May 28, 2019


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MSU Billings faculty to shed light on suicide

Suicide in eastern Montana seminar to be held May 31



University Communications and Marketing, 657-2266


MSU BILLINGS NEWS—Several Montana State University Billings faculty members and community mental health experts will participate in a day-long lecture series highlighting suicide in eastern Montana on May 31. Speakers at the event will present their latest research in collaboration with Montana Social Scientists, an organization aimed at providing continuing education (CE) credits for Montana counselors and teachers licensed by Montana’s Board of Behavioral Health and the Office of Public Instruction. 

This spring’s conference is held at the First Congregational Church and will include a variety of presentations, documentaries, speeches and lunch catered by Mitzi Racine. Those attending can visit here to sign up and pay their registration fee. Attendees are encouraged to check in at 9 a.m. to begin preparation for the day’s activities. The featured speaker for the event is Professor of Communication at MSU Billings and investigator for the “Let’s Talk”Suicide Prevention Program Sarah Keller, Ph.D. Keller was recently published in the International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health for her co-authored article, “A Look at Culture and Stigma of Suicide: Textual Analysis of Community Theatre Performances.”

Other presenters from MSUB include Joy Honea, Michelle Lamberson, Darla Tyler-McSherry, Dana West, and Vanessa McNeill, who will open the series.

McNeil, in addition to teaching at MSUB, is also a suicide prevention researcher dedicated to learning and teaching about suicide in Montana. Honea is a recent recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship to study suicide prevention in Finland and will present on her research evaluation cultural differences pertaining to suicide and mental health. Lamberson will present on her work in trauma-informed care while West will be presenting on “Suicide Research Trends and Assessment” and will cover some recent changes, such as appropriate assessment vs. screening and the “rising tide of expectation” with regard to suicide prevention, to suicide prevention.

Two public health professionals from RiverStone Health, Nathan Stahley and Sarah Music, will present on existing community efforts for suicide prevention through the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Yellowstone Valley. Stahley, population health program manager at RiverStone Health, chairs the Coalition and is a certified gatekeeper instructor in Question Persuade Refer (QPR). Music, an alumnus of the MSUB program in Health and Human Performance, leads the gatekeeper training sub-committee for the coalition.

Several ”Let’s Talk” Billings members will present and show a variety of documentaries each followed by active discussions. “Let’s Talk” is a youth theatre project for suicide prevention based in Miles City and Billings that was originated by the Global Health Equity Foundation.

Attendees of the conference will receive nine CE units and a certificate of completion for their participation at the conclusion of the event.

For more information about the lecture series, visit the Montana Social Scientists webpage or email

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