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The “How” of Suicide — Why the “Means Matter”: Interview with Catherine Barber, Elaine Frank & Shelby Kuhn | Episode 66

Very often in the world of suicide prevention we fall — as Frank Campbell says — into the “canyon of why.” Why did they take their life? Why didn’t they tell someone? Why, why, why. We often over look that question “how”. On this podcast a panel of our nation’s leaders on reducing access to lethal means tell us why the “means matter” in suicide prevention. They share innovative and effective collaborative strategies that help non-clinical people negotiate how to keep their homes safer from the tragedy of suicide. These strategies are based in a public-health approach and evolving partnerships with firearm owners, retailers and advocates. At the core of their success is a process of building bridges through mutual respect and shared values.

About the Presenters
Catherine Barber, MPA
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Catherine Barber is a senior researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health’s Injury Research Center where she led the effort to design and test the pilot for what is now the CDC’s National Violent Death Reporting System. She is the founding director of Means Matter, a project to disseminate research and interventions on reducing a suicidal person’s access to highly lethal suicide methods. Recent work focuses on collaborating with gun owner groups on suicide prevention projects. In this area, she wrote a suicide prevention module used by over 1,000 firearm instructors nationwide, was one of the founders of the first Gun Shop Project, co-authored the original CALM-Online training, and co-PI’d a large clinical trial of lethal means counseling in the emergency department. She is the recipient of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Allies in Action Lifetime Achievement Award.

Elaine Frank, MHS
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Elaine Frank is an Injury Prevention and Public Health professional who has focused her work for the past ten years at the intersection of Firearm Safety and Suicide Prevention. She is the co-developer of CALM – Counseling on Access to Lethal Means – and the Co-chair of the NH Firearm Safety Coalition that created the Gun Shop Project and other efforts to engage the firearm community in preventing suicide. Ms. Frank earned a Master of Health Sciences at Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health where she learned how and why to collaborate in order to address complex issues.

Shelby Kuhn, MSW, LCSW, SAC
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Shelby Kuhn, MSW, LCSW, SAC, is a senior project associate with the Zero Suicide Institute, focusing on the implementation of suicide-specific care in health and behavioral health settings. In this role, she delivers training and consultation to improve care and outcomes for individuals at risk for suicide and extends Zero Suicide practice across diverse settings.

Kuhn holds a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She completed a postgraduate fellowship at the Yale Child Study Center, a department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, receiving specialized training in clinical practice with children and families. She has more than 10 years’ experience in direct clinical practice and program management working with high-risk behavioral health populations

community, coping, coping skills, Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas, empowerment, hope, life skills, mental health, mental illness, mental wellness, new beginnings, recovery, resilience, self-care, Self-compassion, Self-empowerment, suicide, suicide awareness, suicide prevention


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