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One County, Many Agencies, Collaborating for Suicide Awareness and Prevention as a Commitment to Better Lives, Because One Suicide is Too Many

Presentation:   Collaborating for Suicide Awareness and Prevention


A panel of representatives from Lake County Health Department, College of Lake County, and community leaders will describe their experience working together to raise awareness around suicide prevention in Lake County, IL. The intention of the panel is to raise awareness about the positive impact of collaborations and current strategies implemented to educate and advocate for mental health and suicide prevention. The panel will address current climate around mental illness and suicide prevention, strategies implemented which include CIT training and Mental Health First Aid as well as established partnerships and collaborations through the Lake County Suicide Prevention Task Force.

Presenters Bios:

 Katia Marshall is a licensed professional counselor who promotes suicide awareness and prevention and works at reducing stigma associated with mental health care. She has ten years’ experience serving in community mental health. Katia has worked the past two years as a counselor in primary care settings, building a bridge between medical and mental health care services.  She volunteers on the Lake County Suicide Prevention Task Force for the past three and a half years, working as the Chair for two years. She currently lives and works in Wisconsin, and volunteers as a marketing liaison and social media coordinator for the Lake County Suicide Prevention Task Force.

Kathleen Dupaya-Metallois an MSW, LCSW, CADC who works in Suicide Prevention with Veterans.  She has worked in both inpatient and outpatient settings providing services in group and individual treatment modalities. She has experience working with individuals with Substance Use Disorders, Severe Mental Illness, Co-occurring Disorders, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Military Sexual Trauma.

Lourdes Shanjani is the Mental Health First Aid Coordinator at Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center.In this role, she oversees implementation and sustainability of the mental health awareness initiative throughout Lake County, IL. Lourdes is a bilingual (English/Spanish) and bi-cultural formally trained physician with over a decade of experience working in under-served communities in the United States and the Caribbean.  Lourdes is driven by a passion for improving the quality of life of people through education and prevention with a focus on Mental Health.  Lourdes is originally from Dominican Republic where she received a Medical Degree at Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo. She is an advocate of self-care and keeping a healthy work-personal life balance. Lourdes loves spending time with her 2 little girls, her teenage son and her husband.

Miriam Smith is a public speaker who shares her journey as a story of hope.  She has participated in various local events and collaborated in presentations to the community at the local library and at the local school district parent/teacher conferences. She along with her co-facilitators have successfully celebrated the 4 graduating classes for the NAMI of LAKE COUNTY Spanish Family to Family as well as 1st graduation for WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan). She also involved with the Lake County Suicide Task Force. She successfully worked in the corporate arena as well as attended a prominent university at the same time.  She also assisted her siblings in the care of her ailing parents.  Her experience with NAMI began after several devastating life events including the death of both parents within 48 hrs, the diagnosis of breast cancer of both sisters the same month, the death of 3 other family members within the 3 months that followed, all while working a full-time job. Her recovery and journey of healing began with hospitalization after several suicide attempts and finally finding the proper resources to assist in living in her “new normal” which included a diagnosis of major depression, anxiety, severe bereavement, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). 

Joe Tranchita, LCPC is the Program Coordinator at the Lake County Health Department’s Crisis Care Program and Interim Coordinator for the Addictions Treatment Program. He has experience in inpatient, outpatient and residential treatment settings in both a supervisory role and as a therapist working with children, adolescents, and adults.  He is also an Adjunct Professor at Concordia University Chicago in the Master of Arts in Counseling program.

Janet Mason, MSW, ACSW, MAC, CAADC is Department Chair and Faculty in the Human Services and Social Work Departments at the College of Lake County. Her passions and specialty areas include social justice and equity issues, substance use and co-occurring disorders, suicide awareness and prevention, criminal justice, and women’s issues.  As an instructor for over twenty years, she has inspired and prepared students to work in the social services field, building upon their strengths, and empowering them to empower others.

Janet was one of the leaders in initiating CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) Training in Lake County, including teaching for a pilot program to develop the National Curriculum for Law Enforcement for community-based responses to mental health crises.  She continues to teach CIT courses to bring effective crisis intervention strategies to law enforcement agencies and create partnerships with social service agencies and the mental health community.  Other professional experience includes twenty years of positions in direct service counseling and/or administration in areas of domestic violence, substance use/addictions, prevention, and community corrections/residential programs. She serves on numerous community committees including SUSTAIN (Lake County Substance Use Services Training and Information Network), Lake County Suicide Prevention Task Force, and the Lake County Human Services Alliance.  In her spare time, Janet enthusiastically facilitates an ongoing community educational group on justice and equity issues.

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