Heidi Bryan battled suicidal thoughts, lost her own brother to suicide and grappled with his death in the years that followed.
Now Bryan shares those experiences with others in an effort to help prevent suicides.
She will be the keynote speaker at the fifth annual York County Community Outreach Conference on the Awareness and Prevention of Suicide on Thursday, Sept. 13, at Sovereign Bank Stadium.
A Pittsburgh native, Bryan has written two books on suicide and will discuss key points to her recovery and how treatment involves more than just medicine.
The event kicks off with breakfast at 7:45 a.m. and continues through 4:30 p.m.
In the afternoon, Lancaster County high school teacher Joe Vulopas and students who are members of the Aevidum organization will share about how the eight-member club has grown to a nationwide initiative.
Vulopas and eight students began the Aevidum club after a student committed suicide. The club raises awareness about the signs of depression and encourages students to speak up and be their own advocates.
All York County high schools are being encouraged to offer Aevidum, said Cindy Richards, director of Southern Community Services and chairwoman of the York County Suicide Coalition.
So far Dallastown, New Hope Academy and Susquehannock High Schools have started working to establish the program on their campuses.
Workshops throughout the day will cover topics like energy, connections between medical conditions and suicides, how to help survivors, suicide and law enforcement, mental health in the workplace, and empowering students.
Several York residents who have lost loved ones to suicide will share in a discussion panel in the afternoon.
A presentation will also be given by Karen Jones, director of counseling at York College, and Kelly Niles-Yokum, assistant professor of psychology at York College, entitled "Suicide Prevention at York College: A Collaborative Model."
The college developed its suicide prevention program together with York County Community Outreach and implemented it last year, said Richards.
Participants of all ages are welcome to register for the conference up until Wednesday, Sept. 12.
Attendees must pre-register online for $45 at www.pen-mar.org or by contacting Cindy Richards at 227-0048 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Reach Chelsea Shank at 505-5432 or email@example.com