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City Scene: University of Montevallo’s Counseling Program & Community Grief Support

Tools to Minister to those Grieving Loss to Suicide


“Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. Each year 44,193 Americans die by suicide. For every suicide death, twenty-five persons attempt suicide.” – American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Want to learn more about how to help those grieving loss to suicide? The University of Montevallo’s Counseling Program and Community Grief Support are co-sponsoring a continuing education workshop on “Suicide & Grief” on Thursday, March 23, at Riverchase United Methodist Church in Hoover. The objectives of the workshop include:

  • A review of relevant grief models and styles of coping and mourning
  • Becoming acquainted with basic information about bereavement survivorship and care
  • A review of the history of attitudes about suicide over the last 2,500 years
  • Learning about the recent views of suicide from the point of view of multiple world religions
  • A deeper understanding of the distinctions between suicide as compared to other losses
  • Receiving an ethics update, plus resources and prevention tools to activate appropriate referrals and intervention when suicide warnings appear.

The workshop is designed primarily for those in the caring professions such as Licensed Professional Counselors, Associate Licensed Counselors, Licensed Social Workers, Nurses, Clergy, and Funeral Home staff.  Continuing education credits will be provided for the counselors, social workers, and nurses, for the cost of $100 which will include breakfast and a boxed lunch. Clergy and funeral home staff are invited for the cost of $25 to cover meals. Students with ID’s will be admitted for a charge of $50.

The speakers at the workshop will include Judith A. Harrington, Ph.D., LPC, and LMFT and a professor at the University of Montevallo. Harrington has been very involved in suicide prevention after facilitating a suicide bereavement group for fourteen years. She has implemented grants for Alabama’s suicide prevention initiatives, and serves on the Alabama Suicide Prevention Resources Coalition (ASPARC). She has provided numerous trainings at the local, state, and national levels and served for five years on the Standards, Training and Practices committee for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Also speaking on the topic of grief and suicide, will be Community Grief Support Clinical Director Steve Sweatt, LPC/LMFT. He is a licensed professional counselor and a licensed marriage and family therapist with more than 35 years of experience. He directs CGS programs and services, counsels clients and supervises contract counselors and volunteers. Sweatt’s expertise encompasses grief counseling for individuals, couples and families, as well as crisis intervention. He trained in bereavement counseling with Dr. Alan Wolfelt at the Center for Loss and Transition in Fort Collins, CO. He is an ordained Baptist minister and served as a hospital chaplain for more than 17 years. He earned Master’s degrees from the University of Montevallo and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

A continental breakfast and check-in will begin at 8:30 a.m. and the workshop will be from 9:00 a.m. to 4:15pm. For more information or to register, contact the CGS office at 205-870-8667. †

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