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Greater Cincinnati Faith & Mental Health Collaborative

Greater Cincinnati Faith & Mental Health Collaborative:

Hope For Our Youth

Date: Friday, September 22, 2023 | Time: 8:00 am - 2:30 pm

The Greater Cincinnati Faith and Mental Health Collaborative “Hope for Our Youth” event is the second in an ongoing series of collaborative educational events to inform and equip Faith Leaders with relevant and effective information to best support their congregations and communities through mental health challenges and connection to resources. This series continues in direct response to evaluation and identification by Faith Leaders of areas for continued growth and development in suicide prevention. The Butler County Suicide Prevention Coalition and the Greater Cincinnati Faith and Mental Health Collaborative are grateful for the continued good work that convenes under the umbrella of Envision Partnerships and dedicated Faith Leaders in our communities. These strong partnerships ensure effective interventions to reduce and eliminate suicide.

8:00 – 8:30 Registration/Breakfast/Resource Tables
8:30 – 8:45 Opening and Prayer by Pastor Phillips
8:45 – 8:50 Introduction of the day by Kristen Smith, Butler County Suicide Prevention Coordinator
8:50 – 9:45 Keynote Presentation: Trauma and Mental Health by La Shanda Sugg, LPC
9:45 – 10:00 Break
10:00 – 11:00 Morning Breakout Sessions
11:00 – 12:30 Lunch and Keynote Presentation: Poetry Workshop by Barbara Fant, Poet
12:30 – 1:30 Afternoon Sessions
1:30 – 1:45 Break
1:45 – 2:30 Call to Action: Take the Lead! By Minister Orlando Hale Greater Cincinnati Area Coordinator of National Network of Youth Ministries

Scroll down for a detailed description of the morning and afternoon sessions.

Speaker & Presentation Bios

La Shanda Sugg, LPC is a trauma specializing therapist, Liberatory Coach, and training consultant. Her trauma expertise and ability to make complex concepts easy to understand make her work accessible. Her authenticity and transparency as a trauma survivor make people want to listen.
La Shanda founded Labors of Love to create an intentional space where people can learn about and heal from trauma. Her ability to create safety and build empathic connections, her gift as an engaging presenter, and her experience as a mental health professional and trauma specialist over the last decade makes her a highly sought-after therapist and trainer

This keynote address would provide participants with a basic understanding of what trauma is and how it impacts overall well-being and when to refer to a professional. Participants will also be encouraged and empowered to use their platforms to de-stigmatize mental health in their spheres of influence.

Barbara Fant has been writing and performing for over 15 years. She competed in 9 National Poetry
Slam competitions, and she is a World Poetry Slam finalist. She is the author of two poetry
collections, Paint, Inside Out (2010) and Mouths of Garden (2022). Her work has been featured in
the Academy of American Poets, Electric Literature, McNeese Review, The Ohio State University
Press, Button Poetry, and Def Poetry Jam, amongst others. She has received residencies in Havana,
Cuba and Senegal, West Africa. For over 12 years, she had led healing-informed poetry workshops
for both youth and adults who are incarcerated, those in community, adults in recovery, and
survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence. She is certified as a Healing Centered
Engagement specialist and holds both an MFA in Poetry and a Master of Theology. She is the
founder of the Black Women Rise Poetry Collective and co-founder of The Senghor Project, West
African International Artist Residency.

Morning Sessions

  • Killing Us Softly: Suicide in Black Youth– Shawnieka E. Pope, MSW, LISW-S, LCSW- Assistant Clinical Professor and School-Based Mental Health MSW Project Director
    • A silent war has been waged for decades and the casualties of said war are unimaginable. Suicide in Black youth is now the second leading cause of death for ages 10-14, and the third leading cause of death for ages 15-19 (National Institutes of Health). There are nuances to the lived Black experience that are not addressed in conventional prevention, intervention, and treatment models. The overall goal of this workshop is to provide participants with current data and research regarding the alarming rate of suicide among Black youth.


  • Youth & Gun Violence by Shaquila Mathews
    • This session we will discuss the state of our youth and the effects of gun violence and how it is impacting them and their future. 


  • Serving Vulnerable Populations: Giving ALL Youth Place and Grace by Charla Hale M.A- Chief Strategy, Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Officer of YWCA Hamilton
    • All youth need a community of safe and caring adults, but what happens when youth show up to us with challenges navigating their LGBTQ+ identity, mental health and or justice system involvement? What are the current challenges for youth of all demographics and identities? Learn more about the current challenges impacting vulnerable youth populations and best practices for supporting them.


  • Looking Through the Lens: Social Media & Youth by Jayla Lee BA, OCPSA- Program Coordinator at PreventionFIRST!
    • On May 23rd, 2023, the Surgeon General released a new Advisory on Social Media and Youth Mental Health.  This session will review the most recent data and research presented in the Surgeon General’s Advisory.  This session will present the newest strategies parents, faith leaders, caregivers, and community members can use to create safer, healthier online environments to protect young people.

Afternoon Sessions

  • The Voice of Our Youth:  Schools as a Resource by Middletown High School Students
    • Student members and advisors of the school Hope Squad will present the mental health resources available to students in our community, and the experiences of our middle school and high school Hope Squad members in supporting fellow students. 


  • Navigating Mental Health Services:  Overcoming Barriers and Challenges- by Dr. Gregory Stewart LWS, OCPSA- Associate Professor, University of Cincinnati School of Social Work
    • The session will feature provider and resource panelists providing mental health treatment and prevention services for youth. Designed to equip you with knowledge to connect parents with treatment and resources, there will be discussion opportunities to understand financial coverage resources whether a family has health insurance through an employer, government program, purchased directly, or are uninsured. Participants will discuss how to engage youth in wellness ministry. Panelists include Cin. Children's Hospital Medical Center, Modern Psychiatry and Wellness, Butler Behavioral Health, Beckett Springs, Charlie Health, New Path, and Ohio Dept. of Insurance.


  • Building Prevention with Faith: Bridging the two to build a stronger community by Amanda Conn-Starner, MS, CHES, OCPS- PreventionFIRST! Chief Program Officer
    • The faith community has historically focused their assistance with behavioral health through access to treatment and recovery resources. What if the focus was more upstream and more congregations understood and implemented prevention in their daily lives? This breakout session will provide an overview of how to implement PreventionFIRST!'s Building Prevention With Faith toolkit. Toolkits will be available for distribution at the workshop. 


  • QPR Gatekeeper Training by Lisa Carter- Director of Customer Relations of Terrace Mentrics 
    • Just as CPR helps anyone save a life in a medical emergency, QPR is a simple educational program that teaches ordinary citizens how to recognize a mental health emergency and get a person at-risk the help they need. In QPR trainings, certified QPR Gatekeeper Instructors teach the three steps anyone can learn to help prevent suicide: Question, Persuade, and Refer.