(Brainerd/Mankato, MN) — August 31st, 2022 — The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) are teaming up to offer conferences on Suicide Prevention for Rural Faith Leaders in Brainerd on September 17, 2022 and in Mankato on September 29, 2022.
Rural clergy and lay leaders of all faiths and denominations are welcome.
“Suicide can be prevented, and help is available,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm. “When someone is struggling, talking about suicide does not plant the idea in their head. It can help for them to know you are willing to talk about it and creates a safe opportunity to share their thoughts. We’re grateful our community leaders are creating a space to have those conversations.”
“Rural communities tend to be pretty close-knit, and suicides touch a lot of people when they happen,” said Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen. “Faith often plays a big role in the lives of farm families, so pastors and lay leaders can play a critical role in preventing these deaths.”
The conference will:
- Increase rural faith leaders’ understanding about suicide and how they can play a role in suicide prevention.
- Provide high quality information and resources that will help their communities prevent suicide.
- Help faith leaders provide care and support to those affected by suicide to promote healing and prevent further suicides.
Speakers will include:
- Deacon Ed Shoener, President of the Association of Catholic Mental Health Ministers
- Scott Roeder, Founder of Jackson Roeder Memorial Fund
- Dan Reidenberg Psy D., Executive Director of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE)
- Ann Ellison, Director Interfaith Health at M Health Fairview
The agenda and speakers are identical at both locations, but panelists vary and may include Bishop William Tesch, ELCA; Cassandra Linkenmeyer, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention; Chaplain (Colonel-Retired) Glen Bloomstrom, LivingWorks Education; and others.
The conference is free, but pre-registration is required. Register online or by phone at 218-308-2148 (Bemidji) or 507-344-2747 (Mankato).
This event is partially underwritten by Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Program award #2021-70035461 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Other sponsors include Alluma, Minnesota State/AgCentric, Jackson Roeder Memorial Fund, LivingWorks Faith, Minnesota Corn Growers Association, Minnesota Farmers Union, Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service – Minnesota.