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Retrospective Fatality Analysis: An Innovative and Ethical Approach to Suicide Prevention

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11:30-1:00 Mountain
10:30 PT - 12:30 CT - 1:30 ET

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Feb 22, 2024 11:30am MT - Feb 22, 2024 01:00pm MT

Retrospective Fatality Analysis

Retrospective Fatality Analysis (RFA) is a comprehensive exploration of the biopsychosocial and environmental factors that precede an individual's death by suicide, or other unnatural death. By expanding the methodology of the psychological autopsy, RFA gathers wide-ranging information about the social context in which the loved one lived, including the impact of major social disruptions. RFA recognizes that suicide is a public health problem that is not remedied by clinical solutions alone. By identifying factors in the social environment that contributed to a suicide, RFA plays a vital role in suicide prevention research, program development, and, ultimately, in helping loss survivors make meaning of the suicide of their loved one. In this presentation, Retrospective Fatality Analysts and loss survivors will describe the beneficial impact of meaning-making that comes from discussing a loved one's life and death, clarifying the life events, relationships, and the sociocultural context of suicide. Loss survivors will share how taking part in this process helped them reframe their loss narratives, finding meaning in their loss. Loss survivors will also discuss how others can better understand the experiences of other survivors, and engage people and communities in conversations about suicide and suicide prevention. During the presentation, the ethical use of RFA and its reasoning and application in the military, clinical settings, organizations, and policy change will also be discussed. 

Meet Our Presenters

Anne Kelly, Ph.D., is the Dean of the College of Leadership and Public Service and Chair of the Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences at Dakota Wesleyan University, where she has taught since 2000. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno. Her research focuses on the causes, treatment, and prevention of suicide, the psychological mechanisms underlying suicide ideation, and the cognitive and social factors that influence the detection of suicide risk in others. 

Janet Schnell, M.S.W., L.C.S.W., an expert in the field of suicide prevention, intervention, and post- suicide depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. She has received numerous awards for her activism in suicide prevention from county, state, and federal agencies. Janet is the President of Survivors of Suicide of Dubois County (SOS) and was chosen by the Indiana Suicide Prevention Network for their prestigious Torchbearer Award. She is a suicide prevention instructor for Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR), and a trainer for Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). As a public speaker, Janet shares her experience as a suicide loss survivor, becoming a social worker after her brother's death by suicide. 

Shannon Harrison, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., is the Director of Evidence-Based Solutions, and has been a practicing clinician for 27 years, including ten years at Ft. Carson’s Warrior Transition Unit, and Evans Army Hospital’s Child and Family Behavioral Health System. Having worked most of her career in acute care mental health settings, her valuable experience has inspired her to focus her clinical expertise in the area of suicide prevention. She is a Board Certified Diplomat, accredited as a School Suicide Prevention Specialist, a Certified Advanced-Child, Youth, and Family Social Worker, and a founding member of the National Association of Retrospective Fatality Analysts

A Bit About Peak View Behavioral Health

We know how difficult it is to find quality, affordable, and effective care for someone dealing with mental health or addiction issues. We are proud to be recognized as one of the premier behavioral health providers in Colorado, and we welcome clients from all over the country. At Peak View Behavioral Health, we understand that each of our clients have different needs and come from different backgrounds, so there is no cookie-cutter approach to our treatment.

Our clients are treated by highly trained psychiatrists, psychologists, medical doctors, nursing staff, therapists, and mental health technicians.

We began providing behavioral health treatment in 2009 and opened the doors of our 112-bed facility in 2012. Since that time, our dedicated leadership and medical staff have provided life-altering care to countless clients who are dealing with addiction and mental health issues.

Peak View Behavioral Health

7353 Sisters Grove

Colorado Springs, CO 80923