Lived Experience Advisory Committee

SPRC’s Lived Experience Advisory Committee (LEAC) is a diverse group of suicide prevention leaders and advocates who have been personally impacted by suicide. The committee provides expertise and insights from their lived experience to help ensure SPRC’s suicide prevention efforts effectively meet the needs of people at risk of suicide and their families. Susie Reece, SPRC director of lived experience initiatives, coordinates the committee.

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Cal Beyer
Cal Beyer is the vice president of workforce risk and worker wellbeing at CSDZ, a construction insurance and risk management company. CSDZ is a Holmes Murphy Company. He has worked to raise awareness of mental health, substance use disorders, and suicide prevention issues in the construction industry during his 30 years in the field. He is a member of the...Read more

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Sam Brinton

Sam Brinton is a leading advocate for LGBTQ youth worldwide. Brinton founded The Trevor Project’s 50 Bills 50 States campaign, which focuses on ending the practice of conversion therapy within the Unites States and eventually, worldwide. 

Brinton identifies as a genderfluid person and uses their experiences as a survivor of conversion therapy to...Read more

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Josie Caballero

Born and raised in small-town Texas, Josie Caballero manages the U.S. Transgender Survey (USTS) at the National Center for Transgender Equality. She organizes and coordinates researchers, academics, and activists to ensure the scientific integrity and efficacy of the USTS. She is a Navy veteran who worked as a nuclear reactor operator for six years. She...Read more

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Iden Campbell McCollum
Iden Campbell McCollum has worked extensively as a professional activist and advocate. First working for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, he now focuses on suicide prevention in mental health activism. Campbell McCollum is a certified psychiatric rehabilitation practitioner (CPRP) and qualified mental health associate (QMHA-R...Read more

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Stan Collins
Stan Collins began work in the field of suicide prevention over twenty years ago after a high school friend died by suicide, influencing his passion for suicide prevention among youth. Collins’ work focuses on systems-level change.

Collins co-founded The Directing Change Program and Film Contest. In 2020, he was recognized as “Mental Health Champion...Read more

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Tom Cruz

Retired Army Master Sergeant Tom Cruz experienced deployments in Kosovo (1999), Iraq (2005-2006, 2006-2007, 2007-2008), and Jordan (2017). Over his 26-year military career, he was stationed at U.S. locations (including Fort Bragg; Fort Campbell; the Maryland/D.C. area; Tampa, Florida; and Puerto Rico), as well as Belgium.

Cruz was a soldier who thought...Read more

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Adam Davis

Adam Davis is a former law enforcement officer and FBI-trained hostage negotiator who understands the challenges facing law enforcement officers and their relationships. Since leaving law enforcement in 2015, he has devoted his life to serving others and inspiring them to make positive changes in their lives. Davis has presented his story of overcoming...Read more

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Jeff Elhart
Jeff Elhart graduated from General Motors Institute and follows in his family’s footsteps as president and owner of their automobile dealership, Elhart Automotive Campus in Holland, Michigan. His brother’s experience with depression and death by suicide formed his life’s mission to use his talents to promote mental illness and suicide awareness in a range of...Read more

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Pamela End of Horn
Pamela End of Horn is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. She was born and raised in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. With nearly 20 years of experience in the field of mental health, End of Horn has worked in suicide prevention for 13 years. End of Horn’s work focuses on national policy, standards of care...Read more

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Christopher Epperson

Christopher Epperson has worked in suicide prevention for over a decade, inspired by his experience as a suicide attempt survivor and suicide loss survivor. With a broad professional background that includes work as a youth pastor, Epperson is a co-owner of Soul Shop™ Movement, a faith-based organization focusing on suicide prevention and education...Read more

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Jeremy Fields
Jeremy Fields is a descendent of the Pawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, Crow Tribe of Montana, and the Chickasaw Tribe of Oklahoma who has worked extensively for 18 years as a leadership trainer for indigenous communities. His experiences with cultural identity have influenced his work in empowering tribal communities, particularly regarding mental and physical...Read more

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Ysabel Garcia
A suicide awareness advocate and social justice educator, Ysabel Garcia founded Estoy Aqui, an initiative that focuses on the sociocultural factors contributing to suicide risk in Latino/Latinx and Black communities via training, dialogue, and outreach. Garcia’s experience as a first-generation Dominican immigrant, as well as her lived experience as a...Read more

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In Remembrance: Sadé Heart of the Hawk Ali

Sadé Heart of the Hawk Ali was a survivor of multiple suicide attempts. She was the retired deputy commissioner of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services and was in the recovery and behavioral health services field for 51 years.

Ali was the tribal lead and a senior project...Read more

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Linda Henderson-Smith
Dr. Linda Henderson-Smith is president and principal of ATC Consulting, LLC. She has nearly 20 years of experience working in community-based mental health, notably as the senior director of children and trauma-informed services at the National Council for Mental Wellbeing and at Georgetown University National Technical Assistance Center for...Read more

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Will Hogan
Will Hogan is a mental health specialist focusing on suicide prevention and substance use disorders. He is a suicide attempt survivor and substance use disorder survivor, which influences his work as a statewide opioid specialist and peer support specialist for Denver-based Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners, a community-based crisis intervention provider.

...Read more

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Terresa Humphries-Wadsworth
Dr. Terresa Humphries-Wadsworth is a licensed psychologist who works in mental health advocacy, suicide prevention and postvention, and behavioral health crisis care. She has over 25 years of clinical experience in a variety of environments from rural to urban, aiming to improve the outcomes of individuals with high risk factors for suicide....Read more

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Seth M.Kursman

Seth Kursman serves as vice president of corporate communications, sustainability, and government affairs for Resolute Forest Products, a global leader in the forest products industry.

With over 30 years of experience in various corporate and division-based functions, Kursman brings extensive political and public policy experience as well as...Read more

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DeQuincy Lezine
Dr. DeQuincy Lezine is CEO of Prevention Communities, a suicide prevention organization. He is a suicide attempt survivor who has worked in the field of suicide prevention since 1996. Dr. Lezine has served as chair for the Attempt Survivor and Lived Experience Division at the American Association of Suicidology and as co-chair of the Consumer/Survivor...Read more

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Annemarie Matulis

Annemarie Matulis is a survivor of childhood trauma and adult domestic violence and has spent 35 years balancing careers in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors including domestic violence, substance misuse, and suicide prevention. Matulis has decades of experience as a community activist, advocate, and organizer. Emotionally impacted by the...Read more

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Lisa St. George

Lisa St. George is a mental health and human services professional with over 40 years of experience. She serves as vice president of peer support and empowerment at RI International, a peer support service provider. She has been involved in the creation and implementation of training programs focusing on support, recovery, patient services, and crisis...Read more

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Paige Smith
Paige Smith is the Response Circles project coordinator for the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board (NPAIHB). He provides technical assistance in suicide prevention, intimate partner and sexual violence, and youth engagement to the 43 tribes that participate in NPAIHB. Smith has also worked to develop a series of public service announcements...Read more

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Sally Spencer-Thomas
Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas is an experienced psychologist, speaker, podcaster, and impact entrepreneur based in Colorado. As a suicide loss survivor, Dr. Spencer-Thomas is the co-founder and president of United Suicide Survivors International, a nonprofit organization for survivors of suicide attempt and suicide loss. 

Dr. Spencer-Thomas’ work...Read more

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Tony Stelter

Tony Stelter is a mental health professional in central Oklahoma. He serves as the director of recovery supports for the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

Stelter has worked in the field of mental health for over 10 years, focusing on a variety of mental health services, including patient care and advocacy and serving...Read more

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Pata Suyemoto
Dr. Pata Suyemoto is a feminist scholar, writer, educator, diversity trainer, and mental health activist. She is a suicide attempt survivor and a survivor of chronic depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

She earned her doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, focusing her research on anti-racist education and issues of race and racism...Read more

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Diana Cortez Yañez

Diana Cortez Yañez is a peer specialist and international speaker and advocate for suicide prevention. She has spent 30 years in the behavioral health system as a patient engaging in life-changing, evidence-based therapy and as a survivor of multiple suicide attempts.

Her passion is sharing her experiences of what helped and did not help in...Read more