Welcome to the Hope Policy Academy! 

Preventing suicide through enhancing school capacity to prevent and respond to students at-risk for suicide.

Hosted by the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, Brown School Urban Education Initiative, and SkipNV


Share | Learn | Innovate

For school-based stakeholders charged with developing, implementing, and evaluating school-based suicide prevention policies in Missouri.

June 6, 2019 | 8:30 -5:00 p.m.

Updated Location:   Hillman Hall,  Brown School at  Washington University in St. Louis


Conference Vision: to create an environment that facilitates sharing, learning, and innovation around school-based suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention policies.

Share:  school-based stakeholders will have an opportunity to share their stories of the key facilitators and barriers to developing, implementing, and evaluating school-based suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention policies.

Learn: school-based stakeholders will have the opportunity to learn from each other’s successes, pitfalls, and best-practice guidelines for effective school-based suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention policies.

Innovate: school-based stakeholders will bring their existing school-based suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention policies and technical assistance will be provided through a series of workshops designed to improve existing policies.

Should I Attend?

  1. Are you a school social worker, counselor, psychologist, nurse, teacher or administrator? 
  2. Do you work for a  Missouri school?
  3. Are you  responsible or involved in  developing, implementing, or evaluating suicide prevention policies? 

If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, you should definitely register! 


Registration Update: We are so excited about the huge response to the Hope Policy Academy. We are working to ensure all of our Missouri Stakeholders are registered and then will be systematically outreaching other stakeholders as seats are available. Stay tuned and be on the lookout for the confirmation email. 

Speakers and Partners

Opening Keynote:

Dr. Jonathan Singer, author of Suicide in Schools, President-Elect of the American Association of Suicidology, Professor at Loyola School of Social Work, and founder of the Social Work Podcast

Closing Keynote:

Dr. Sean Joe, Benjamin E. Youngdahl Professor of Social Development and Associate Dean for Faculty and Research, founder of the Race and Opportunity Lab at the Center for Social Development, and nationally recognized authority on suicidal behavior among African Americans. 

Featured Speakers: 

Dr. Rene Yoesel, Director of School Counseling, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Ryan R. Lindsay, MSW, LCSW, Associate Professor of Practice at the Brown School 

Megan Marietta, MSW, LCSW, Manager of Social Work Services, St. Louis Public Schools

Key Partners: 

Dr. Saras Chung, Executive Director, SkipNV

Erika Gonzalez, MSW, Manager of Urban Education Initiatives, Brown School

Janet Gillow, MSW, Director of Professional Development Programs, Brown School

Conference Agenda

  • 8:30-9:00: Registration, coffee, and networking
  • 9:00-10:15: Keynote address, everyone together
  • 10:30-11:15: Developing Models of Enhancing Crisis Intervention Teams
  • 11:15-12:00: Culturally Responsive Suicide Prevention Perspectives
  • 12:00-12:45:  Lunch
  • 12:45-1:45:  Prevention Policy Workshop
  • 2:00-3:00:  Intervention Policy Workshop
  • 3:10-4:10: Postvention Policy Workshop
  • 4:20-4:45:  Closing Keynote 

Conference Background

Most school districts aren’t prepared to: 1) prevent; 2) intervene; or 3) properly support students who are contemplating death by suicide and/or the school community after the death of a student. At best, there may be intervention policies, but what about support post attempt? How does one communicate to a student body after the death of a peer? The ways in which this happens matters greatly, and even more so because the MO Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has mandated that each district should have a prevention, intervention, and postvention policy and practice in place. 

Pursuant to Section 170.048, RSMo, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) suggests the following:

  1. By July 1, 2018, each district shall adopt a policy for youth suicide awareness and prevention including plans for how the district will provide for the training and education of its district employees.
  2. Each district’s policy shall address, but not be limited to, the following: 1) Strategies that can help identify students who are at possible risk of suicide; 2) Strategies and protocols for helping students at possible risk of suicide; and 3) Protocols for responding to a suicide death.

Unfortunately, only a small number of districts are prepared to meet these requirements and the data from a study by Associate Professor of Practice and Assistant Dean Ryan Lindsay of the Brown School conducted between March and November 2018 found the following: 

For N = 72 school districts surveyed in Missouri: 

  • 63.49% had suicide intervention policy
  • 54.95% had suicide prevention policy
  • 43% had a suicide postvention policy

Additionally, the study found that most of the MO districts with suicide  prevention/intervention/postvention policies serve predominantly white students. Additionally, this study showed significant variability in schools’ current capacity to implement suicide prevention and intervention policies, specifically among schools that serve lower income and predominantly Non-White students. These results have implications related to racial equity and suggest that community stakeholders pay attention to this equity gap. 

In response to this identified gap, we have convened a strong list of partners who prioritize suicide prevention in our schools and have given generously to this cause. This conference will provide an opportunity for Missouri school stakeholders to receive technical assistance tot help facilitate bring the development and implementation of model suicide prevention policies. The Hope Policy Academy will provide information on best-practices to improve existing suicide prevention policies and practices. 

Thank you to our generous supporters for prioritizing suicide prevention in schools! 

“I started this work because our schools play a critical role in preventing suicide in our youth. My hope is that through this opportunity, schools are able to develop, implement, and evaluate school suicide prevention policies that work for their schools and prevent suicide in our youth.” – Ryan R. Lindsay, MSW, LCSW