Suicide Prevention Speakers: All Listings 

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Bergman, Drew

Drew’s early teenage years were filled with tremendous sadness resulting from a severe case of depression. In 7th grade when his parents decided to separate, Drew began to use coping skills that were detrimental to his well-being, and he began to self-harm. For a brief time, he was able to hide his depression and cutting and continue to perform as an outstanding athlete and solid student. However, Drew’s depression continued to intensify, and it was not until his sophomore year of high school that Drew experienced a turning point in his recovery when he attempted suicide for the second time.

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Brooks, Kevin

Kevin is a leading youth speaker on suicide prevention, impaired driving and overcoming obstacles. He is living proof that one poor choice can change one’s life forever, or even end it. From his wheelchair, Kevin Brooks shares the story of the night that changed his life forever… Kevin left a party, driving at excessive speeds after consuming large amounts of alcohol. He was not alone. Beside him sat his passenger and childhood friend Brendan. The result – a horrific crash…Brendan didn’t walk away from the crash…. Neither did Kevin.

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Cobain, Beverly

Bev Cobain is a Registered Nurse with credentials in Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing. She is a nationally recognized speaker and workshop facilitator on issues of depression awareness, suicide prevention/intervention, and family healing following the death of a loved one to suicide. Bev’s own experiences of sexual abuse, panic disorder, alcoholism, major depression, and suicidality are key in her understanding of the struggles of others who struggle with these issues. Kurt Cobain’s suicide was the most public of three suicides in her family, and one that affirmed her determination to help others to heal. Bev was the first recipient of the “Green Ribbon” award, given annually by the National Mental Health Association in recognition of her efforts to help youth cope with depression. She is author of When Nothing Matters Anymore: A Survival Guide for Depressed Teens, (Free Spirit, 1996 & 2006), and coauthor of the acclaimed, Dying to Be Free: A Healing Guide for Families after a Suicide

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Egan, Bill

On the surface, Billy Egan was the ideal high school student. He was an AP student and Varsity athlete who was offered several college scholarships, but he was also addicted to cocaine which eventually led to pills and heroin. As Billy’s substance abuse issues intensified, his life changed dramatically; the downward spiral cost him his education, his friends, his family and eventually his freedom.

 

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Fernandez, Mary Lynne

Mary Lynne is a gifted motivator who relates to teens with personal stories that touch the heart, creates laughter, and connection. As a youth motivational speaker whose message on teen leadership and life choices has empowered youth audiences since 2011, she teaches students to take control of their life, their happiness, and their success. She speaks at schools, conventions, conferences, camps, retreats, and other events for students and those who work with students.

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Hines, Kevin

Kevin continues to speak to over three hundred thousand people about a firsthand experience with suicidal thoughts and his eventual attempted suicide. He is one of 33 Golden Gate Bridge jump survivors. Less than 2% of those people who have survived the jump, have regained full mobility as Kevin has.  He is the sole survivor actively spreading the message of living mentally well and the prevention of suicide. Hines is a powerful, honest, and intimate presenter, and a phenomenal writer.

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O'Brien, Andrew

Andrew O'Brien served honorably in the army, deployed to Iraq, was a gunner on convoys and survived an IED attack. In 2010, while stationed in Hawaii, soldier Andrew O'Brien tried to take his own life. Andrew has spoken to dozens of military bases, and 15,000 troops since beginning in 2013.  He has been invited back to most bases that he's visited due to the outcome of his speeches.

 

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Pappalardo, Ron

After his 17-year-old son Joshua committed suicide, Ron Pappalardo began working in the field of suicide prevention. He wrote and published a book, Reconciled by the Light, that recounts his experience and the lessons he learned regarding healingfrom grief, overcoming depression, and the power of forgiveness.  He has been a guest lecturer at numerous schools including Duke University, St. Petersburg State University, Russia, and Shaw University Divinity School. Ron has been a guest on several TV and radio programs. 

 

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Rivedal, Josh

Josh Rivedal wears many hats. Josh Rivedal is a motivational public speaker, life coach, playwright, producer, business and career consultant, and ordained minister.  When not working, Josh Rivedal enjoys a nice Pinot Noir, a good historical fiction book, traveling when possible, Tae Kwon Do, and learning new languages.

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Spencer Thomas, Sally

Sally Spencer-Thomas, Psy.D., as a clinical psychologist, mental health advocate, faculty member and survivor of her brother’s suicide, Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas sees the issues of suicide prevention from many perspectives. "As a psychologist, mental health advocate and survivor of my brother's suicide, I see the issues of suicide prevention from many perspectives. As an author and professional speaker, I look for new ways to think about how we understand suicide and resilience."

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Wise, Terry

Widowed at 35 following her spouse’s death from Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS), and after surviving a near-fatal suicide attempt, Terry Wise spent the next several years in treatment.  A former Boston trial attorney, Wise has since devoted her life to international public speaking and full-time writing.   She has traveled to all 50 states and hundreds of cities to appear as a keynote speaker, continuing education instructor and workshop presenter—speaking to both the general public and professionals on topics related to depression, grief, long-term caregiving, suicide prevention, and the process of recovery.

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Zahnow

Carolyn Zahnow has taken her experience of losing her son to suicide in 2005 into a learning opportunity for other parents, teachers, grandparents ? anyone who knows and cares about teenagers ? to learn the signs of teen depression and substance abuse.Her goal is teach parents these signs in an effort to get teens the help they need before anything tragic happens to more families.

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