Speakers and Training
In order to be successful in promoting mental health at work, two pieces need to come together: a shift in culture and improved skills. Working Minds offers programs to address both of these needs.
Working Minds helps educate workplaces and communities by offering keynote presentations and training workshops. Each of these programs can be modified according to the needs of different audiences or tailor-made for specific themes or events.
Keynote presentations are appropriate for wellness workshops, professional development days and professional association conferences and usually last about 45 minutes followed by Q&A. Audience size can vary according to the presentation’s goals. The main goal of the keynote presentation is to shift culture by introducing the idea of promoting mental health at work, providing justification for the changes, challenging misconceptions, and increasing the comfort people have in talking about these issues.
Training workshops are specific skill-building intensives. During these sessions, participants learn new strategies and are able to practice with table top exercises. These sessions require a minimum of an hour and a half and work best with an audience of 15-30 people.
With a combination of storytelling, interaction, and research, Sally Spencer-Thomas makes these challenging subjects engaging to all audiences. All presentations leave participants invigorated, inspired and motivated to follow through with action to create change.
Working Minds: Sustaining a Passion for Life at Work and Beyond
Depression is the leading cause of disability and sick days in the United States, significantly impacting the bottom line of workplaces. Seventy eight percent of people who die by suicide are of working age (20-64), and suicide is the second leading cause of death for men aged 25-34. Despite this growing trend, most suicide prevention programs target youth only. The Carson J Spencer Foundation addresses this gap with a suicide prevention toolkit for the workplace. This toolkit is based upon the foundation of the Air Force Suicide Prevention Program’s best practice, and offers a step-by-step blueprint. Participants will experience a multi-media presentation that presents the needs, a call to action for change, and preliminary overview of critical components for suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention.
Are You a Shining Light of Hope? Becoming a Mental Health Advocate in Your Community
Many workplaces must confront the issues related to suicide and mental health crises at some point. The impact may be direct, such as a suicide by an employee or indirect from a mental health crisis of an employee’s family member. In serious situations workplaces can be incapacitated with issues of fear and grief as they recover from tragedy. What people don’t often realize is that suicide is not only a mental health issue; it is a public health issue that requires social action. As a psychologist, mental health advocate, survivor of her brother’s suicide, and someone who has struggled with her own mental health issues, Spencer-Thomas addresses these concerns from a number of perspectives infusing hope and offering concrete strategies along the way.
In her program, Be a Shining Light of Hope, Spencer-Thomas offers workplaces a solid understanding of the mental health and community issues surrounding suicide. On the individual level, she discusses the factors that drive individuals to consider or attempt suicide, and she offers a set of warning signs to watch for. On the community level, she helps organizations consider the prevention, intervention, and response strategies that really work. Using storytelling, statistics, and solid research, Spencer-Thomas hits all the angles.
QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer): Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Training
You have heard of CPR; but have you heard of QPR?
QPR* (“Question, Persuade, Refer”) is CPR for the mind. This 1.5 hour workshop about the truths about mental health and suicide is for those at all levels on an organization. This program has been implemented in workplaces all over the world. In this workshop, Spencer-Thomas, a certified QPR instructor, will train students, staff, and faculty who are ready to provide assistance.
Although QPR does not qualify someone as an expert in suicide prevention, it is like CPR. It’s a way to provide an individual help until qualified assistance can be located. The skills offered present a series of simple techniques that can save a life when a crisis occurs.
This practical training for those needing practical action steps to improve mental health services and suicide prevention. Consider this training for new managers, front line staff, or as a community program for concerned parents.
(*QPR is a registered trademark of The QPR Institute, Inc. and is used by the speaker with permission. For more information about this training go to www.QPRInstitute.com)
Suicide Postvention Guidelines: Preparing for the Worst
Suicide just impacted your workplace. There was no plan to help those affected, and guilt and second guessing is plaguing the workforce.
Suicide “postvention” is immediate crisis intervention for those affected by a suicide or suicide attempt. Every workplace should prepare for a time when the need arises. This workshop helps your staff prepare. This workshop will help you fight the possibility of other suicides and copycat behaviors, create a plan to cope with the trauma and grief in your community, and set the community back on a path to normalcy.
Do not wait until a suicide occurs. Act now so that a tragedy in your campus community can be handled professionally and responsibly.
Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas has spent her career as a trained, licensed psychologist and health promotion professional. She has seen many struggle with mental health issues, and she witnessed her younger brother, Carson, fighting his. Carson, age 34, seemed to have everything going for him -- a hugely successful career as an entrepreneur, handsome good looks, an expansive network of friends, and a loving family. However, he hid a dark secret.
Two weeks before a great Tsunami hit the coast of Asia in 2004, Carson made a decision to end his own life. Although his family had tried repeatedly to get him help, Carson could no longer cope with desperation of his struggle.
Devastated and lost, Spencer-Thomas realized that she was experiencing her own sensation of drowning. The ripple effects and aftershocks of her brother’s decision were life altering. Like the tsunami survivors half a world away, Spencer-Thomas realized that it would be a long journey back to a feeling of “normal.” In the aftermath of this loss, Carson’s loved ones decided to make a difference by addressing this critical public health issue and started the Carson J Spencer Foundation (www.CarsonJSpencer.org)
Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas is the Executive Director of the Carson J Spencer Foundation, a non-profit committed to preventing suicide and sustaining a passion for life by promoting mental health in the workplace. She also currently serves as the Director of Leadership Development at Regis University in Denver.
She received her Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in Psychology and Studio Art from Bowdoin College, her Psy.D. in Psychology from the University of Denver, and her Masters in Nonprofit Management from Regis University. She has presented on the topic of suicide and mental health to several national and international audiences, including presentations for the FBI, the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, the American Association of Suicidology, and the International Association of Suicide Prevention. She serves on the board of the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Colorado and the Steering Committee for the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, and has been the project director for suicide prevention grants from both Colorado’s Office of Suicide Prevention and the federal government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention Grant).
She lives in Denver, Colorado, where she is an avid marathoner.
Note: Dr. Spencer-Thomas also presents at Colleges and Universities around the country, and such bookings should be arranged by visiting Campuspeak (www.Campuspeak.com).