2008 Suicide Prevention Conference

Keynote Speakers: The 2008 Missouri Suicide Prevention Conference will include general session presentations by the following nationally known leaders in the field of suicide prevention.

Iris Bolton

Iris Bolton is Director Emeritus of The Link Counseling Center, a non profit counseling center in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1977, her son, Mitchell Bolton, completed suicide. This tragic loss would forever alter her path. Her desire to make meaning from his death would crystallize her future. In 1983, Iris Bolton published MY SON...MY SON... A Guide to Healing After Death, Loss or Suicide, establishing herself as a pioneer in the field of suicide prevention and aftercare.

Mrs. Bolton graduated from Columbia University in New York, attended Georgia State University Atlanta in Community Counseling and holds a master's degree from Emory University Atlanta. She is co-founder of the North Atlanta Chapter of Compassionate Friends, a national, self-help organization for bereaved parents. She is a nationally known grief counselor, lecturer and crisis intervention consultant.

She is founder of Survivors of Suicide, an Atlanta support group which assists the bereaved. She has been a member of the board of directors of the American Association of Suicidology, and a member of the Mental Health Association of Georgia. She has served on the Southeastern Board of Directors of the American Suicide Foundation.

Mrs. Bolton has spoken to conferences and meetings held all over the United States, Canada, Greece and Australia. She has appeared on many national radio and television programs, including Good Morning America, CBS Morning Show and numerous talk programs. She has lectured at Harvard University and Rutgers University and continues to hold workshops and seminars throughout the United States and Canada.

James T. Clemons, Ph.D.

James T. Clemons, Ph.D. (Duke University) is a native of Wynne, Arkansas. He is Professor Emeritus of Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, DC. and is an ordained United Methodist minister.

For over twenty years he has championed suicide prevention efforts within faith-based communities through teaching and lecturing in more than 20 states and Canada, and writing dozens of articles for religious and academic publications. In 1997 he founded the Organization for Attempters and Survivors of Suicide in Interfaith Services (OASSIS) and served as President of the organization until it dissolved in 2006. OASSIS received national recognition for holding the first National Conference on Religion and Suicide (Atlanta), and the first National Conference for Survivors of Suicide Attempts, Their Families and Friends (Memphis). With The Healing Center of Memphis and the National Organization for People of Color Against Suicide, OASSIS held the First National Conference on Suicide and the Black Church (Memphis).

He continues to teach courses on suicide at Wesley Seminary, lecture and hold workshops. He is also coordinating programs for the elderly at Asbury Methodist Village (Maryland) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and serves on a subcommittee for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

He is author of What does the Bible say about Suicide? and editor of Perspectives on Suicide, Sermons on Suicide, and Children of Jonah: Personal Stories by Survivors of Suicide Attempts. He is currently editing, with Melinda Moore, a resource book for suicide funerals.

Clark Flatt

Clark Flatt, President/CEO of The Jason Foundation, Inc. (JFI), received a BS in Business from Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tennessee and a Master of Divinity in Education/Counseling from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Jason Foundation was founded in October of 1997 after the death of Clark’s youngest son, Jason. JFI’s mission is to provide information, tools and resources to students, educators/youth workers and parents that will enable early detection of at-risk behavior and guide them to local resources. Mr. Flatt has expanded JFI to include over 70 affiliate offices, including JFI at Heartland Behavioral Health Services in Nevada, MO, in addition to the corporate office located in Hendersonville, TN.

Laurie Davidson

Laurie Davidson coordinates campus programs at the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC), funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. SPRC is located at Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), an international nonprofit research and development organization serving clients in health care, social services, education, justice, and public and mental health at the community, local, state, national, and international levels.

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Show Me You Care About Suicide Prevention is co-sponsored by:
Department of Mental Health
Lincoln University
MIMH