH) Award in 2002, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) Research Award in 2006, the New York State Suicide Prevention Center’s Excellence in Suicide Prevention Award in 2011, and the 2013 Dublin Award from the American Association of Suicidology (AAS), which is a lifetime achievement award for outstanding contributions to the field of suicide prevention. 

Kris Hallstrom

Kris Hallstrom is Manager of the Boys Town National Hotline and has worked for the Boys Town organization both directly with children and families and in various administrative roles. Kris has many years of experience in training direct care staff, educators, and Hotline counselors in Suicide Prevention especially as it relates to teens. Kris has been with the Boys Town National Hotline for over 20 years and has helped to launch the Hotline’s various web-based activities to reach out to teens and young adults. She participated in the development of, and currently manages the teen website Your Life Your Voice, and coordinates BTNHL’s social media presence. Kris earned her Bachelor’s Degree from University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and her Masters in Human Development and the Family from Kansas University.

Anitha Iyer, Ph.D.

Anitha Iyer is a NYS licensed Clinical Psychologist, and Clinical Director of the crisis contact center at the Mental Health Association of NYC. Dr. Iyer graduated with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University’s Teachers College. At MHA-NYC, Dr. Iyer provides oversight to clinical practices and training, and ensures ongoing quality improvement and adherence to best practices for all hotlines operated under Here to Help (H2H) Connect. Dr. Iyer completed a postdoctoral fellowship in treating Military Sexual Trauma at the Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in Long Beach, CA, and thereafter provided outpatient treatment to veterans at Northport VA Medical Center. She has an extensive background in treating victims of trauma, PTSD, and comorbid conditions related to traumatic experiences, particularly in the veteran population, as well as in culturally sensitive treatment, and collaborative, integrative, patient-centered care. Her professional affiliations include American Psychological Association (APA), New York State Psychological Association (NYSPA), and the South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS) for whom she serves on the Advisory Board. Dr. Iyer is multilingual and fluent in English, Tamil, and Hindi/ Urdu. In addition to her work at MHA-NYC, Dr. Iyer maintains a small private practice in New York City.

Linda Langford, Sc.D.

Dr. Langford has been an Evaluation and Communications Scientist at the Suicide Prevention Resource Center since 2006, providing training, resources, webinars, and consultation on an array of prevention issues including communications, strategic planning, evaluation, and translating research into practice. She has worked on various efforts designed to promote effective prevention planning, to facilitate the use of strategies that are informed by the best available science and to encourage the field to evaluate their efforts, She has also worked on several communications efforts, including supporting the development of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention’s Framework for Successful Messaging, which aims to change the national narratives about suicide prevention to focus on hope, help, and resiliency, and serving as a subject matter expert on Make the Connection, the VA’s national antistigma campaign. 

Brian Mishara, Ph. D.

Dr. Mishara is a professor of psychology and Director of the Centre for Research and Intervention on Suicide and Euthanasia (CRISE) at the University of Quebec at Montreal. He has published six books in English and five in French in the areas of suicidology and gerontology, include research on the effectiveness of suicide prevention programs, studies of how children develop an understanding of suicide, theories of the development of suicidality, ethical issues in research, euthanasia and “assisted suicide,” and evaluations of helpline effectiveness. Besides his university activities, Dr. Mishara was a founder of Suicide Action Montreal, the Montreal regional suicide prevention center and the Quebec Association of Suicidology. He is the past president of the International Association for Suicide Prevention and a past President of the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention. He was the recipient of the 1994 to 1995 Bora Laskin Canadian National Fellowship on Human Rights Research for his work on human rights issues regarding the involvement of physicians and family members in assisted suicide and euthanasia. He is currently the Vice-Chair of the Trustees of Befrienders Worldwide, the association for Samaritan and similar helplines and suicide prevention services in 40 countries. He frequently conducts training and consults on evaluations for telephone and crisis services in suicide prevention around the world.

Kimberley Mullen, Ph.D.

Dr. Mullen is a licensed clinical psychologist and the Clinical Care Coordinator for the National Veterans Crisis Line (VCL), a key component of the Department of Veterans Affairs suicide prevention program. At the VCL, she oversees the clinical training and supervision of more than 250 crisis line Responders who man the organization's phone, text and online chat services. Dr. Mullen became interested in trauma and suicidal behavior among Veterans while completing her pre-doctoral internship at the Denver VA Medical Center. She speaks at national meetings and has been interviewed in the press on topics of suicide prevention and crisis intervention with Veterans. Dr. Mullen completed her bachelor's degree in Human Development and Family Studies at Cornell University and received her doctoral training at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Keri Neblett, MSW

Keri Neblett has worked at the Crisis Center of Johnson County in Iowa City, IA for the last 12 years. As the Director of Crisis Intervention Services, she is responsible for the overall management of the Crisis Intervention Program, Suicide Prevention and Outreach Program, Suicide Survivor Support Services and Disaster Recovery Services. She is a member of the Iowa Disaster Behavioral Health Team and serves on the Iowa Suicide Prevention Planning Council. Keri is a certified QPR and ASIST trainer, and a site evaluator for Contact USA Accreditation. She is a board member for the Iowa Chapter of AFSP and is the chairperson of the Johnson County Suicide Prevention Coalition. Keri holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Iowa.

Rodrigo Olivares, MSW

Rodrigo Olivares is a seasoned behavioral health leader with more than 14 years of experience in crisis services, child welfare, youth programs, and adult outpatient and substance abuse services. He currently serves as Chief Operating and Clinical Officer for the Crisis Response Network, Inc., a community-based non-profit organization dedicated to providing innovative solutions to address long-standing inefficiencies, disparities and inconsistencies across the behavioral health and primary healthcare continuum.

The Crisis Response Network, Inc. provides an array of community-based crisis services to individuals and families who may be experiencing a distressing situation including 24/7 crisis hotline; peer-operated warm line; dispatch services for mobile crisis teams, non-emergent crisis transportation and follow up care; Eligibility and Care Services; tragedy support hotline; and various specialty support services. All crisis services are provided utilizing a multi-modal treatment model that emphasizes individual strength and resiliency.

Rodrigo holds a Master of Science in Social Work degree from the University of Texas Pan American, with major concentration in family-focused practice with Latino individuals and families. He is a member of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Dialogue on Mental Health, Creating Community Solutions Brain Trust. Rodrigo is also a nationally nominated member of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s esteemed Standards, Training, and Practices National Committee. He also proudly serves on the ABILITY360 Board of Directors and the Maricopa Association of Governments, Continuum of Care Committee in Phoenix, Arizona.

Michael Reading, MS, NCC, LMHC

Michael earned a Master of Science degree from the University of Memphis in 1996 in Community Agency Counseling. He is a National Certified Counselor and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Washington State. Having worked in the King County Public Mental Health System for 20 years serving individuals living with severe and persistent mental illness, Michael is currently the Director of Crisis Services at Crisis Clinic in Seattle, WA. He oversees the Crisis Services Department which provides various services: 24/7 Crisis Line to provide emergency telephone support for King County residents; participation with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline; 24/7 WA State Recovery Help Line to connect WA State residents to local treatment resources for Substance Abuse, Problem Gambling and Mental Health; WA Warm Line; Teen Link peer to peer support line; Teen on-line chat program; and support for Survivors of Suicide. Michael is well versed in crisis intervention, suicide prevention and is a certified ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills) Master Trainer. Michael is currently the Chair of the CONTACT USA Board of Directors and a representative to the Worldwide Alliance of Crisis Helplines (WACH) on behalf of Lifeline International.

Wendy Martinez Schneider, MS, LPC

Wendy serves as CEO for Behavioral Health Link (BHL). Located in Atlanta, GA, BHL has operated the Georgia Crisis & Access Line on behalf of the State of Georgia since 2006 and currently operates Mobile Crisis Teams in 40 Georgia Counties covering roughly half of Georgia’s population from rural coastal areas to the streets of downtown Atlanta. She has held several leadership roles with BHL since 2005 including Mobile Crisis Director, Director of Community Services, and Chief Clinical Officer. A Licensed as a Professional Counselor with a Master of Science degree in Clinical Psychology from Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI, Wendy has over eighteen years of behavioral health experience in direct service and administration in both the public and private sectors. A compassionate leader with strong interpersonal, supervisory, and clinical skills, she is dedicated to responsible stewardship of public funds and easy access for individuals to high quality behavioral health care as quickly and as close to home as possible 24/7/365.

Lisa Turbeville

Lisa Turbeville currently serves as the Program Manager for the Resource and Crisis Helpline and Legal Services for Common Ground, a crisis center located in southeastern Michigan. She started with Common Ground in 2000 and oversees the 24 hour crisis hotline, chat and text services. Lisa is originally from Chicago, IL and earned a B.A. in Social Work from Southern Illinois University. She has 27 years of experience working in crisis intervention and mental health, beginning as a volunteer on a teen crisis line. Lisa is an approved instructor for Critical Incident Stress Management through the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation and serves on the Board of Directors for the Oakland County Crisis Response Organization and Contact USA.   

Kathryn VanBoskirk, MSW

Kathryn VanBoskirk MSW is a licensed clinical social worker with over 30 years of experience as a leader, therapist, advocate, and educator including extensive work in Community Mental Health centers, suicide prevention, EAP programs, schools, and hospice. She is currently Vice President of Associate Care for LivingWorks Education, a premier training company for suicide intervention and prevention. She provides strategic planning, consultation and support to all LW associates in building suicide-safer communities. Kathryn was instrumental in setting up a national network of suicide prevention trainers in Australia, Norway, Scotland and Ireland. Kathryn was chosen to consult with the California State Mental Health Services Authority to collaborate on the design of their statewide request for funding proposals for suicide prevention initiatives and review submissions. She has taught at the University Of Pennsylvania Graduate School Of Social Work in a program targeted on ethnic sensitive social work practice and specialized in providing training in culturally competent practice. Her extensive clinical work in urban and rural settings with disenfranchised and minority clients has formed the foundation for her depth of knowledge and skill in providing training. She is a minister and Rosen Method Bodyworker with a healing practice in her hometown of Sedona, Arizona. She is a member of the Arizona Suicide Prevention Coalition and a consultant with Native Americans for Community Action in Flagstaff, Arizona. She has provided training on reservations for tribal Nations in Arizona. She has been a member of the Standards, Training, and Practices Subcommittee of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline since its inception, and a longtime member of the American Association of Suicidology. 

Ron White, LICSW

Ron White is the Chief Program Officer of Samaritans, Inc. with operational responsibilities for the Helpline Services (phone and text), Grief Support Services, and Community Education. Ron is responsible for the more than 500 people who volunteer at Samaritans in a direct service capacity. He received his Bachelor of Social Welfare and Master of Social Work degrees from The Ohio State University and is currently a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) in Massachusetts. Ron has spent much of his professional career managing service centers both in the US and abroad. He joined Samaritans as Director of Programs and Services in 2007 and was promoted to his current position in 2009. Ron has also served as a member of the Massachusetts Gay, Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Youth Commission under appointment from the Massachusetts Suicide Prevention Coalition. He is also a member of the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention Executive Committee and Co-Chair of the Greater Boston Regional Coalition for Suicide Prevention. He currently serves on the board of the National Association of Crisis Organization Directors (NASCOD).

Ursula Whiteside, Ph.D.

Ursula Whiteside, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist with over 15 years working in the field of treatment for suicidal individuals. She is CEO of NowMattersNow.org and clinical faculty at the University Of Washington Department Of Psychiatry. She is the co-principal investigator on grants from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. Whiteside is a member of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention's Zero Suicide Advisory Group which is focused on dramatically improving the way healthcare systems respond to suicidal individuals. Additionally she a member of the Expert Advisory for Project 2025 directed by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Standards, Trainings and Practices Subcommittee, and the Facebook team working to improve the experiences of suicidal individuals on Facebook. She is an advocate for the consumer voice in suicide prevention and has developed an online resource based on Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.

 

For questions about committee member contact information or further background on committee activities, please contact Lyda Carrillo, Administrative Coordinator, at lcarrillo@mhaofnyc.org.